Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

. . . and stalls a bit.

To begin with, no commentary on Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises is ever going to not be tainted by the events of the midnight showing in Aurora, Colorado.  Growing up, I had family in Aurora (one of my uncles was assigned to the base nearby as an army doctor) and "horrified" doesn't begin to cover it.  With great difficulty, I'm going to leave all that aside - my impressions and feelings on the shooting don't belong on this blog - and try to stick to the movie itself.

Nolan signed on for a trilogy and DKR is a satisfactory ending to that run.  While different opinions are bound to be expressed - comics fans are notoriously attached to "their" properties, and I include myself in with the fangirls - I thought Anne Hathaway was quite good as Selina Kyle.  To begin with, she seemed as if she was having fun with the part, something that a movie this heavy needs for balance.  Throughout the trilogy, Nolan has dealt with the darker themes of Batman, including the brooding antihero and the deep corruption of a decadent Gotham City.  Here, he weaves those threads together in a film of economic terrorism, class warfare, and the shining incorruptibility of the police.

And he almost pulls it off.

Alas, the film comes in long, at 2 hours and 44 minutes, and I felt every minute of it.  There's some dialogue that is so clunky I actually cringed in my seat and some plot holes that are so large that Nolan thought his audience either wouldn't notice or wouldn't care - both of which are attitudes I find insulting.  (And before you jump on me about that - you tell me how Bruce Wayne is transported first to the literal hellhole in the desert from Gotham and [even less plausibly] back to Gotham, which is primed to explode if anyone leaves, so everyone is feverishly guarding all entries and exits.  I'll leave my thoughts on Bane and Tate to myself.)  Oh, and the whole "well, it's a trilogy and the third film is always weaker since it's tying up the loose ends" argument is negated for me by The Return of the King.  Nolan had years to work out his arcs; his failure to do so without lumbering through the Plot Convenience Warehouse is on his shoulders and no one else's.  Television can work out arcs over a number of seasons (see Buffy and Babylon 5 for examples, just to name two), so there's no reason why films can't.

That said, I felt the ending worked as a way of putting a period on Nolan's tenure with Batman.  Michael Caine is again excellent as Alfred and there's a nifty role for Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a onetime lost boy who brings Bruce Wayne back into the world.

By the way, one of the trailers showing before DKR is for a Nolan produced, Zack Snyder directed Superman film due out next June.  Trailers don't always portray the finished direction of a film, but this one intrigues me.  See what you think.

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