Posts Tagged ‘ Dark Knight ’

Will Batman Die in The Dark Knight Rises?

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the release of the latest trailer, fans have been speculating that Bruce Wayne will meet his end in The Dark Knight Rises. We all know this is both Christopher Nolan’s and Christian Bale‘s last time spent on the Batman franchise. While Nolan is known for constantly trying to mislead audiences, Batman’s death is certainly something that seems likely in third and final Dark Knight film.

When we last saw the Caped Crusader he was on the run from the law after taking the fall for crimes committed by District Attorney Harvey Dent. Set forward to this film eight years later, we find Bruce in retirement after temporarily hanging up the mantle. From what the trailers and TV spots have shown us is that Bruce is old and weakened in this film. Is this perhaps a sign of things to come for the Dark Knight?

Since this is the last film in Nolan’s trilogy, it’s fitting that he would want to wrap up Bruce’s story full circle. Blockbuster trilogies rarely get fitting conclusions anymore. Comic book movies such as Spider-Man 3 and X-Men 3 ended either too softly or with unresolved cliffhangers while other franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean 3 simply conclude by trying to set up sequels. It’s a money-focused market where filmmakers don’t have to power to do anything drastic to their films or characters that belong to high-grossing franchises. However, Nolan is not your usual director and it’s likely that DC might let him conclude his story by having Bruce Wayne die while preventing future filmmakers from butchering his franchise with bad sequels.

To truly understand the enormity of the problem Warner Bros themselves face post Dark Knight Rises, is to look at what Nolan has achieved with his work on the Batman films.  To take a product that was considered dead in the water after back-to-back critical flops and turning it into a billion dollar franchise is an undisputed achievement which DC aren’t likely to achieve again. Warner Bros have finished with Harry Potter and finishing with Batman and now left needing a new blockbuster hero. Will that be Superman? I doubt it.

Warner Bros don’t have another big time superhero to turn to. Man of Steel faces an uphill battle to win over sceptics that find Superman unrelatable, while 2011’s Green Lantern killed off any potential for a Flash movie. They need a superhero property that keeps their presence felt in a market where rivals Marvel are currently dominating. Once Nolan’s Batman trilogy wraps up, DC only has Superman left to compete. Even then, Man of Steel finds itself up against Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 in the same year.

I don’t think Batman is going to die in The Dark Knight Rises. While studio factors are definitely a part of the reason, I just feel Nolan simply doesn’t have to have Bruce Wayne die in order to complete his story. I think Gotham will realise Batman is their true white knight, and the film will end with Bruce Wayne going in to hiding akin to the ending of Frank Miller’s masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns.

As a side note, one of the best Batman comic books of the modern age contains Bruce’s former sidekick Dick Grayson as the Caped Crusader. Batman doesn’t need Bruce Wayne anymore. As said by Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins , “as a symbol I can be everlasting”. A new face behind the mask means Warner Bros won’t need to reboot the Batman franchise while leaving Nolan’s trilogy intact.

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The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 3 Deconstruction

We’ve been waiting for some Dark Knight Rises news and here it is. The second full-length trailer for Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film is here, and while the latest trailer is a little underwhelming, it does showcase more of Catwoman and Bane, as well raise plenty of talking points about the film.

Age For Concern

1)This is a Bruce Wayne story as much it is a Batman story:

Here we see an aged Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) with a dramatically different appearance to when we last saw him in The Dark Knight. Is this just a sign of his old age? Or perhaps the burden of being a wanted dark knight means Bruce isn’t looking after himself these days. More interestingly, I believe this could be a sign someone (Bane or Talia) has worked out Batman’s identity and Bruce has taken precaution to keep himself hidden.  Seconds guess is perhaps this is just after Bruce escapes from the prison we saw him locked up inside during the last trailer. Hardly a billionaire playboy look is it? What’s brilliant about how this film is being marketed is that it’s been suggested Bruce could die in this film. While realistically this probably won’t happen as Warner Bros aren’t going to allow Nolan to kill off one of their biggest franchise characters. Or will they? With a Batman reboot seamlessly already planted in the future, are Warner Bros letting Nolan throw all the toys out of the pram for the big finale?

