The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Year: 2012
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David S. Goyer

Like many people I have been a huge fan of this franchise over the years.  I have spent over three years waiting patiently for this movie and had every certainty that it would be awesome.  The news that broke with the release of this film was tragic.  It was hard to sit down in the theater today without thinking about what had happened to the innocent people in Aurora.  To make matters even worse there is hardly anything this film will ever be able to do to distance itself from that tragedy.  It will be forever remembered as the movie that people were watching when that mad man decided to do something so awful.  It’s unfortunate that a second Batman movie has come with such darkness looming over it.  No matter how great this franchise has been I fear it will always be shrouded with sadness and disaster.  We did our best not to think about the news when sitting down to watch the movie, but it wasn’t easy.

In all the time I spent following this movie through production I never had any doubt that it would be awesome.  I have absolute faith in Christopher Nolan after seeing his first two installments.  I also thought the cast is too great to disappoint. Bale makes a great Batman and guys like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman can only make a movie better.  I also liked all the new characters made up of several actors from Inception and Anne Hathaway. I watched all the trailers as they were released and they served to build my anticipation even more.  It looked just as good as the others and seemed to offer more adrenaline and excitement as well.  However I have to admit that after sitting through the TWO HOURS AND FORTY TWO MINUTES I left feeling more disappointed than anything else.

I think this movie was far too long, and there was not enough action, or Batman for that matter.  Thinking back over it on the way home I don’t even know that I would even say this movie was about Batman at all.  I hate that he was so Howard Hughes like in the beginning. I think it is ridiculous that he goes from needing a cane to walk around to suddenly suiting back up as Batman.  I won’t go too far in this discussion because I don’t want to share spoilers.  I am not out to discourage others from seeing the movie I am just in straight up SHOCK right now. I am in shock at the fact that I find myself so disappointed, I really believed it would be otherwise.  There is just not enough of Batman in this one, he has no new gadgets to work with aside from “The Bat” and we do not see enough of the rebuilt Batcave.  Batman is almost like a side character in this one jumping into a larger story about Gotham as a city.

I thought Tom Hardy was great as Bane but I do not think Bane was really great.  I think he could have been great but we don’t really get to know him well enough.  What are his actual motives anyway? I understand the why in the end but it doesn’t seem good enough to me.  I think Anne Hathaway was terrific as Catwoman too but like Bane I think she could have been better. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both saw smaller roles and I don’t think either shined as they have before.  Caine more so than Freeman. I love Michael Caine, but he is usually the comic relief in this franchise and here I only saw him as a bleating drama queen.  These great characters were pushed to the background to an extent in favor of the newbies Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. I think this was a mistake but I do think Gordon-Levitt was great.  He continues to rise as an actor and he stole the screen for most of this movie.

If the franchise does not intend to make a fourth installment then much of the story in this movie seems unnecessary.  I have read time and time again that this is the last film of this franchise. Both Nolan and Bale have both said they were done no matter how much money is on the table and I believe it coming from them. So why did they waste so much time in this story the way they do?  I know without doubt we will see more Batman movies in the future but I don’t see much reason to have hope for them at the moment.  The studio will look to make more money and the film will suffer for that reason alone. They will “reboot” it again and we will see a whole new cast the next time around.  That is what will most likely happen but at the end of the day anything is possible.

I think if you are a Batman fan you should go see this movie, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did.  I am shocked and at a loss of words over how disappointed I am. The word flabbergasted comes to mind.  The more I think about it the more disappointed I am.  I think the movie lacked the intensity of the first two films, and the clever writing that tied everything together so smoothly.  I think that we would have seen a much more incredible film had Heath Ledger never died because I think the story obviously would have continued with the Joker.  We will never know though, and this will be what we always have.  If you are reading this and disagree with me please reply with an argument.  I might need to be talked into seeing this one again, and that too is so disappointing.

I would like to mention as well, The Avengers was a better movie and I think it is now without doubt the best movie this summer had to offer.  Click on the title to read our review of that movie, and if you haven’t seen it there might still be time to catch it in the theaters.

UPDATE #1

This movie was easier to stomach a second time around when my expectations weren’t so high.  I still stand by everything I said above but I can see now that it is not as awful as I implied the first time.  I think my biggest problem is that I just didn’t like the story in general and expected more.  Bruce Wayne is just so weak in this movie.  I think a movie that directly followed its predecessor involving a Batman in his prime fighting some new villain as well as cops would have been much more exciting.

