Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (AKA the best movie of the summer)

It's been a little more than a week since I saw it, a movie that I've waited 4 years for. The Christopher Nolan Batman movies are the gold standard by which all comic book movies are judged and they improved in quality with each installment. You know that this is a different Hollywood we have when a superhero movie can win an Oscar. As it is, The Dark Knight is easily one of the defining movies of this generation and for me, one of those movies that keeps getting better every time I watch it, particularly the ending which always brings chills down my spine because of its sheer poetic awesomeness. Yeah I was pretty stoked for The Dark Knight Rises.
First of all, the overall quality of the movie was top notch. The casting, the writing, everything about it was pretty much near perfection. So, what's it all about? To bring a brief recap, it's been 8 years since Bruce Wayne fought the Joker. He's kind of old and kind of a cripple. He's also a recluse, that is, one fateful night when cat burglar Selina Kyle steals something precious from him. This turn of events brings Wayne to once again don the iconic cowl, and the timing could not be better because there's a new guy in town, Bane, and he makes all other villains that came before him look like cupcakes.
The acting: Christian Bale was once again top notch as Bruce Wayne. I can't say much because not much has changed. He's still Batman, just slightly older and slightly more world-weary. He did a good job playing a man on the verge of his breaking point, someone who was born into privilege but instead chose to use that privilege to help others (with great power comes great responsibility - you're doing it right). As a result, his life is slightly, well, not normal and at this point, it's downright miserable. But he knows that he's not done yet and Christian Bale captured that mentality perfectly.
Many have cried foul of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. All I have to say is that I can understand the purists/fanboys, I'm somewhat of one. However, that's the point of the Christopher Nolan trilogy: it's meant to be more realistic and if that means doing away with the more fantastical elements, so be it. As a result, the character is basically Catwoman in name only and the "cat" essence is captured in the sense that she's a cat burglar. Hathaway fit the role almost as well as that bodysuit, a perfectly seductive foil for Bruce Wayne.
Oh boy, Tom Hardy. For me, Bane was the highlight of the movie. The minute I first saw pictures, I was blown away by what a raw badass/monster this character was. And the best part is, thanks to the more realistic nature of the Nolan trilogy, Bane isn't the overly steroidal creature from Batman and Robin or most of his other portrayals. He's just a big dude who looks more like someone who hits the gym regularly rather than a guy from a protein supplement advertisement. In fact, one of my cousins actually thought Bane reminded him of me since we're of similar build. Let me get one thing clear: THIS is how you properly do a movie villain. While Loki from The Avengers certainly had bad intentions, he wasn't quite menacing enough and he was actually kind of charismatic, the kind of fellow girls might like. Bane makes Loki look like a care bear. I'll admit that the Joker was probably the better villain, but Bane comes pretty damn close. Joker is rabid dog, but Bane is the guy who probably let the dog off the leash and while the dog is bad, you wonder what kind of bad shit its owner is capable of. This is the kind of villain that truly inspires fear. Even his name inspires fear. Honestly, when I hear of someone called a joker, I think of a class clown or a jester. When I hear of someone named "Bane," I'd probably pee my pants then get the hell out of town.
As for the writing, the movie was a little long and definitely took a while to get going, but once it started, I was hooked. The entire second act had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, especially during the raw, brutal fights between Batman and Bane. I'm not going to spoil it if you're one of the few people who hasn't seen this movie yet, but it provided a very satisfying conclusion to possibly the most influential movie trilogy of this generation. Yes, it's more influential than The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix, but I'll address my opinion in a later blog post.

4 out of 4 stars. If you haven't seen it yet, drop whatever you're doing and go right now.

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