Who needs a distinct voice?

Building bridges

2) Gotham’s Reckoning:

If there were any doubts over Tom Hardy’s performance as the villain Bane, they were easily washed away by this new trailer. We get a better look at the scene from the jaw-dropping poster where Bane breaks Batman’s mask, as well hear his voice is perfectly audible (and awesome). Heath Ledger oozed charisma and energy as the Joker, however Bane looks to be a different beast entirely. In the last film, Joker wanted the citizens of Gotham to leave the city on ferries so he could put the opposite boats against eachother. In this film, it seems Bane’s intentions are more about containment, as we see several bridges connecting the city to the mainland presumably destroyed by the same device we saw in the last trailer that destroyed Gotham’s football stadium. Overall it’s very reminiscent of the classic No Man’s Land Batman story arc, which saw the bridges into Gotham destroyed by the government as the city had been overrun by criminals and had to be declared a no-go-zone.

John Blake, Azrael, Nightwing, Robin?

3) There’s a new cop in town:

This latest trailer showcases a lot more of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake character. What I love about what this film is doing is how it has created this uncertainty over the John Blake and Miranda Tate characters. Is Blake simply the ‘Harvey Dent‘ figure of this film or is there more to it? Fans of the classic Batman: Knightfall storyline might recall how when Bane originally broke Batman’s back, a new crime-fighting vigilante known as Azrael took his place. Could Levitt be this hero?

Another theory circulating online is perhaps the Batman symbol has become bigger than Bruce Wayne, meaning we might see more than one dark knight in this film. With Bruce Wayne supposedly injured, could Blake don the mantle of the bat in order to keep Batman’s presence felt in Gotham City? Another rumour, though this one slightly unrealistic is that Blake could be the Robin/Nightwing of Nolan’s Bat-verse considering there’s definitely a connection between Blake’s character and orphans as seen by the logo on the bus in the trailer.

The summer of black-suited super women

The puurfect team

4) This is what Gordon meant by escalation:

We know The Dark Knight Rises is supposedly set eight-years after The Dark Knight, meaning in the time since Batman becoming an outlaw new vigilantes have arisen. Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) reflects the change in Gotham’s hero. When Gordon said in The Dark Knight how Batman is the hero Gotham deserved, eight-years on this seems to have changed to reflect Selina Kyle‘s more morally ambiguous character. I love the running theme of Batman as a symbol. When there’s no Batman to defend Gotham the next best thing rises to take his place. Or does she? We definitely see footage of Catwoman fighting alongside Batman in what seems to be the film’s final act, however it’s a safe bet there will be plenty of twists and turns for Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

The worst kept secret in comic book movie history?

5) Miranda Tate:

Keeping with the comic books, Bruce Wayne is seen kissing Marion Cotillard’s character, Miranda Tate, (or Talia Al Ghul as Internet rumour suggests) proving that Selina Kyle is definitely not Bruce’s love interest in this film. What further suggests Tate is actually Talia is that Liam Neeson is set to return as villain Ras Al Ghul at some capacity within the film. I would not be surprised to find out Ras and Talia have more influence over the film’s plot than what we might expect. Rises definitely feels like a spiritual successor to Batman Begins, meaning the League of Shadows will definitely feature at some point.

Certainly not a car

6) Chicks dig the car:

As many film critics have pointed out, many Batman trailers/films all contain some sort of car pun. For instance the critically panned Batman & Robin had “Chicks dig the car”, Batman Begins had “It’s a blank..tank” and The Dark Knight had a less than memorable Lamborghini gag.  Rises is no different, however as it’s the final film, Nolan has ramped up the excitement meter with a scene that is sure to make the Avengers Quinjet suffer in comparison. We see Bruce and Selina inside the vehicle, with a “my mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men” line from Selina, which was easily the best line of the trailer. With missiles in pursuit of the Batwing, what’s exciting now is that the chase sequence is bound to look glorious in IMAX come July.

