Posts Tagged ‘ Jason Todd ’

The Dark Knight Rises Breakdown Review

 

By now I’m sure you’ve all seen it, read the reviews and written your own opinions, but one thing is for sure, The Dark Knight Rises is a game changer for comic book movies. While the movie isn’t perfect, its magnificent cast ensemble and extraordinary set-pieces helps provide an epic conclusion to the best comic book movie trilogy of all time.

The Dark Knight Rises

Positives:

1) Bane

Watching Tom Hardy as Bane quickly erased any fears that the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy would suffer from having a villain that didn’t quite match up to Heath Ledger‘s Joker. Despite wearing a mask that covered his facial emotions, Hardy’s Bane was formidable, frightening, and easily the best incarnation of the character in recent memory. Unlike many comic book villains, Bane’s origin was fleshed out and his motives were explored to an extent in which his story was just as interesting as Bruce Wayne‘s. It’s unfair to compare Bane to Joker and it’s questionable as to whether Joker would have even appeared in the third film anyway had Heath Ledger not tragically passed away. Nolan prides himself on selecting villains that serve the story. Bane’s brutality provides the perfect contrast to an aging Bruce, and it’s clear Nolan has taken some inspiration from Frank Millar’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns.

2) Selina Kyle

Managing to almost steal the show is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Until now, Nolan’s Batman films have lacked a dominant female lead. There was Rachel Dawes, but the contrasting personalities of Katie Holmes’ and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s interpretations left a lot to be desired. In a dark and broody Gotham, Selina is a welcome injection of fun, adding many laugh-out-loud moments to the film. My only complaint towards the character is that she wasn’t featured in the movie enough.

3) The Fight Choreography/Editing

I’ve previously criticised Nolan’s Batman films as using poor cut transitions during the fight scenes that pull the viewer away from the scene. An example would be Batman’s first appearance at the shipping dock during Batman Begins where Batman’s assault on Falcone’s men could barely be seen due to the nauseating camera cuts. In contrast, The Dark Knight Rises has the trilogy’s best action scene with a breathtaking fight between Batman and Bane that will live long in the memory of comic book fans. It showcased Bruce’s desperation matched up to Bane’s brutality, and we all know what happens when Batman took on Bane in the comics….

4) John Blake

I was tempted to add John Blake into the things I didn’t like about The Dark Knight Rises. Why? The film’s ending revolves around the revelation that Blake is Nolan’s ‘Robin’, and that with Bruce Wayne “deceased”, Blake rises as the new guardian of Gotham City. With Nolan achieving the impossible by giving us a realistic take on Robin, it disappoints me that Warner Bros are going to reboot the Batman franchise with Bruce Wayne again, leaving Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ending up to the imagination.

As the new good guy of Gotham City, Blake is one of the most likable character’s Nolan’s ever put on screen. He successfully worked out Batman’s identity, rescued Jim Gordon, fought side by side with Batman and presumably ended up taking on the mantle. Not bad for a rookie…

 

The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Ret...

Negatives:

1) Miranda Tate

Miranda Tate being a cover identity for Talia Al Ghul was probably the worst kept secret in Hollywood. Despite actress Marion Cotlillard repeatedly denying she was playing the daughter of Ras Al Ghul, set-pics from the film immediately confirmed otherwise. Regardless, Talia’s story is actually well handled. Her origin from the prison (or metaphorical Lazuras Pit) mirrors Bruce’s story in an interesting way. An intriguing theory I’ve heard is that Bruce Wayne is the Joe Chill to Talia Al Ghul. Chill murdered Bruce’s parents, inspiring him to later become Batman and protect the citizens of Gotham. In Talia’s eyes, Bruce murdered her father Ra’s, robbing her of the opportunity to make peace with her father. For that, Talia’s story is well-crafted, but Cotillard’s screen time robs the character of making a lasting impression. Her cover-up crusade to bring clean energy to the world through Wayne Enterprises’ reactor never feels believable, and despite Talia manipulating Bruce, it was odd to see her jumping into bed with him so soon in the movie as their relationship hadn’t received any real development.

2) Plot Errors

It feels like a crime to accuse writer, screenwriter, producer and director Christopher Nolan of being lazy, but wouldn’t a nuclear bomb explosion outside of a large city at some point cause severe radiation poisoning? Granted the bomb exploding mid-air certainly wouldn’t have caused a tsunami as the water would have absorbed most of the blast impact before it reaches the city, but it certainly would have created some lasting radiation. Perhaps I’m wrong, but electing to ignore this repercussion certainly took me out of the movie. A side note though is that there is some movie potential to stem from it. Frank Millar’s epic masterpiece ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ explores a gang of ‘mutants’ rising up and taking control of Gotham. There’s no chance of it happening, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see Warner Bros create a continuation of Nolan’s films set even further in the future where Batman’s actions have doomed the city to radiation poisoning and an uprising of mutant gangs?

Another disappointing aspect was the inconsistency of Batman’s physical and mental state. Christian Bale’s performance was his finest yet, as he really showcased Bruce’s emotional struggle leaving the cape and cowl behind.  How Bruce jumps from a retired hermit state straight back into the dark knight is a different matter altogether, as Bruce defies numerous injuries through the film that would leave most men dead or crippled. If the exoskeleton Bruce wore helped his limp, why wasn’t Wayne Enterprises marketing this groundbreaking exoskeleton technology more efficiently?

3) Jim Gordon’s Screen Time.

