The Dark Knight Rises. And drives his cars. Epically.

Posted: December 1, 2014 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

The Dark Knight Rises.. you aren’t kidding.  He rose, man.

But a little story for you first, as always.  This movie, when I first heard about it, was especially close to my heart.  Why?

*hyperventilation*

As you may or may not know, I love Catwoman.  I have always loved Catwoman.  Like, as I said in the QA, I wanted to find a Catwoman costume for Halloween, and I was consistently pissed off that I couldn’t.  And like a good little Catwoman fangirl, my parents never knew this.  I kept it hidden (not joking).  I used to just casually scour the Halloween costume pickings looking for a girl superhero costume, but I wanted Catwoman in particular.  Why?  I don’t know.  I don’t know what led me to Catwoman to begin with, but that is what I settled on, probably because she was stealthy, sneaky, and just amazing at her job.  I liked she didn’t have a good or bad vibe about her, she just did things and decided what she wanted to be that day.  And I never found it.  But, that entire time, they weren’t aware of my wanted Catwoman costume.  They were unaware of this for years on end.  I just told them of this 4 months ago or something, and I stopped trick or treating a rather long time ago.

And, just, I saw her to be in this movie, and my life was complete.  Until a few other things made it less complete, but still complete nonetheless.  The premise of the movie is that basically Bane wants to expose Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon, and Batman comes out of retirement for it.

So when the movie opens, we get a feel for Bane, but it’s pretty apparent it’s not true to the comics.  First of all, Tom Hardy is a shawty (I may as well make him seem cool in the process).  And, I mean, in comparison to comic book bane, he is really.. different.  I mean, I know Tom Hardy got buff, but when you compare the two of them side by side, you know which one is more imposing.  Granted, yes, that is always the case because comic books aren’t drawn realistically per say, but you can still be as imposing or translate over into real life.  It felt like when they translated Bane, they forgot a few crucial characteristics about him.  Bane sort of seems very one dimensional.  We don’t really know that much about him as a villain-person.  And, I mean, in the movie, he just seems so… pissed off, for no reason.  I mean, yes, we get the plot and all, but I read his wikipedia article and my heart is aching for Bane (not too much, just a little).  Osito the bear, for instance.  The fact also is, in the comics, Bane seems a little bit more “crazy”, for a lack of a better term. But here’s the problem:  His mask is different.  His Nolan mask is used for a constant supply of medication while his comic mask is because he’s addicted to venom.  I like Nolan’s better (I’m so, so sorry, right now).  The reason why is because we missed out on that Bane Meet and Greet in the movie.  There is only so much shit you can cram into a 3 hour long movie (some of it really being shit, and I will get to that).  So, Nolan didn’t do all the “feel bad for Bane”, but he did make him able to be related to by making that mask supply him with medication in the most ironic way.  Bane is physically strong, but then you just… crack his mask and he turns into a puppydog?  It’s a really ironic weakness for Bane to have, and I don’t think Nolan would be able to do both.  It was either psychotic addict or sympathetic villain.  There was no way to do both, and given Batman is already maxed out in depression, if we got psychotic Bane…

Coming out of retirement?  Fuck that.

I just don’t think Batman could’ve needed antidepressants because of Rachel and then had a massive steroided-out Bane.  It’d just be like, nevermind, Gotham, burn.

But we get something else with Bane.  Granted, he’s different from the comics, but I can’t hate on it too much because he’s a stark contrast to the Joker.  I think if we used his psychotic episodes it’d be too similar and it’d just be a different film.  Bane is the epitome of terrorism.  Bane is a terrorist.

This movie has so many political undertones I can’t even list them all (and I’m not going to try).  But, a few themes I noticed are the obvious corruption, police issues, jail ethics, government documents/ethics of secrecy, and Bane being a terrorist.  That is what I’m going to talk about, because I could write a 10 page paper on this movie and it’s political undertones.  Given my blog posts are in the 1k-2k word range, you know I am capable of doing it, so I am honing in on one issue and talking about it that way you don’t need to read this post over a small lifetime.