One thing’s for sure, DC are going to miss Nolan.


Judging The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the summer begins, so does the massive on-going debate over which comic book movie will reign supreme in 2012. Will it be Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie? Perhaps the return of Spider-Man to the big screen will win over fans and critics alike. Or will the final instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises prove to the best comic book movie yet?

While I’m a bigger Batman fan than I am Avengers, I feel as if The Dark Knight Rises isn’t offering audiences anything new than what we’ve seen before. Like so many comic book fans, I’m fairly critical of Christopher Nolan for waiting over three years before creating a sequel to arguably the greatest superhero film of all time. I understand reasons beyond his control may have caused him to change from his original script, but I felt as if he needed to strike while the iron was hot.

Now, four years later, The Dark Knight is going to be competing against the likes of Marvel’s Avengers, and the return to cinema of Spider-Man. If we take a look at what The Dark Knight Rises is offering us, there is the existing dilemma over whether Bruce Wayne is able to stay on as The Batman, Commissioner Gordan facing more criticism from his peers, and a new villain that will push Batman to his limits, wielding a potential weapon of mass destruction.

It all sounds a bit similar. Don’t get me wrong, I am greatly looking forward to what Anne Hathaway can bring to the Catwoman role, as we’ve yet to have a true breakout female character in the trilogy. Batman’s previous love interest, Rachel Dawes, was a bland character, who seemed to regress over the course of the two films before meeting her demise. I’m sure we’ll hear more revelations about who Marion Coltillard is really playing, but for now, there just isn’t enough to make me believe The Dark Knight Rises will be able to outclass The Avengers or Spider-Man for that matter.

Perhaps The Dark Knight has returned at a time where it faces much tougher opposition. New dark fantasy film, The Hunger Games has opened up with a weekend of sensational success, massively exceeding expectations by having the best opening weekend for a non-sequel, and third best opening weekend of all time. Not bad for a film that has had the misfortune of being labelled as the next Twilight. The Avengers is approaching in a month’s time, and in terms of scale and ambition, blows the Batman franchise out of the water.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly have its class, as Nolan has demonstrated how to perfectly mix superhero action and intimate drama, it’s not holding the same impression The Dark Knight had in 2008. Perhaps coming towards the end of the summer wasn’t the best idea for Warner Bros. The storyline seems good, borrowing from one of the most critically acclaimed Batman stories of all time, in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Perhaps this is another problem that might not work well for Warner Bros. The Dark Knight Returns is a brilliant story, that could easily be translated into a fresh trilogy of films. If this is to be the last we see of Christian Bale as Batman, a future trilogy based on Frank Miller’s story would have been an effective way for Warner Bros to keep the Batman franchise going. If Nolan has already covered the storyline of an aged, weakened Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement in The Dark Knight Rises, it doesn’t leave much for Warner Bros to able to continue developing the existing Batman franchise without resorting to a franchise reboot.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly earn a great deal of success, whether or not it will live long in the memory of film fans remains to be seen. In a cinematic year where we’ve already had a masterclass in dark fantasy, a group of Marvel’s best superheroes facing an alien army due, and the return of Marvel’s most beloved wall-crawler, 2012 may prove to be beyond Nolan.



Which Comic Book Movie Will Be The Best In 2012?

