Posts Tagged ‘ Rachel Dawes ’

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.




Should Robin be in The Dark Knight Rises?

"We mourn ..."

Image by arellis49 via Flickr

It’s a debate that’s existed since Christopher Nolan rebooted Batman back in 2005. Could Robin the Boy Wonder fit in Nolan’s reality bound universe. Stars such as Christian Bale have poured water over rumours over a potential third flick Robin appearance, but that hasn’t stopped increasing fan boy speculation now that filming for The Dark Knight Rises is underway.

Many would argue that Robin has plagued the Batman franchise over the years. When Chris O’Donnell turned up as the angsty sidekick of Val Kilmer‘s Batman in Batman Forever, things went from bad to worst. A sequel later and we had one of the worst films of all time with Batman & Robin. History suggests Batman flicks should leave out Robin but that really doesn’t have to be the case.

When we last saw the Caped Crusader back in The Dark Knight, he had become an outlaw after taking the fall for crimes he didn’t commit. Now Batman is on the run, his tie with Commissioner Gordon will undoubtedly have been severed. With Rachel Dawes dead, Harvey Dent corrupted/presumed dead and Alfred getting old, Batman is ruining out of allies. Even Lucius Fox threatened to resign after questioning Batman’s methods in The Dark Knight. With Bruce now a loner, enter Robin.

If The Dark Knight Rises wanted to go very dark with Robin it could do. After Robin’s family are killed by the uprising criminality in Gotham, Bruce Wayne could adopt the teenager (I’ll say 16+ as any younger it just becomes weird) as a political stunt to give Bruce some ‘good’ publicity by taking in an orphan. Secretly though, Bruce sees himself in Robin as they have both experienced their parents being killed by the criminals of the city. Having being raised by a butler for all his life however, Bruce struggles with the issue of parenthood, thus most of Robin’s care is left in the hands of poor old Alfred, whilst Batman roams the streets of Gotham.

The Batman/Robin dynamic should take inspiration from Jeph Loeb’s amazing book, Batman: Dark Victory. When Robin discovers the secret behind Batman’s duel identity, things change. Now Bruce can steer Robin unlike in the direction he never had whilst he was young. Thus the training begins, and most of Robin’s appearance in the film should be just training. We see Bruce undertake a serious amount of training in Batman Begins, therefore to have Robin up and ready straight away would be daft.

Robin is not like Batman, whilst Bats is a brawler, often taking on many enemies at one time, Robin is an acrobatic highflying fighter, which makes for the perfect team. The rest of Gotham’s law forces aren’t going to be pleased at how Bats is taking a teenager under is wing, therefore Robin should almost be a the perfect stealth weapon, making sure his enemies don’t see him when he attacks.

He shouldn’t be seen in official costume if he is going to be in The Dark Knight Rises, as I don’t think viewers are quite ready for that yet. Instead he should just wear sleek, back clothing, no cape with a black mask, much like what Bruce wore for the first time in Batman Begins. I also don’t think his character should be comedic as it ruins the dark aspect of the film. Rather than supply Batman with humour like he does in most adaptations, he should wither be a wiz with technology, providing Bats with extra support from the cave. If not, then he should be darker than Batman himself. Perhaps there could be a scene where Robin nearly crosses the line between justice and murder, only for Batman to have to reel him in last minute?

I know we probably won’t see Robin in The Dark Knight Rises, but if this is going to be Nolan’s last Bat flick then the film could set up Robin/Nightwing as the future protector of Gotham. It would make sense considering Warner Bros wouldn’t want to go back to reboot just yet.

Or would they…

The Dark Knight overrated?

Batman: The Dark Knight

Image by lamazone via Flickr

I’ve been reading some Thor movie reviews online and some critics/viewers have continuously compared it in quality to The Dark Knight, and I’m beginning to think a bit frustrated at how Christopher Nolan’s Bat flick has become the benchmark for all comic book movies. People state The Dark Knight as the best comic book movie ever made but I personally say it’s a tie between that, the original Superman movie and Kenneth Branagh‘s Thor as the best superhero films of all time. Why am I being so sour grapes about Batman? Here’s why:

1) Heath Ledger: I’ll agree Heath put in a fantastic performance as the clown prince of crime, yet none can argue his death didn’t generate super hype for the movie. After all it was Heath’s last big role (I don’t count Doctor Parnassus) and that undoubtedly earned The Dark Knight some extra hype. Would the movie have really been so successful if Heath was still alive? I doubt it.

2) The fight scenes: Batman is meant to be an expert in martial arts, yet that can hardly be determined from Begins/The Dark Knight. The fight scenes are overly chaotic, badly choreographed and difficult to watch. Batman’s fighting skills are a crucial element to his character and if you can barely make out what he’s doing when fighting then the scenes are ineffective.

