The Dark Knight Surprises

I needed to wait a few months before I could write this review. I needed to fully digest the cinematic masterpiece that I had devoured in IMAX, let the magic resonate through my body before I put pen to paper, finger to keyboard. With the DVD/ Blu-ray release just over a week away (December 3rd), now seemed like the perfect time to remind you of the glorious Gotham tale.

Please be warned that this will be filled with an unnatural amount of gushing, with every known superlative making an appearance in my relaying of the film. Now I understand that this sounds just a tiny bit exaggerated but I was honestly blown away by Christopher Nolan’s last instalment of Batman. As an annoyingly critical person I found the epic absolutely phenomenal! One of the good things about being badly organised and chronically lazy (I saw the film at the end of July) is that you get to assess the reactions of others whilst writing your review.While I’ve been surrounded by people that can’t see what the big deal is, weeks later I’m still experiencing shell shock. Utter bewilderment. How on earth do you orchestrate a film on that proportion? With so much picture perfect stunts, a water tight intriguing script and breath taking cast? I shudder to think how long the risk assessment must have been.

The Dark Knight Rises takes the iconic comic book legend to a grittier, scarier, darker place. This bold interpretation of what it means to be heroic is firmly rooted in our contemporary issues, including nods to environmental issues, terrorism and even aging. The film is conscious of its political context and attempts to engage the audiences mind in a way that comic’s conventionally don’t; absolutely spell binding. Who would have thought that anything would even come close to Heath Ledgers performance as The Joker? The audience is presented with a multi-layered interpretation of the comic that is proud of its sophistication.

 

HOWEVER I finally went to see the film again a few weeks after the initial viewing and felt an entirely different response. You see, the problem with such shocking, action packed movies is that once you’ve seen them for the first time, they lose a lot of their appeal. Don’t get me wrong, the film was still amazing and I did appreciate it, but without the element of surprise the film felt distinctly…different.  I’ve watched The Dark Knight again and again, and it maintains its vitality. No matter how many times you see the joker burn the hospital to the ground, it’s still as disturbing as ever. If anything The Dark Knight gets more disturbing with every watch, with the last instalment of the trilogy however I feel like it’s the first viewing that really gets you.

Personally I have a thing about square jaw lines and husky voices, don’t ask me why but there’s just something about Batman. He is definitely the sexiest superhero, with Robert Downey Jnr’s Iron Man making a close second. While this is beside the point, it’s a valid observation none the less. 🙂

 

I personally found Bane to be one of the most terrifying villains I’d ever come across. While he is completely paradoxical to the insane, deranged Joker, he offers similarly relentless destruction but in an almost justified manner. Bane attempts to convince the people of Gotham, and even the audience themselves that it is their right to rise up and take justice into their own hands.

Arrestingly charming yet subtly unsettling Tom Hardy. He has said himself that he finds a kind of solace in portraying demented, psychotic characters. There is something within his own character that identifies with the tortured souls of his performances such as his 2008 portrayal of Bronson.

Tom Hardy is incredibly skilled at portraying inner turmoil with the most fleeting of expressions. Considering that he spends the duration of the film with just his eyes visible, it was amazing how he managed to articulate so much visually. The trouble with his sinister face mask is that a lot of his speech was indecipherable. I believe, however that  it was a clever technique to make the viewer hang on every single syllable. You are so drawn into trying to figure out what he is saying that he commands full attention in every instance.  It was a successful technique, if a little irritating.

 

Selina Kyle is never actually referred to as catwoman in the film, this way she is allowed to have more depth of character and a personality beyond her sexy outfit. I wasn’t entirely convinced with Anne Hathaway’s performance either of the times I watched the film. Her star persona naturally made me think of her other roles, and I couldn’t help but see a fraction of Mia Thermopolis (The Princess Diaries) and Andy (The Devil Wears Prada) in the sleek cat burglar. While The Dark Knight Rises could probably garner interest from every actor alive, I believe the role should have gone to an unknown actress, desperately eager to prove themselves. Nolan’s depiction of catwoman shows a vulnerable criminal eager to erase the sins of her past, when the audience already knows you as a girl next door type, its hard to differentiate between the two. An actress who personally had something to prove would naturally bring this hunger to the role.

 

Christian Bale was excellent in reclaiming his role as the dark knight, bringing his usual blend of darkness and simmering tension to the big screen. Overall the cast worked harmoniously together, reminding us exactly why cinema plays such an important part in modern culture.

 

 

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22 responses to “The Dark Knight Surprises

  1. Very good review however I must point out that in my opinion this film was inferior in nearly every way to The Dark Knight.

    • Thank you. But what about Bane? and the introduction of Robin? Did neither of these things improve on The Dark Knight experience? I don’t think anything will ever compare to The Dark Knight

      • Personally I didn’t really like Bane that much for reasons I quite can’t put my finger on. I think that Heath Ledger’s performance in the previous film set the standard so high that this film could not quite match it.

      • I absolutely agree. Heath Ledgers performance was spine tingling and will never lose it’s potency. A very very hard act to follow. But we get Catwoman in this film!!! Isn’t that a bonus?

  2. Anne Hathaway in the role didn’t really convince me and also I prefer when Batman works alone which is why the previously two films really appealed to me and the introduction of Robin and Catwoman wasn’t a positive aspect for me.

    • Yeah I found it a tiny bit contrived, she’s stunning but not in the traditional sexualised Catwoman way. I liked the potential love story in that it humanised Batman and reminded us of Bruce Wayne. Was that positive or negative in your opinion?

      • I think it was a negative point due to the fact Selina Kyle was in my opinion too strong to be a love interest of batman in the film. This is most evident when she actually kills Bane. I think a vulnerable love interest such as in The Dark Knight would be better because it allows a nemesis to target Batman on a deeper psychological level instead of the direct physical approach that Bane utilised in the film.

      • Ah I beg to differ. I felt Selina had authentic vulnerability in that she had a murky past to conceal and yearned for acceptance whilst Rachel Dawes felt like more of a one dimensional damsel in distress. While Bane was such a terrifying adversary, his death was laughable. Catwoman wasn’t strong, she was lucky.

  3. Fair point. It has been a while since I saw this film and my memory is still a little murky. Personally this film is ranked third in the Christopher Nolan series, with the The Dark Knight and Batman Begins taking first and second respectively. Where would you put this film?

    • I think the last two instalments blew the first one out of the water. When you compare Cillian Murphy (love him) to Heath Ledger and Tom Hardy…It’s hard to believe he was ever the bad guy to be honest. And Katie Holmes as Rachel? :s I think The Dark Knight is number one, but this is an achingly close second.

  4. At least we agree on who gets the gold. I think for my first attempt at anonymous blogging I have acquitted myself well. It is more interesting than I thought it would be.

      • They are very well written and balanced. Not many are in my areas of interest but that is not a fault because it is topics of your choosing we are discussing. It is impossible for everything to be interesting to everyone.

  5. I’m still working on discovering my niche, but so far it’s whatever I feel strongly about. This film made me bubble with opinions so I had to unleash them here. This is my canvas that I can recklessly paint. However, Investigative Journalism is the direction I’m leaning towards. A female Louis Theroux

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