The Dark Knight Rises

Image via Wikipedia

2011 was a huge year for comic book movies. X-Men: First Class was the best-reviewed superhero movie of the year, but Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger weren’t that far behind. The only disappointment was Green Lantern. Now with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man coming up this year, I’m going to look at what movie I think will triumph best over fans and critics.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:

Scheduled for release on February 17th 2012, Spirit of Vengeance is a sequel/reboot to the 2007 film Ghost Rider. Once again starring Nicholas Cage, Spirit of Vengeance faces an uphill battle. The original Ghost Rider was a relatively small success, but was met with mixed to negative reviews leading to the confusion of fans as to why a sequel is actually being released. Regardless, The Spirit of Vengeance’s trailer looked impressive, but my hopes were dashed when the first set of reviews came in claiming the sequel is worse than the original. Prediction: 2/5

The Avengers:

It’s taken four years and five movies, but the 27th April 2012 (UK) sees the release of Marvel’s star-studded ensemble film. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, The Avengers unites the heroes from the Marvel Universe to save the world from Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his army.

There’s so much riding on The Avengers. If the film is met with both critical acclaim and financial success, it will burst open the doors for Marvel to explore films for other characters. Financially, The Avengers should break records, but the X-Men franchise has shown it can sometimes be difficult for superhero films to handle an ensemble cast, and with a star studded cast like this, Joss Whedon has a huge challenge on his hands making sure every character gets enough development. Expect high-octane action, but perhaps some lack of character development. Prediction: 3/5

The Dark Knight Rises

Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy with the arrival of a new villain Bane, (Tom Hardy) who pushes Gotham City to his limits, forcing a fugitive Batman (Christian Bale) out of retirement after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes.

It’s such a common trend for the third movie in a franchise to falter (Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand) but Christopher Nolan shouldn’t have any problems here. With a new female lead in Catwoman, (Anne Hathaway) The Dark Knight Rises should provide an epic conclusion to the Batman saga. The only problem I can see arising is criticisms towards Bane’s distorted voice, but otherwise this will probably be the best comic book movie of the year. Prediction: 5/5

The Amazing Spider-Man

Directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man marks a reboot in the Spider-Man saga. Starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, respectively. The film will showcase Peter Parker’s origin in high school/college as he develops his superpowers.

It was a bold move for Sony to reboot the Spider-Man franchise so soon. With Spider-Man 3 released only five years ago, it baffled many as to why Sony chose to reboot a franchise that audiences generally liked. Nevertheless, it’s back to school for Peter Parker, in a move that might harm the film’s chances of success. Spidey has the most well-known origin of all the superheroes, and seeing Uncle Ben die again might not strike gold at the box office. Regardless, the practical web-slinging effects should render the film unique from other superhero movies, and it should earn enough to warrant a sequel. Prediction: 3/5

There are my predictions for which comic book movie will be the most critically and financially successful in 2012. With the exception of Ghost Rider, audiences should look forward to what will likely be another successful year for comic book movies. Excelsior!

Would A Nightwing Movie Work?

Cover to Nightwing #100 (2004). Art by Scott M...

Image via Wikipedia

Continuing with my Batman themed posts, I’ve decided to explore if a solo Nightwing movie would work; now Nolan‘s Bat trilogy is wrapping up next year. To start with, let me explain that I do not actually think there’s any chance of seeing a Dick Grayson/Nightwing movie anytime soon. DC isn’t going to take a gamble on a lesser-known character after the disastrous result from this year’s Green Lantern. However, if the unexpected were to happen, and the movie was given the green light, how would a Nightwing movie successfully translate to the big screen?

To start with, the movie would need to be treated extremely seriously so that it can be connected to Nolan’s trilogy. Warner Bros aren’t going to start a DC cinematic universe anytime soon, so connecting at least two or their franchises together would be a nice touch. I would set the movie in the fictional city of Blüdhaven. The city can be depicted like a cross between Gotham City and the Narrows area seen in Batman Begins. There would need to be a sense of corruption and evil surrounding the place, perhaps even making it the base of the new organised crime criminals, who were beaten out of Gotham by the Batman. It can’t under any means be as glamorous as Gotham. Blüdhaven should feel like the slums compared to Gotham or Metropolis.

