Posts Tagged ‘ Joseph Gordon-Levitt ’

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

 

 

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.