Monday, July 23, 2012

The obligatory Batman post

Batman was great.  I’m gonna put that out there first, before discussing properly.  I really enjoyed it, the sets were great, the acting was great, the story was…only a little incomprehensible, but mostly good.
I’m going to try to avoid spoilers as best I can, but will probably fail, so be forewarned if you don’t want any.

We start out eight years later, after the events of TDK.  Bruce Wayne has been holed up in his rebuilt mansion, sulking over his disabled leg and tarnished reputation.  The legacy of Harvey Dent has cleaned up the city but good.  A law was passed that somehow managed to get every criminal off the street, so Gotham is relatively safe.

Of course, things start going crazy right away.  Bane, a crazy strong guy with a mask that is explained in the third act, comes to town, and takes over the sewers.  Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Officer Blake has a suspicion, and convinces Commissioner Gordon into the sewers with him.  Gordon almost immediately gets shot, and we are thrust into the action proper. 

Bruce Wayne is fairly convinced he will never be Batman again, until Selena Kyle steals his mother’s pearls.  This gets him into action, and he figures out a way to fix his leg, instill Miranda Tate(a heretofor unmentioned person that he trusts because she wants to create clean energy) as head of Wayne Enterprises, and fully instill himself in society to get his pearls back from Selena. 

And then things really hit the fan, as he convinces Selena to help him find Bane.  When they do, Bane breaks him.  Literally.  Broken back and all that, pulled straight from the comic books.  We shoot off into act two, and the end of my synopsis.

So, to actually review.  This was an interesting movie, for sure.  It was a titch distracting that everyone and their mother knew the secret identity.  Batman, if “you have a mask to protect the ones you love,” you really need to work on keeping your identity secret.

I was a bit disappointed going into the movie, knowing JGL played Officer Blake, and not Dick Grayson, but it was assuaged throughout the movie when he essentially filled that role anyway.

Bane was a great villain.  He had the unpredictability of the Joker with the strength and seeming invincibility of Superman, which made for intense standoffs and fabulous fights between the two.  The biggest issue I had with him was his voice.  I’m really not sure what was going on with it, but it was very very distracting to me.  It was almost too high pitched to be coming out of that guy, a, and b, it didn’t seem to be coming out of him anyway!  It really seemed to be coming from somewhere off to the side, which really took me out of the story whenever he spoke.

I’ve read in several other reviews that the sound mixing was not great, and I definitely agree.  It wasn’t quite as bad as AGT, but the soundtrack had a bad tendency to wash out the dialogue, with was tricky to understand anyway, what with Bane’s crazy issue, and Batman’s normal gravely thing that he does.

Anne Hathaway as Selena Kyle was good to very good.  I think, had I not known her from Princess Diaries, I would have enjoyed her performance better, but it just felt almost wrong to see her pulling off the Catwoman act.  Though, of course, the closest the movie got to calling her Catwoman was in a newspaper article naming a ‘cat’ burglar in town.  Her motivations were generally solid, but the conclusion of those motivations seemed a bit off.

Finally, before the movie started, Joe and I had a discussion on which would make more money, The Avengers, or TDKR.  I put my money behind The Avengers, and I’m still convinced of that after seeing both.  The biggest reason for that is replay-ablilty.  What I mean by that is the choice people will or won’t make to see a movie again.  For all the greatness inherent in The Dark Knight Trilogy, for the new direction it pulled superhero movies into, none of them feel like movies that need to be seen multiple times in a theater.  They are the kind of movies that, once you see them, you sit on them, you think about them, and then you move on. 

The Avengers, on the other hand, were so full of fun, so full of great action, and characters that you want to see succeed, that you are more than willing to do it multiple times.  I myself saw The Avengers twice, and I have never once seen a movie multiple times in a theater.  TDKR, on the other hand?  I saw it, I loved it, but I have absolutely no desire to see it again, at least in theaters. 

What this all comes down to is that The Dark Knight Rises is a great movie.  The action scenes are well shot, the story is decent to good, and the villains are great.  I highly recommend it, though I would kind of assume anyone reading this blog has already seen it.

4/5 caped crusaders       

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