Bane is scary despite all of those things I noted about him.  Yes, he’s short, yes, he need stilts, and yes, he is not as big as comic book Bane.  But he is still scary.  I found those scenes with the stock exchange horrifying.  I found that stadium scene so powerful that it got me physically uncomfortable.  Bane himself is a political statement, and frankly, it’s amazing.  The Joker is a political statement sort of, but the Joker is more of a psychological perspective and using the world as his mental playground for Batman and himself.  Nonetheless, Bane takes that a step further and basically does what people try to do. People with bad intentions focus on large gatherings (Boston Marathon bombing), and the stock exchange in New York City because they know what it will do… Bane did all of that.  And you can tell me it’s fake, and it’s fiction, and to not look into it that far.  But.. what he did was enough to give me goosebumps.  I can’t say anything in the superhero universe embodied terrorism quite as well as Bane, despite the fact they want to blow up a city somewhere just about every ten minutes (and within Marvel, it’s pretty much always New York City).  We very rarely see the actual citizens and something being done to the actual citizens we can relate to.  I mean, even with Superman and Zod, odds are we aren’t ever going to find a guy from an alien planet attacking us in some weird space suit.  (Disclaimer:  Terrorism is not to be glorified, do not use this blog post as inspiration for it or terrorist acts.  In no way am I endorsing those acts, I am merely relating the movie to present day events and issues.)

I can continue breathing now.

Even so, Bane could’ve been developed just a tad more.  Speaking of developing..

John Blake should not have happened.

Yeah. You read that right.

John Blake felt pointless.  John Blake felt like the Batman version of Coulson: the dude is a total fanboy.  If he could find Batman cards to collect, he totally would.  I get where they were going with it with the orphanage and everything, but how many times do we need to be reminded Batman is an orphan?  We got it.  Seriously. This is only the 600th time you’ve reminded us, amid seeing Batman’s parents die another 2,000 times.  We got it.  It was nice with the orphanage, but nice doesn’t mean good.   All the time they spent on a character that really isn’t… going anywhere (at least at first glance, because it’s like: Is he Nightwing?! Or is he Robin?!) because Nolan is done with superhero movies for now.  In addition, they could’ve totally made more of a point with not honing on John Blake so much: if they didn’t focus on him so much, they could’ve made more of a point about the police force.  The police force could’ve been used to make up a statement about Batman, especially with the end of The Dark Knight being considered.  Batman at the end of that movie is an outcast.  They could’ve used the police force to sort of buffer that and have society be like, damn, you’re not so bad – even if they didn’t do it directly.  It just felt like something that could’ve been made a little less to develop Bane a bit more and also develop someone else… You should know who by now, come on.

Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, was wonderful as her cat-burglar self.  She was her snarky, sneaky self, but she could’ve been utilized more.  It felt lacking with her because of Blake.  Considering the ending of the film, they totally could’ve gone a little bit more of the Hush route which I am reading right now (just minus Batman going “nevermind”).  The dynamic between them in that comic is wonderful.  The dynamic between them is good, but Hush really manages to capture it.  I think Catwoman could’ve been a little bit more of a badass while being in love, especially toward the end.  I still loved her manipulation, I still loved her kicking ass, but they could’ve done more.  Without Blake, she could have been used more.  She could have essentially taken on the role of Blake without the feeling of being a sidekick – because she’s not a sidekick.  She’s Batman’s equal in many senses, and the movie makes her come off a little less independent of him.  Either way, she was the best catwoman portrayal on a screen to date.  For the most part, they didn’t let her get snarky enough.  They didn’t let her get sneaky enough.  In my opinion that was due to Blake and how many characters they were trying to develop.  I know her costume wasn’t true to the comics, and I can see why people take issue with it but I cannot.  I think they missed a few things in the translation, but I don’t consider it such a bad suit.

Also worthy of note are the two love interests we constantly see throughout the movie… you know, Talia and Catwoman.

You made the right decision, Bats.

It was just interesting to see that mental battle happening on screen.  It was like in between Bane and Batman physically fighting we had that going on.  It wasn’t too obvious, but it just added a certain element to see Batman pick Catwoman, which is a couple that seems to captivate comic fans in general.  Talia being there and gaining his interest just needed to happen.  She’s rich and could rescue his company, but still Catwoman comes out on top.

Overall, I generally like the plot; it did itself justice and wrapped up nicely. At times it dragged a little bit, but the plot, music, and effects just all came together.  And those car chases were absolutely epic.  I love a good car chase in a movie and this movie delivered it.   But like I said, I admit, sometimes the action and plot dragged a little, and there wasn’t too much Batman at times.  This movie has a lot to live up to being the movie after The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger.  Sometimes the plot wasn’t entirely clear, and I admit the fist fight was probably not the best way to get Bane to go out.  It’s jsut that he’s doing all these grand things, and then they’re fighting like schoolchildren when they’re done?

It was a good ending to a great trilogy.  Frankly, if it ended too strong, we’d be itching for more Batman Nolan movies.  I think, although this movie is not as strong as The Dark Knight, it was a perfect bell-curve like ending.  It was a perfect U shape in quality.  Good, Great, Good.  And to keep it from feeling like no more movies is wasted potential, that’s truly how it should be.  I think if we did see a lot of Batman, we wouldn’t be itching to see him in movies.

And that is how a Dark Knight remains one.

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