3) Suffers from Fox syndrome: The Dark Knight’s casting choices is class on paper, misfire on screen. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s portrayal as Rachel Dawes was in complete contrast to the Rachel Katie Holmes gave us in Batman Begins. We went from a Rachel who genuinely wanted to help protect the city, and who had great chemistry with Christian Bale, to a Rachel who seemed overly interested in flirtatious behaviour all of a sudden and had aged quite considerably. Morgan Freeman and Micheal Caine were also left with such small roles for two amazing actors.

4) The Bat grunt: I understand why they chose to give Batman such a grunty voice, after all it’s a lot more intimidating and it helps protects his identity as Bruce Wayne even further, but I just don’t get why it was used in certain scenes. Scenes such as when Batman was instructing Harvey Dent in the alley. Batman was trying to forge an alliance with Dent, so why use the Bat grunt? Scarring someone isn’t going to make them trust you surely? The same goes for the scene with Freeman’s Lucius Fox, in Wayne Tower. Bruce had his Bat grunt on even though Lucius knows who he is. It’s moments like this when the voice begins to get annoying.

5) Lost romance: We were left at the end of Batman Begins with Rachel telling Bruce that his commitments to Batman will mean they cannot be together. When we see her in The Dark Knight, she has completely moved on from Bruce and is pining over District Attorney Dent. Her and Bruce do address their relationship in the film but it just feels like their romance was underplayed. Especially since Batman seemed to freak out more over the ‘death’ of Commissioner Jim Gordon then he did over the supposed childhood love.

I still believe The Dark Knight is a tremendous film, and is undoubtedly up their with the best comic book movies. It does deserve its reputation because it is an incredible film, I just wouldn’t call it undisputed yet. Marvel are whopping out some real gems, and if DC aren’t careful the caped crusader will find himself in real trouble when he’s up against The Avengers, The Wolverine and The Amazing Spider-Man next year.

We’ve had a Royal Wedding, why not a Super Wedding?

Fantastic 4 - Rise of the silver surfer

Image by Brajeshwar via Flickr

The Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton has taken place, and seeing how excited people get over weddings has led me to ask why we don’t see more superhero weddings on screen?

There are plenty of superhero weddings in comic books, such as Spider-Man and Mary Jane, Superman and Lois Lane, but when it comes to film, our heroes seem to fall shy when it comes to asking the big question? Is it because marriages between heroes are doomed to fail? Or are they just afraid of commitment.

First up is our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. When we last saw the webslinger in Spider-Man 3 he had had his proposal to his girlfriend Mary Jane Watson surprisingly rejected. And this was after enduring a battle with his best friend where he nearly lost his engagement ring, kissing another woman and fighting a giant sandmonstor. He certainly didn’t catch a break when it came to marriage proposals. Sadly we will never see if MJ eventually accepted as the franchise has been rebooted for a new Spidey played by Andrew Garfield in 2012.

Next up is Batman in The Dark Knight. The caped crusader was unable to commit to life long love Rachel Dawes because of his antics as the dark knight. To add insult to injury, Rachel goes and accepts a proposal from District Attorney Harvey Dent. Even that marriage was doomed from the start as moments after telling Dent she accepts, The Joker kills her and Dent is hideously scarred and turns into Two Face. Seems no one wins in that triangle.

We almost had a wedding of royal scale in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Tipped as the wedding of the century in the film, the service between Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman was interrupted by the Silver Surfer. Cue a crashing helicopter, a fiery chase between the Human Torch and the cosmic surfer, and the service was ruined. The super couple did marry at the end of the film in a private ceremony in Japan, however they had to prematurely wrap up the ceremony to attend superhero duties.

Perhaps Superman fairs a little better. He at least fathered a child out of wedlock in Superman Returns. The Man of Steel didn’t even seem to have the courage to ask his mortal lover Lois Lane to marry him. I think that’s Superman’s problem not hers, as Lois had been married in Superman Returns to another man for at least five or more years. Shame on you Superman.

We’ve seen a wedding in superhero animation however. In the wonderful 2004 Pixar movie The Incredibles, we witnessed the marriage of two superheroes, Mr Incredible and Eslastigirl. That didn’t go too smoothly as the groom turned up late after foiling a robbery as the masked superhero. Still the service was done, as they’ve been the most successful married super couple on film so far.

It seems marriage doesn’t fit the superhero lifestyle. Our heroes are happier fighting crime and saving lives then tying the knot, or in Superman’s case, impregnating a woman and flying off for five years. Perhaps Green Lantern can prove us wrong, after all,

he already has a ring.