In a movie that provides so many new characters, some of the older one’s were undoubtedly going to get shifted and it turns out to be Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon. When the film opens, we are shown Gordon’s grief with having to lie about the man that held up a gun to him and his family. The city treats the fallen Harvey Dent as a hero, while Gordon’s inner struggle to contain the lie is never really given the development it deserves. We only learn that his family have left him and moved away through a brief comment from one of the police officers. Oldman’s absence is further felt when Gordon is injured at the hands of Bane’s mercenaries.

Now the one thing I can’t decide on. The ending. Some argue Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina Kyle in Italy was all in his head. After all, how could Bruce survive a nuclear explosion? An opposing theory is that how could it be in Alfred’s head when he barely new Selina Kyle. I commend Nolan for giving us an Inception-like ambiguity to the film, but if I had to choose, I’d say Bruce was alive. The disappointing thing is that we’re unlikely to ever see Blake’s story as the new protector of Gotham City. At least in the film medium anyway. For now though, The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic piece of cinema, defying the trend of disappointing threequels. Nolan, Bale, Cain, Freeman and Oldman did the impossible.

They brought Batman back from oblivion.

4.5/5

 

 

Who’s Your Favourite Captain America: Steve Rogers or Bucky?

Captain America: Reborn

Image via Wikipedia

(Warning: this will be quite long)

It’s Captain America month, and in case you haven’t heard, the latest Marvel superhero flick Captain America: The First Avenger has managed to knock Harry Potter off the number 1 box office slot in America. Not only has the film managed to overtake Potter’s final outing, it has also raked in some favourable reviews from critics worldwide. Cap fever isn’t just hitting Hollywood though. Right now Captain America is headlining the summer’s mega comic cross event ‘Fear Itself‘, where former sidekick of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes met his unfortunate demise last month. With the reception to Bucky’s death being extremely poor, I’m beginning to question if perhaps Barnes was the more popular Captain America after all.

Steve Rogers:

Steve is the original and most well known Captain America. Steve’s story began as a skinny art student from Brooklyn who was rejected by the U.S Military for his poor shape. Desperate to aid the war effort, Rogers agreed to take part in a top-secret operation known as Operation Rebirth, which transforms Steve into the peak of human perfection. In the closing days of World War 2, Rogers is hurled into the freezing Atlantic after trying to stop a bomb launched by villain Baron Zemo, where Rogers remained frozen in suspended animation for years, only to one day be awoken by The Avengers.

Steve gains appeal from being a man out of time. Although that has worn off drastically in recent years, Steve’s morals and vales constantly reflect his time in the past. His never say die attitude, is something all the heroes look up too, and his authoritive presence makes him one of the only few worthy of leading the Avengers. Steve’s morals have often led him to question the actions of some of his teammates. In the 2006-2007 mega crossover ‘Civil War‘, Steve opposes a government superhero registration act, led by former team mate Tony Stark as he sees it as a removal of civil rights. Steve’s efforts to oppose the registration act led him to surrender to authorities where he was shot down upon his trial on the steps of the federal courthouse.

It was later revealed that Steve was trapped in time, as a result of the Red Skulls evil plan. After reliving his past, Steve was eventually rescued by the new Captain America and the New Avengers. Apart from a brief stint as Captain America during the 2010 comic event ‘Siege‘, Rogers gave up the mantle of Captain America to focus on running the superhero community as Commander Steve Rogers. This is again what makes Steve such a pure character. His sacrifice of giving up the mantle of Captain America really emphasizes what a good heart the character has.

James ‘Bucky’ Barnes

Bucky was one of the three characters alongside Uncle Ben and Jason Todd that were thought would always stay dead in comics. Yet in 2005, Bucky was famously revealed to be a Soviet Assassin known as the Winter Soldier in Ed Brubaker‘s brilliant Captain America series. Having spent his time as the Winter Soldier aiding the Cold War effort, Bucky was kept in suspended animation between missions so his masters could keep him under control.

It wasn’t until he was discovered by Steve Rogers did Bucky regain control after Rogers used the mystical device known as the Cosmic Cube to restore all of Barnes’s memories. After spending time working for S.H.I.E.L.D Bucky stepped up to the mantle of Captain America when Steve was gunned down in the aftermath of the superhero Civil War.

What made Bucky such a great Captain America, was that he was flawed. Unlike Steve, Bucky’s only superhuman asset was his bionic arm meaning he wasn’t as advantaged in combat as his predecessor. This often led to Barnes being captured, which actually became a cliché associated with the character. Barnes was not an idol to his fellow superheroes, as he had to earn their acceptance. Bucky was trying to redeem himself for his past actions as the Winter Soldier, he never wanted to be Captain America, he just didn’t want anyone other than Steve wielding the shield.

Brubaker created an epic narrative with the past eventually catching up with James. After his past life as the Winter Soldier was leaked to the press by Baron Zemo, Bucky was forced to go on trial where he was found guilty of crimes against Russia. It wasn’t long after escaping the Russian prison did Barnes meet his poor demise in Matt Fractions crossover Event ‘Fear Itself’.

Result: My favourite Captain America has to be Bucky. He’s drastically flawed, but he’s still a good guy. Barnes was a Captain America more reflective of the 21st Century. His story arcs were more compelling, and his character was richer. Steve will always be the classic Captain America, but as we enter the later half of 2011, Roger’s Captain America begins to feel slightly outdated.

Let me know what you think, do you prefer Steve or are you like me and think Bucky is a more compelling Captain America? Leave your comments below.