Tag Archives: Dark Knight

“The Dark Knight Rises” – film review

“I once caught a bat THIS BIG

I still remember the slightly dazed feeling that Mrs Rolling Eyeballs and I had after going to the Vue cinema in Sheffield to see Christopher Nolan‘s dizzying, operatic “Batman Begins” sequel, “The Dark Knight“, in summer 2008.

It was a Sunday lunchtime, Batman was in the wind after sorting out the Harvey Dent situation and there was this distinct sense between us of having just been put through the wringer.  Had we just been entertained for two and a half hours or been through a punishing, sensory obstacle course?

The same feeling struck me after emerging from this morning’s screening of the third movie in Nolan’s series based on the DC comics character, The Dark Knight Rises“.

It needs to be said that this is an excellent film – a worthy cherry on top of the proverbial trilogy cake – but it’s an exhausting one which demands a lot of the audience, in terms of memory and ability to not visit the bathroom several times (forego the Super Gulp cup at your concessions stand – you will miss stuff if you have to visit the facilities during the film).  There’s no walking into this film green – you really do have to refresh your memory of “Batman Begins”, as it plays a significant part in proceedings, and it helps to have an appreciation of Harvey Dent, too.  It’s not as though there’s an exam paper to sit as you leave, but it will help to have some recollection of how our hero got to this point in this life and to know who the characters are, as introductions are sketchy at best. This is particularly true if the people in your party are not quite as geeky as the rest of us – you’ll be explaining a lot to them and missing things yourself.

The scale of the enterprise is what surprised me – we’ve all read those pre-release puff-pieces which seek to convince that “Summer Blockbuster X” sets the bar incredibly high and that we’re going to see things that we’ve never seen on-screen before – usually this translates as ‘canned special effects sequence marginally more entertaining than the one in that film we were conned into seeing last year’.  With “The Dark Knight Rises” I actually believe the hype for once – I’ve can’t recall having seen a film which has action set-pieces of the scale and duration seen during the last act in this film.  Big isn’t necessarily better, but Nolan’s taut command of the toy box at his disposal on “TDKR” makes the likes of “Transformers 3” seem even more weightless and juvenile than it already was, despite both films dealing in similar scenes of extended metropolitan destruction.

The performances match up to the apocalyptic imagery on display – Christian Bale is excellent and fully justifies Nolan’s initial decision to cast him with the rounded, nuanced turn he delivers here.  He’s beaten, bloodied and bowed by the demands and toll that his by-night vigilante campaign has taken on his body and mind – this is a Batman who wants out from the life he’s created for himself and finds that a wider world has something quite different to say about that.

Leaving on a jet plane? Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in “The Dark Knight Rises”

He’s more than complemented by Anne Hathaway, who defies a million dim-witted fanboy forum posts by making the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman her own – slinky, sarcastic, haunted, defiant, conflicted, capable and able to walk in heels that even Lady Gaga might deem a bit complicated, this is a Catwoman quite distinctively different to those we’ve seen before in Bat-Cinema, TV and games.  There’s an exchange of dialogue between her and Joseph Gordon Levitt‘s idealistic policeman mid-way through the film which goes past beyond the sexy cat burglar archetype to hint at Kyle’s essential dilemna in this telling of the tale – she’s brilliant at what she does, but what she does puts her in situations which can’t help but keep her in the mire that she’s trying to escape.

Best Catwoman ever?  Your mileage may vary, but I thought that she was wonderful and that Hathaway did splendid work in the role.  Even the ears worked.  Kind of.

Tom Hardy is fantastic as the force of nature Bane – he’s got layers of character which haven’t been hinted at in the pre-publicity and their unpicking on-screen is a delight, giving this unaccountably posh berserker man-mountain an array of quotable and – get this – easy to understand dialogue.  It’s a strong actor indeed who can command the screen and hold the attention with much of his face replaced by a high-tech dog muzzle and Hardy manages to do it consistently – he’s helped, of course, by his imposing physical presence.  The words ‘Brick’ and ‘Outhouse’ come to mind.

Is this a good ending to the Nolan trilogy?  I would say so – but it’s not without some dodgy moments.  I thought that we were going to have a retread of  the second film’s “Which boat shall we blow up? The one with the rapists and murderers or the ‘Ickle Kittens and Orphans’ cruise?” moral non-quandry at one point, but we got past it swiftly.  There’s some fairly on-the-nose dialogue to contend with, too – you may wonder if Bane’s job is to defeat Batman or engage in some kind of unorthodox, “The Game”-style Billionaire Life Coach programme with him, given the steady stream of tough love aphorisms he delivers in their scenes together.   And Hans Zimmer‘s score is so overwrought that any metalhead listening will wonder why they didn’t save a few bob and just sling some Dimmu Borgir on the soundtrack – the aural, cumulative effect is noticeably similar.

I will want to revisit this film, but I suspect that a little distance will certainly help me to appreciate it all the more – it’s big with a capital B and such an endeavour deserves to have a little gulf between viewings, I think.  If “The Avengers” was like the best chocolate cake ever (with extra sprinkles), “The Dark Knight Rises” is like a delicious pasta dish with such a rich tomato sauce that you can’t face any other course afterwards.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs, Films, Geekery

Take my money, Christopher Nolan – Take it!

Wonder if I can borrow the Tumbler to get there?

Well, that’s my Friday morning (and lunchtime) sorted.  The Dark Knight Rises, bought and paid for.  Not (Lie)Max, as it happens – I anticipate seeing this film again, though, so there’s always time to have my eyeballs scoured by Wally Pfister‘s cinematography being projected mere inches from my face, for the full sensory overload treatment.

