Friday, July 27, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - A Short(ish) Review

This review will have spoilers so I'll write this first bit for people who haven't watched it yet.

The Dark Knight Rises is a very satisfying conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy.  It has everything you would want in a finale:  epic battles, a skin tight catsuit wearing Mia Thermopolis, indiscernible voices from mask wearing characters, and a crying Michael Caine.  Honestly, if you like Batman in the least and you've seen the other two films, you should watch this movie.

Okay, I got sucked so far into this movie that I forgot all my knowledge of the Batman comics.  They throw a red herring out that Bane is Ra's Al Ghul's son.  I know that Talia is Ra's Al Ghul's child.  But I bought it, hook, line, and sinker.  It made total sense that Bane was the mastermind.  Of course, once "Miranda" gutted Batman I realized the errors of my ways and thanked God that it was dark in the theatre so nobody could see my embarrassment at being duped.

The point is, this movie is a good way.  The biggest issue that I had was the relationship between Bruce and Miranda.  All of a sudden they're bangin' beside the fire.  There was no romance or chemistry, it just happened.  Which actually sent up red flags that something was fishy with her.  Especially since Mia Themopolis and Batman obviously had something going on.  But the movie was so engaging that by the time Gotham was overrun I had forgotten about those red flags.

Some of that could have been due to the length of the film.  It ran for about half a day.  But unlike Breaking Dawn Part I it didn't seem to last forever.  I honestly thought it should have lasted longer.  If the relationship between Bruce and Miranda hadn't been brushed over it would have made the betrayal much more exciting, and it would have made me care that Bruce cared.  But the "romance" accomplished it's goal and moved on, so that's good.

Another issue I had was that I couldn't understand anyone in this movie.  I think my theatre just had a terrible mixer, because the bass overpowered everything.  Batman and Bane are hard enough to understand without the music or explosions drowning out what they're saying so much that I have to strain to even understand context.  Even Gary Oldman (who I didn't know was British until Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban came out) was unintelligible.  Mayhaps it was the awesome 'stache that he rocked which muffled his voice.  Except I think it was bigger in the first two movies.  Anyway, I hope that was just a bad mix in the theatre.  If anyone else experienced this maybe it's just a plain bad mix.  Either way, when I watch this with my deaf roommate I guess I'll find out what I missed by reading the subtitles.


Really, this is the type of summer movie that needs to be made.  The Avengers is like the Call of Duty video games, in that it appeals to the lowest common denominator.  It's good fun, but there isn't a whole lot of depth and you don't need to think to enjoy.  I guess the same could be said of The Dark Knight Rises as there is a bunch of cool gadgets, sweet action, and explosions (in that you can just shut off your brain and enjoy the ride), but this is an actual smart movie with real character depth and story.  Unlike in The Avengers, I felt for these characters, especially the bad guys, which is a sure sign of good storytelling.

So my recommendation is watch this movie.  Just not at the Century at Pacific Commons until they get a better mixer.

UPDATE:  Oh, one thing I forgot to mention was that when I first saw the previews I figured this would go the way the old Batman movies went:  there were way too many characters.  I was pleasantly surprised at how natural everyone seemed to fit into the script.

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