Just been to see The Dark Knights Rises……..
A cautionary tale about how uncomfortable the urge to tell a story, satisfy the audiences limit attention spans and need for bangs and flashes, tie up loose ends, while still leaving a nice open ending to a story, can be.
Uncomfortable being the ugly sensation in the lumbar region that a film of what felt like 3 hours at least, can leave you feeling. Films these days seem to average out at two and a half hours which is like doing a long bus journey in India on the local buses. Needless to say a bloody pain in the arse! Saying that, I watched all of the Lord of the Rings films at the cinema and the memory is not tinged with recollcetions of pain or discomfort which illustrates the power of emotional investment and a good film.
Seriously, these films should only be shown in comfortable cinema’s due to the fact that after a certain period of time, your enjoyment, or even caring about the plot, if the film has one, tends to be seriously hindered because after that time all you care about is getting out of the seat and relieving the pain your experiencing.
But the film?
I have always liked Batman. He is my out and out favourite super hero. I love the whole bizarre, twisted psychological mess it turned into thanks to people like Stan Lee and Alan Moore, but I even liked the silly camp early days on TV. The comics? Oh, I liked them too, but only in later years, and being more of a film buff rather than a comic nut, the visual media always captured my imagination more than the comics to be honest. Saying that, I loathed the day-glo moronic crap the films became after Batman Returns. It was like putting wheels on a fish…utterly pointless and incredibly crass.
I think it was a foregone conclusion that it is impossible to beat the last Batman film.
It’s was a nonstarter really, given the perfect mix of strong plot, emotive action and ball breaking performances. This sadly left Rises seeming like the ugly girl at the dance.
[SPOILER ALERT] It felt like they wanted to draw things together plot-wise, revolving around a central villain. The revealing of the truth behind the villain did not surprise me. Some might be aghast by it, but I watch too many films and have developed a healthy cynicism about the appearance of characters with no apparent background, who you are expected to place faith in and promise redemption or romance for the main character. They’re like the extra guy on a Star Trek away mission….you just know that things are gunna end up bad.
The pace of the film did tend to rise and fall, which made it seem to stumble terribly as it moved from plot to action, like a drunk heading home after a good night on the sauce. Which I have to say given what the director managed in the past films, that of pulling the franchise out of the gutter, is kinda weird.
I think my interest left with Michael Caine which is no reflection on his performance, but boiled down to a combination of the jittery pace and realizing that I just really didn’t care anymore. This sensation only being broken momentarily but the brief appearance of Professor Crane (Madhatter) which made me chuckle.
My partner remarked upon leaving, about the filming being brought upon DVD release and I have to say that I thought to myself, nahhh!
The best bit of the film for me was Ann Hathaway arching her back as she fired the bat bikes rockets to clear a tunnel, though admittedly, the bike itself had evolved from its appearance in the last film and was quite simply amazing.
BANE …….well what can you say to the films iconic poster boy villain? I was a little disappointed that they ignored the nitro chemical effect of the original character and stuck simply to the really, really big actor, which I suppose is fair enough despite the guys accent and the vocal effects of his mask clashing at times in the cinema resulting in an unintelligible noise. But I have to admit that of all the villains in the Batman world, Bane was never one I felt worthy of note, so I am biased….but on the flip-side he was bloody miles ahead of previous film versions of the character.
CATWOMAN….Cat woman was notably muted down from her previous film incarnation, who was played then as seriously unhinged, yet in some ways much more likable. Played here instead as a beautiful jewel thief was nice, but there was absolutely no explanation why she felt the urge to wear a black skintight rubber suit, which just mirrored Batman’s, especially given the fact that she appeared to be perfectly capable of looking after herself and doing her job in something elegant with pearls. Personally it would have been braver to have settled on the latter, with Ann pulling off the role by name alone, which I’m pretty sure she could have done. Put it this way, the story and explanation of the Cat woman character was much better done in her first film appearance, because it was more rounded, and even with the ridiculous premise in Batman Returns, worked better.
I have watched the last film at least twenty times and will probably watch it again and again. I wish I could say the same of this film. To me Heath Ledger took the franchise to the grave with him and I feel that to me at least, The Dark Knight will always be the most powerful, emotional and poignant Batman film ever produced.