Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - reviewed.

Well, the day finally arrived. I’ve wanted to see The Dark Knight Rises ever since, well, I saw The Dark Knight.

I woke up, amped to go see the film, with my pre-purchased ticket in hand for the 10:20 a.m. showing. Then I got a phone call, telling me about what happened in Aurora, Colorado. A customer in front of me at the ticket booth had heard the news as well, asking the booth attendant if she’d heard the news.

“Yeah,” she said, “It was crazy last night.”

I got my soda and popcorn and sat in the theatre, reading through the initial news coverage on my phone. Kudos to the Colorado police for acting quickly and also to Warner Brothers for reacting appropriately, pulling the Gangster Squad trailer from the line up of previews scheduled to air before the movie.

The previews (no Gangster Squad trailer at the theatre I went to) started and the film commenced.

It was a very good movie – but it was awkward. The audience was silent during moments they probably would have otherwise been laughing. There was one scene, where Bane and his crew enter into a stock exchange office, firing their weapons. Again, awkward silence.

I’m not sure what this James Holmes was hoping to accomplish with his actions. By the news I’ve read, he had it planned out carefully and was most likely trying to make some sort of statement, dressed in his SWAT-like gear.

Others have been making their own statements on Facebook and Twitter, talking about the senselessness of this tragedy.

One statement I see, as a result of this, is that people are capable of amazing kindness and emotion when a group of people – no matter how far away they are – experience something tragic. People all over are offering prayer and support for the families of the 12 people who were killed and the many more who were injured.

In a way, this goes right along with the theme of The Dark Knight Rises: hope and good triumphing over despair and evil.

What would have been an epic movie was reduced today to a ‘very good’ one.

I appreciated the acting that much more though. I was taken away from the real world at moments, despite knowing what happened hours earlier. Anne Hathaway’s amazing ability to portray a cunning, witty, and very three-dimensional Catwoman was a big factor in that.

I was hoping for Angelina Jolie to get the spot, but when I heard that Hathaway would be suiting up to play the villain, I figured she’d do the role well. She definitely didn’t disappoint.

The line between adversary and ally in Catwoman's relationship with Batman is written perfectly. It's a much better portrayal than Batman Returns.

Once Christian Bale delivered. I always thought Michael Keaton played the best Batman, but, after this film, I may have to change my mind. I don’t think his acting in the movie will garner any critical acclaim or awards, but he was a very real, believable Batman. That’s a tough task after Adam West, Val Kilmer and George Clooney delivered more cheesy performances in the past.

The lines Alfred (Michael Caine) is given are usually reserved for the comedic moments in the Batman films, but in this one, that character was mostly used to evoke emotion.

As “Bane,” Tom Hardy filled his menacing villain spot perfectly. He was a legit beast in this film – a new kind of foe for Batman.

I’d heard that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be playing the role of The Riddler. As it turns out, he didn’t play that role, but his character was very important to the movie. I won’t spoil how, though.

There were actually a few twists and turns. Perhaps those who have been tracking every report or spoiler won’t be as surprised as I was. Speaking of surprises, there were a few surprise appearances in the movie as well. Again, I won’t spoil it for you.

I tried to stay away from the previews and I refused to read any spoilers going into this film. Knowing that this is the final film in the Dark Knight trilogy, I wanted the excitement to be there when I sat in the theatre and watched the movie.

After what happened in Aurora, the excitement I was hoping for just wasn’t there. I am looking forward to buying the DVD, however, and watching it again months from now. Outside of the original Star Wars, I can’t think of a trilogy that had a more complete story arc than The Dark Knight trilogy. Despite a few moments that were a little too unbelievable in this third installment, everything delivered.

Yes, when I have all three films on DVD and watch them back-to-back-to-back, I know I’ll enjoy The Dark Knight Rises much more. Today there’s an air of sadness that just can’t be escaped and rightfully so.