Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Matinee: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

There weren't many summer movies that made my heart race with expectation, but this was one of them (just FYI, Prometheus was the other).  I, my friends, am a Bat-o-phile.  I watched Adam West on TV back when I was just a wee one, and my cousin and I played Batman and Robin for hours on end, running around fighting the evil cows and pigs.  I stood in line to see the Tim Burton series back in the '90's (despite the fact that they couldn't freaking make up their mind on who exactly was Batman...Michael Keaton?  Val Kilmer?  George Clooney?).  I have fully invested in the latest series, all written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring a very consistent cast of Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.  These movies are smart, plot-driven, with well-drawn and fascinating characters, and the balls to throw important characters under the bus.  


Going into this movie, I knew it was the final of the trilogy.  How on earth will they end this thing and still leave me, the addict, at peace? How on earth will they be able to follow up the absolutely mind-blowing Oscar-winning performance of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight?  And Anne Hathaway in a cat suit?  I walked into the theater mentally swaggering, thinking "Bring. It. On.".


Eight years have passed since Batman took the fall for the death of Harvey Dent.  That, combined with Rachel's death, has forced Bruce Wayne into seclusion.  But now, an ex-communicated member of the League of Shadows, Bane (Tom Hardy), is wreaking havoc on Gotham, and attempting to ultimately destroy it.  Also running amuck about town is cat-burglar Selina Kyle.  Between the two terrorists, Wayne feels compelled to circle the wagons with the help of Alfred and Fox, and bring Batman out of retirement.























Bring it on they did.  The recurring cast of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman has become emotional for me at this point.  They are family, man.  They are all superior actors.  They have a place in the story, and they pull all the threads together.    


But the new guys are equally as amazing.  I have a place in my heart for Tom Hardy (Tinker Tailor, Inception) but BANE?  His gorgeous face is covered up, but look at the man!  I'd like to have the name of his trainer, introduce him to Andre.  I can't say there was a whole lot of acting going on behind the mask...it was all just menacing robotic stuff.  He sure doesn't match up with the Joker...but his backstory was compelling.


The addition of Oscar-winning Marion Cotillard (Midnight In Paris, Inception, La Vie En Rose) as love interest and rich chick was intriguing.  And Cat Woman!  I knew that Hathaway could act (highly recommend you see her in Rachel Getting Married), but she does a good roundhouse kick in stilettos, and looked pretty hot in that suit.  There is no room for a cupcake with that suit.  Rounding up the new kids, how about Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception), that little cutie?  Methinks we will be seeing more of him (wink, wink)...


It isn't necessary BUT EXTREMELY HELPFUL if you have seen the previous movies, because prior characters and plot threads are incorporated into this grande finale.  There is baggage that has been stored in the overhead bins and have come crashing down on our heads in the turbulence of this third installment.


The effects are nothing particularly special, except for one particular event of bombing the underground tunnels beneath the Gotham pro stadium, forcing the running back to scurry like hell while the earth falls apart behind him.  That was cool.  The attraction, though, is the actors, the screenplay, and the insanely satisfying conclusion to a trilogy that will go down in movie history as the best of them all.  


Just one word of advice.  Don't drink too much while you are watching...this is a long movie (close to 3 hours).  As a testament to the tension, I sat with my legs crossed for a very long time, afraid I was going to miss something important.


4.5 out of 5 stars


      

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Carl and Vance went to see this last night and when they were told the only seats left were on the front row, decided to wait to see it. I loved the last one but this one seems like it has too many chase, fighting, and bombing scenes for me.

Stephanie Ward said...

Great review! I watched Adam West's Batman back in the day too. :-)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I know what you mean about not wanting to drink before movies. That's why we watch most of ours on Netflix!

softdrink said...

I didn't even see the first two movies. I know! I'm a cultural illiterate.

Alyce said...

I'm sure we'll see this one when it comes out on dvd. My husband is into the superhero movies more than I am so he usually goes with his best friend (who was too busy this time around).

Zibilee said...

I haven't seen the second, but I did see the first, and loved it. I need to rent the second and hop along to the theater to see this one while it's still out there. Otherwise I will have to wait a ferociously long time for it to come out on Netflix. I am glad that this was so satisfying for you, and that it tied up all the lose ends. It sounds like a great movie!

Julie P. said...

My husband is dying to see this one. Me -- not so much! And 3 hours!!

Jenners said...

I need to go back and watch the first two again to fully appreciate this one. Glad to hear it lived up to your expectations.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I left Batman after the Michael Keaton edition :p I couldn't figure out the Val Kilmer thing so I just skipped it. Obviously, I'm missing something and that will drive me crazy if I don't take care of it soon.

Carrie K. said...

I will keep the drinking to a minimum- am going to see it Friday night. Kevin's taking the kids camping tomorrow through Saturday and giving me my annual two-day family-free break so I can recharge before I start homeschooling again. My boys may be mad at me, but it might not be playing in our town anymore by the time they get back, so I'm not waiting!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I just saw it yesterday and I loved it! It is really long, but main they packed a lot in. I loved the twists, the villains, the new characters, so good!

Melody said...

Still haven't watch this yet though it's on our priority to-watch list.

I'll make sure not to eat too much chips or popcorn so I won't get thirsty while watching this. :-P