Excuse me, Sir – You wouldn’t be attempting to record the film on your iPhone now, would you?

See you sometime later today with my non-spoiler verdict on this trilogy-capping uber-sequel.

3 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery

Batman meets his match…

Image

If you’re going to see “The Dark Knight Rises” this summer, you had best come prepared.

That’s because studio Warner Brothers have confirmed that the running time of Christopher Nolan‘s eagerly anticipated, trilogy capping, final instalment of the Dark Knight saga has a two-hour and 45 minute running time.  If you factor in the blitzkrieg of advertisements, concessions stand blurbs and trailers before the film, my Saturday July 21st 2012 trip to the cinema is going to run to three hours and 20 minutes.  Add on travelling time and Nolan is getting a fairly sizeable chunk of my weekend.

Insert ‘alternative use for large-sized popcorn tub’ gag here, gross humour fans.

I imagine that it will be worth it, but my recent trip to see “Prometheus” at my local multiplex has taught me a valuable lesson regarding my seating comfort during long films.  One of these babies is going to be rather useful:

Image

Geek-centric cinematic event of the summer or cruel and unusual punishment for us Indoor Kids?  I’m genuinely not sure…

Leave a comment

Filed under Films, Geekery

New “Amazing Spider-Man” trailer 23% more amazing, significantly spidery.

How absolutely typical.

No sooner have I posted about how little the trailers for The Amazing Spider-Man have done for me so far than Sony up and drop a new trailer that’s actually pretty cool.  What are the odds of that happening?

Image

Honestly, it’s as if somebody’s cottoned on to the fact that there’s a very crowded marketplace out there this summer and they really want you to go and see the damned thing.

Quite sensibly, the hive mind behind this trailer have decided to show one of the big set pieces in reasonable detail so that we can get a sense of the action in this reboot from director Marc Webb – and it’s looking pretty tasty, blending Peter Parker’s ineffable likeability and the ‘check this out’ swagger of his abilities when employed in the face of certain doom.

Image

I really enjoyed this trailer and might actually drag myself to the cinema to see it now – after all, something’s got to fill in that hellish July fortnight or so until Christopher Nolan lays waste to the hearts and minds of fanboys and geek girls eagerly wondering how he’ll possibly top The Dark Knight with the final instalment of his Bat trilogy.

Image

“The Amazing Spider-Man” attempts to divest you from your ready cash on 3 July 2012 in the UK – uncommonly fortunate folks in New Zealand and Japan get to see it from the 28th June.

4 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery, Movie Trailer

Trailered: “The Dark Knight Rises”

Happy Tuesday, everyone – have a trailer for the forthcoming Christopher Nolan opus, “The Dark Knight Rises” in your ocular cavities!

Image

If “The Avengers” is akin to a particularly delicious veggie bean burger in a sour dough roll with hot sauce, lettuce and mustard (go with me here), then The Dark Knight Rises looks like a particularly ornate three course meal with a decent cup of coffee following it.

Also, in related news, I’m now quite hungry.  Curses!

Hey, Hey, it's Anne Hathaway!

I’m amazed at how Christopher Nolan has managed to keep up the quality of his reinvention of the cinematic Batman for two excellent movies and it seems as though his aesthetic and storytelling choices show no sign of running out of steam if this trailer is to be taken as any evidence.

Image

No spoilers seem to be revealed herein – just tantalising hints about Bane, Bruce and the nature of the character played by Marion Cotillard and action sequences which look to one-up the large-scale mayhem liberally peppered throughout “The Dark Knight”.  This is the same Christopher Nolan, mind you, who according to the internet can’t direct action sequences.

This will end well...

And now a pause for a chuckle at the bonkers gall of that notion.  Oh, internet nerd defence forces, don’t ever change…

“The Dark Knight Rises” will, assuming everything goes to plan, be obliterating box office records at a cinema near you from July 20th…

1 Comment

Filed under Films, Geekery, Movie Trailer

Bane, Nanosuits and unofficial Batman musicals – oh my!

A few bits and bobs of note broke over the weekend and I would be remiss if I didn’t waffle a little about them.

Warner Brothers have confirmed (via self-obsessed movie snarker Nikki Finke) that the final trailer for The Dark Knight Rises will be attached to prints of “The Avengers” when it opens in the US on May 4th.  There’s definite method to this madness – the audience that I saw Wrath of the Titans with the other week seemed surprised to learn that there was a new Batman movie due imminently, so anything that the WB can do to build awareness amongst the normals seems like a good idea to me.

There’s some sporting event or other happening in the UK this summer, you know – it appears to have monopolised people’s attention somewhat.

Meanwhile, back in the land of Marvel, Guy Pearce has apparently signed on to play a leading role in “Iron Man 3” – which is apparently taking more than a leaf out of the Warren Ellis-penned “Extremis” storyline, which is fine with me.  I’m really keen to see what writer/director Shane Black comes up with, particularly as sources close to the production indicate that this is a more real-world/techno-thriller take on Tony Stark and won’t feature another climactic set-piece which involves two or three blokes in variants of the Iron Man suit knocking the crap out of each other.

Yep, I’ll believe it when I see it, too.

No, you're not hallucinating. Well, I assume not...

Finally, and by jingo there’s no way one could top this, the unofficial “Batman” musical is a thing and it’s apparently getting great reviews from people who aren’t insufferable hipsters: I know, right?

But is it as good as the “Predator” musical?  The correct answer to that is, NO, nothing’s as good as the “Predator” musical…

Leave a comment

Filed under Films, Geekery