What I'm Watching: Dark Knight Rises
And thus ends Christopher Nolan's esteemed Batman trilogy. There have been issues, there have been voices that may not have been the best and went on to inspire many an internet gag, there was craziness, insanity, and one of the best Jokers ever.
So, how DOES it end? Well, I'm not going to get into too many plot details, but it ends REALLY REALLY well.
This is a true end to a trilogy of movies, and these three movies truly are a trilogy. The first movie is important, it is referenced, things come back, and almost everything ties together in the end. The biggest, glaring omission is the Joker in the final movie but...well, we know what happened there, so that's fine. I don't think it detracts from the final movie, or the full trilogy. It would have just added that extra bit to make this a truly complete trilogy.
I have almost literally nothing bad to say about this movie. There are large chunks of this movie where Batman is not even in it. And I don't just mean, Christian Bale isn't in the batsuit, although there's that too. Bruce disappears from the plot for awhile as well, but this story has SO much going on, all of it important, that you don't really miss him. And it has the added bonus of minimising the Batvoice. Which, I noticed while rewatching the first two movies this week...was not as pronounced in the original, and I wish he'd stuck with that version.
But there IS Bane's voice, and it suffers a little from being clearly processed, and it stands out as not being 'right'. But Thomas Hardy is such a strong presence, and such a good actor, you can almost let it slide. I can't quiiite pull it off myself, and I understand what happened there, and again, I can forgive it.
Voice aside, Hardy is awesome as Bane. Hell, everyone is awesome. Anne Hathaway proves she is an amazing Catwoman. Joseph Gordon Levitt surprises everyone by unexpectedly stealing the show, and having a great character arc in what should be Batman's movie.
The movie has a TON going on. The plot is complex. It weaves in and out of itself, has tons of moving parts, and everything pays off. Everything. Even stuff from the first movie. As I watched begins, I noticed the lines between Bruce and his dad, and how perfect they would fit into the themes of the final movie, and it was staring us in the face the whole time. And I was SO pleased when those lines about needing to fall to learn to get back up, came into play. So wonderfully done.
The absolute highlight of the movie for me, was that moment that was a true payoff for comic book geeks: Bane breaking Batman's back. I literally was on the verge of squealing in the movie theatre. And if I had heard any other noises from the crowd, I would have. I barely contained myself. So awesome to see on the screen.
I just...every inch of this movie was just perfectly done. I would not change a frame. I am sure others will have deeper criticism of the movie, more flaws they can find but...Nolan has shown us that comic book movies CAN be done seriously, can be true art, true films. This is exactly what I wanted from a Batmovie, and for a movie that is nearly three hours long, I don't think it was padded at all, and found no real slow spots. Maybe a few, but they are tiny, and with everything else being juggled, even the slowness goes by fast!
I had kinda figured out who Cotillard was pretty quickly, but then I had the joy of seeing all the little hints (Some of them straight out of the classic...Son of the Demon TPB, IIRC?) and story arc for her. Masterful storytelling that works great as an original mystery, and then to see how well they laid the groundwork for it on rewatching.
Another great moment was tying back to a bit of Gordon's backstory from the first movie. Another moment I wanted to cheer in the theatre, and just amazed me at how much they seemed to have thought this out.
I could easily sit here and just list scene after scene and why it was awesome. I half expected this review to be nothing more than just "Awesome" repeated over and over. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. If you loved the first two, you almost NEED to see this movie. To do otherwise would be like reading a book and not reading the final chapter.
I think that Dark Knight still has a slightly better story, but this is a stronger film, and maybe stumbles a little by having so much going on. But asking me to pick whether DK or DKR is better is like asking me to pick my favourite redhead. Can't I love them all equally?
Hats of to Nolan, Bale, Caine, Ledger, Oldman, Freeman, Hathaway...every single person. They delivered a great film, a great finale to a trilogy, and a great three movies that truly do serve as one giant story.
Such a nice change of pace to gush.