Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Review (spoiler free, unless you choose otherwise)

The Dark Knight Rises was excellent. Being a big Batman geek I also have the benefit of Rose Tinted Fan Spectacles (TM), but I watched it with less obsessive friends and they all enjoyed it too, though one said it felt a little too long, and the consesus was that it wasn't as good as the first two. The Dark Knight is still my favourite, but I'd place Batmin Begins and the Dark Knight Rises on equal footing.
There were some good nods to the comics, nice little cameos and it's a great end to the franchise (though I want Nolan to change his mind and make more).

The film obviously drew on the Knightfall and No Man's Land story arcs, as well as Frank Miller's excellent The Dark Knight Returns. I've not read No Man's Land, alas, but Knightfall and the Dark Knight Returns are certainly essential Batman reading. If you're thinking of getting either of the story arcs make sure you buy the newer editions - they feature more material than the previous trade paperbacks.

Spoilers for the film follow this XKCD, you have been warned.

Really. Lots of spoilers.

One of the main things I liked about the movie was the hopelessness of the cause - echoing Batman getting utterly broken in the Knightfall. The scene were Batman's back was broken was straight out of the books, which was good (so to speak) to see. Obviously, it wouldn't have done to have had as much of a crippling injury as he got in the comics, and I think they dealt with this well for the film (though home made traction and a punch in the back were a weaker aspect - might have been good for the doctor to have placed the vertebra back. Because, you know, the rest of the film is entirely plausible!).

Nolan also wanted Bane as he was a very different villain to the Joker, and he's right. Whilst he certainly brings chaos (one could argue considerably more chaos), he's considerably less chaotic, especially given the time frame involved in planning Gotham's fall.

It was good to see the Scarecrow passing judgement - just to get another character that we're all familiar in, and I bet that the Joker would at least have had a cameo had Heath Ledger been alive (and available). I wish they hadn't made Ra's al Ghul look young in the flashback scenes - it would have been a nod to his imortality and the Lazarus Pits. Granted, Lazarus Pits are a bit too much plot to throw in, but a nod to them would have been good.

A friend of mine saw Blake being Robin as soon as the character was introduced, but I wasn't astute enough to spot this. Part of me would have liked Blake to be called Dick Grayson (or Tim Drake, given he's the better detective), but then I'd not have had the smile at the end when we find out he's Robin. What surprised me less was Talia's appearance. Again I didn't see it being Tate (but my gf thought she was suspicious from the start, and would probably have got her down to be Talia earlier if she had more Batman knowledge), but as soon as they mentioned Ra's al Ghul's child, I knew Talia must surely be on her way. Also, it was good that she had sex with Bruce, as it can set up Damian Wayne (at least in our imaginations).

Catwoman was great - using her to set up the fall of Wayne Enterprises, killing Bane (thus keeping him as the only villain to have beaten the Dark Knight) and a friend's described her perfectly: "Hot, but I'm not sure if she's a villain or not" - that's how she is in the comics, and that's how she was on the screen.

Commisionaer Gordon, was, as ever, fantastic! Even when recuperating in a hospital bed. Good to see him in some action scenes as well, saving the day from the remote detonater. Great, emotional performance from Michael Caine too!

Christopher Nolan's done fantastic work with Batman, and this is a worthy sequal to the previous two!

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