Enter Dick Grayson. Would Grayson necessarily need the Robin gimmick as for Grayson it did come before he took on the persona of Nightwing? The Robin gimmick wouldn’t work unless he was a sidekick to Batman. It definitely needs to be a more adult Nightwing flick. The story could follow a teenaged Dick Grayson, inspired by the stories coming from Gotham about the Batman. The real task lies in creating Dick’s character. As readers of the comics will know, Dick is not necessarily a dark character. He’s actually one of the more light-hearted allies to Bruce Wayne. So Grayson shouldn’t be as dark and broody as Batman, but he shouldn’t be a wise cracking Spidey rip-off either. His origin in the circus should be kept, as it’s the only logical reason to explain his acrobatic fighting style that is essential to the character. Grayson’s origin should be that he was raised in an orphanage, only to run away during his adolescent years searching for the criminals responsible for his family’s death. Would the comic book villain Tony Zucco (who is responsible for the death of the Grayson family) be the main villain? I’d rather use a pre-established criminal such as Sal Maroni (providing he’s not dead already) who was last seen in a car crash in The Dark Knight. That way it ties the films together and adds some much needed depth to the Sal Maroni character.

Grayson is quite a ladies man in the comics, and that’s the hardest thing to translate onto screen without damaging the overall tone of the film. I’m a big fan of the The Huntress character (who had a great scene in Batman: Hush), and although she’s not an original love interest for Dick in the comics, she could be Nightwing’s answer to Hit-Girl. A young woman who uses a variety of gadgets and weapons she steals from criminals. Unlike Catwoman though, Huntress is more reckless and careless. If Batman has Catwoman, Nightwing should have Huntress.

And lastly, who would direct it? At the risk of sounding delusional, I’m going to say Frank Miller. A Nightwing film needs a director who can capture the serious tone of the film. Whilst Gotham’s been getting all of the attention, its sister city Blüdhaven has been ignored and left to ruin. The legend of the Batman needs to be a recurring theme throughout the film as it’s what will drive Grayson throughout his crusade. Miller would capture that perfectly, whilst adding some real importance to Nolan’s films.

It’s a shame Warner Bros own of all DC’s cinematic properties. Under their ownership I really doubt that we’ll ever see a Nightwing movie. Perhaps if DC gave some of their properties to other studios we might eventually one day see Nightwing fighting crime on the streets of Blüdhaven on screen. Do you think Nightwing deserves his own movie? How would you do it? As always leave your comments below.

*Update* (July 23rd 2012)

Spoiler alert: The ending of The Dark Knight Rises hints at the John Blake character (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) taking on either the mantle of the Batman, or his own costumed persona. Blake taking up the mantle would be an interesting way to continue the Nolan Batman franchise without resorting to a total reboot now Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have gone. What do you guys think? Do you want a John Blake Nightwing film, or would you prefer a fresh Nightwing movie, more based on the comics?

Will The Dark Knight Rises Flop?

Bane breaks Batman's back in a splash page fro...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been a little harsh on the Batman franchise. Just last month I criticised Christopher Nolan‘s ‘The Dark Knight’ for being over-hyped, and being unfairly seen as the benchmark for all comic book movies. Whilst I remain true to my word, Nolan’s Bat franchise would not be as famous if it hadn’t of been for Heath Ledger, I will admit his previous Bat flicks surpassed my expectations and stand next to the likes Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2 and Thor as the greatest comic book movies of all time.

What made The Dark Knight so special was that it was a thoughtful movie that didn’t rely on fights and explosions, but had them anyway. It showcased the moral maze that the characters faced, managing to break away from the conventional superhero story. There were repercussions for everyone from Batman’s actions, and hopefully the next film in the franchise The Dark Knight Rises will showcase the huge repercussions from the caped crusader’s moral sacrifice at the end of the last film. Now Batman faces being an outlaw, after taking the fall for crimes committed by fallen District Attorney Harvey Dent. However after seeing potential plot leaks, I am not so confident in where ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ may be going.

