Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Movie with Abe: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Released July 20, 2012 / DVD December 4, 2012

I’ll begin by noting that I was one of the few who wasn’t astounded by “The Dark Knight” in 2008, and I didn’t like “Batman Begins” at all. As a result of circumstances out of my control, I missed “The Dark Knight Rises” in theatres this summer, and the tragedy that occurred during the Aurora midnight showing had dampened my excitement about seeing it considerably. I was therefore unprepared for, and wonderfully surprised by, the fact that “The Dark Knight Rises” is an excellent superhero movie that captures the awesome feel that, for me, was missing from the first two Nolan-directed Batman films.

“The Dark Knight Rises” will forever be associated with the senseless violence that claimed the lives of twelve people in Colorado, and there’s nothing that will change that. That awful event, however unintentionally, makes the film’s portrayal of brutality and the desire to kill innocent people extremely compelling. Bane, portrayed by Tom Hardy, is a mesmerizing follow-up to Heath Ledger’s unforgettable Joker, someone who seeks to create chaos for the sake of toppling societal norms. He serves as a frightening and formidable nemesis worthy of no opponent less determined to mete out justice than the Dark Knight.

Its title may suggest otherwise, but Batman actually plays no more than a small role in this movie. In addition to returning ensemble players Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, Christopher Nolan employs two standout performers from his previous film, “Inception” (Hardy is a third), to great effect. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is superb as energetic young policeman John Blake, and Marion Cotillard is marvelous as always as Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member eager to do business with the reclusive Bruce Wayne. “The Dark Knight Rises” truly succeeds with the casting of Anne Hathaway as professional thief Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman, who makes a memorable entrance and clashes initially with Wayne, ultimately serving as a fantastic partner for Batman.

Clocking in at 165 minutes, “The Dark Knight Rises” makes full use of its time to tell a grand narrative with stellar effects and other visuals. Its masterful use of its entire ensemble is extraordinarily productive, and this is a comic book movie for the ages. Nolan has demonstrated himself to be enormously capable of using his signature style to characterize this classic character, and it’s clear that he is a natural storyteller. While the franchise is sure to be rebooted eventually, if not soon, which this film does allow for, this is a fitting final chapter in the cinematic Batman saga. It will be forever associated with a real-life tragedy, but it deserves to be remembered also as a fabulous film.


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