I have read that there is a possibility of Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the role of Batman and continuing the franchise.  I really like this idea although Gordon-Levitt really doesn’t have the stature to don the cape and cowl. I think it would be a much better plan than him simply being a Batman-less Robin despite his size.  I do not know what Warner Brothers is doing as far as their Justice League movie goes but I think they have to find a way to connect everything in order to compete with what Marvel did with The Avengers.  Using Gordon-Levitt as Batman would be a good way to get that done.

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The Dark Knight

Year: 2008
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: David S. Goyer, Jonathon Nolan, and Christopher Nolan

RYAN’S REVIEW

A good sequel should be a bigger and better version of the original.  One would think that Batman Begins would present a challenge because it was such a great film in its own right.  It seems small in hindsight now, and that’s why The Dark Knight is so great.  It’s so overwhelmingly awesome that you forget how great the first film was.  Christopher Nolan has been on fire and this movie was just another great movie he’s made along the way.  Every movie he has made has been incredible, the only reason this movie was so much more successful was because people love Batman, just as people love Spiderman.  The reboot of Spiderman will probably make just as much money as the original trilogy when it is all said and done.

I remember when I heard Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker I could not believe it.  I had been hoping for Paul Bettany who had been rumored for the role and had just played a great villain in The Da Vinci Code.  Brokeback Mountain dominated jokes and cultural references around the time of the announcement so the choice wasn’t well received all around.  Then his death came out of no where only months before release, it was so sudden, it was almost too hard to believe it was true.  Then his performance hit the theater screens and he went from the Brokeback Mountain guy to a legend, a martyr for the movie industry just as James Dean was.  He received a post-mortem Academy Award that was well deserved but he probably never would have received had he lived. Heath Ledger was one of the greatest bad guys of all time, he actually scared me with his portrayal of the Joker, it was the master stroke of his career.  His death is unfortunate for many reasons but especially for this franchise because Nolan could have made this movie another 10 times with Ledger and Bale again and again and it would have continued to be incredible.

Ledger was so good in this movie that his performance tends to make you forget how good everyone else was. Bale is great again as Bruce Wayne and Batman, his Batman voice was again criticized. Maggie Gyllenhaal filled in nicely for Katie Holmes who turned down more money to reprise the role. Aaron Eckhart was great as Harvey Dent and then later as Two-Face. Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman all return to their respective roles. It is easy for actors to shine when they are part of something so great.  The Dark Knight is such an all around good film, and as always it starts with a great story.  The Nolans and Goyer came up with a great idea and they packed it full of action from beginning to end.  Nolan has a great talent for making something look and feel R-rated without it being so.  His movies have little profanity and little graphic violence. The consequences in all are great and the violence is there but it isn’t graphic.  No doubt that is a skill Warner Brothers has noticed and will continue taking advantage of for as long as possible.

You don’t need me to tell you that this movie was great, no doubt you have already heard that from others.  If you haven’t seen it you should see this and its predecessor.  They are both great films and I look forward to the closing of the trilogy.  The early teaser for next summer’s finale is short but offers a lot to look forward to.  Bane is the villain seen in the trailer, played by Tom Hardy.  The third installment will also feature Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard in roles that are probably misinformation.  Most likely they are playing the son and daughter of the villains in the first film, Carmine Falcone and Rhas Al Ghul. No matter who they are I have no doubt that Nolan will impress us again with his third Batman film. Liam Neeson is rumored to have a cameo return to the franchise which should make my wife happy.  Either way Rhas Al Ghul will return, Josh Pence has been cast as a younger version of the character, giving merit to the notion that Marion Cotillard is actually playing Talia Al Ghul. I have added the teaser trailer to this post following Amber’s review, if you haven’t seen it yet then definitely check it out.  The Dark Knight Rises will be awesome.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I LOVE this movie. This was a no questions asked, we are going to the theater on opening day to see this movie. The hype was already crazy for the movie because of the death of Heath Ledger. What a sad story. If he could have only seen what an amazing job he did all put together. He was one of the scariest bad guys of all times, hands down. If you didn’t know who he was before the film, I very much doubt you could have guessed it was him during the movie. This role, in my opinion, was his greatest. It was intense and thorough and he played the role with such precision.

The story line is very strong and leaves you wanting more in the end. The makeup was out of control amazing, especially for two-face. I know they probably used some computer animation for that, but still I thought it was believable and by far the craziest two-face I have ever seen.

My one and only problem for this entire film is the Batman voice that Christian Bale uses. I am not picking on him, it is true that I am not his biggest fan, but c’mon…that Batman voice was WAY to over the top, I really hope that he tones it down for the next one.This movie is worth watching over and over, and you can bet your bottom dollar we will be in line opening night for the next installment. I am becoming a Christopher Nolan believer.

NEXT MOVIE: Beetle Juice (1988)