(Spoiler warning) Supposed leaked plot details emerged recently revealing that Batman is set to have his back broken early on in the film by Tom Hardy‘s Bane , drawing from the famous Batman storyline: Batman: Knightfall. Whilst this should be taken with a pinch of salt, it does make sense considering the film’s title ‘Rises‘. What worries me is how rumours indicate Selina Kyle/Catwoman played by Anne Hathaway is set to fill in fighting crime whilst Bruce is on the mend. I’m not the biggest fan of Hathaway, and I’m not convinced she would remain convincing with such a large amount of screen time, especially since early reception to her costume has been fairly negative. Having Selina fill in does allow Nolan to open up his ethical playground, showcasing that the idea of Batman has become bigger than Bruce himself.

I am very interested in Tom Hardy‘s portrayal of Bane. I hope there will be more dimensions to the character other than brute force, as Bane is one of Batman’s most intellectual enemies in the comics. I want to see Bane outsmart Bats, which is quite a feat considering Bats is one of the world’s greatest detectives. If Rises manages to showcase Bane’s superior intellect, we should be for a great hero/villain show down. I’m not convinced so far by the leaked videos though. It seems a lot of work needs to be done on Bane’s appearance post-production as so far he looks small compared to Christian Bale in the bat-suit.

I’m sure there’s more to ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ then what meets the eye. Given Nolan’s track record of surprising audiences, I do not think this movie will flopl by any means. I just hope this film reaches the standard of those set before it. If Batman is all we’re getting from DC, it’s only fitting he gets a decent send off.

We should get the film we deserve, but not the one we need right now. But we’ll watch it, because it’s going to awesome. (Sorry couldn’t resist)

What’s With All The Dark Knight Rises Hate?

The Dark Knight Rises

Image by Brett Jordan via Flickr

There’s been a lot of criticism lately towards the scoops coming from Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises. Set pictures, film footage, audio leaks, you name it, we’ve seen it. With fan boys across the globe already branding the film ‘just another terrible third movie’, I wonder, is all the hate justified?

To start with, I do find all the leaked snippets unusual for a Nolan film. Things were kept so secretive when The Dark Knight was being filmed; it was impossible to put any plot details together until we saw the first official trailer. With just under a year to go, we have rumoured plot spoilers as well as official and leaked photos. Whilst the plot spoilers should be taken with a grain of salt, could all the official Dark Knight Rises coverage be coming from Warner Bros efforts to over promote the film, due to their early failings with this year’s Green Lantern movie? Or perhaps Nolan is in on this and is deliberately toying with his audience.

We recently had our first official look at Selina Kyle, and the reception has been mild at best. Fans are complaining about the lack of headgear, and how the costume doesn’t resemble anything cat like. If Anne Hathaway in leather isn’t enough to satisfy fan boys, then we really are ruining movies for ourselves. I personally couldn’t care less about Hathaway’s costume. I’m more concerned with her portrayal of Selina Kyle rather than how comic book accurate her costume looks. Notice I said Selina Kyle and not Catwoman. That’s because as far as we know the official image could just be Selina mid transformation to Catwoman. There could be way more to this costume then what meets the eye, it’s too early to judge. It’s worth remembering though Heath Ledger‘s Joker was far different from the Joker we’re used to seeing in the comic books, yet that worked perfectly.

As far as Tom Hardy‘s Bane goes, we’ll just have to wait and see. Official coverage and leaked footage show that Bane is quite small compared to Bats, therefore I imagine some altering will take place in post-production. I certainly do not expect Bane to look too monstrous due to Nolan’s efforts to ground the films in realism. It’s a different take for sure, but it’s worked so far right?

I’m not declaring my utmost certainty that The Dark Knight Rises will be one of the best comic book movies ever made. Yes it could suck, but it doesn’t deserve the hate it’s receiving. I understand fans want to see their favourite characters portrayed as best as possible, but maybe it’s time audiences stopped ruining movies for themselves. Comic book movies will eventually slow down, so we should just enjoy them whilst we can.