Friday 10 August 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

A superhuman human. No special powers. Just human. But oh so super. I have been following the exploits of the Caped Crusader since I was a little boy and does the little boy or the little girl as the case may be, ever leave us? I have heard it said that one hopes not for it is that little person inside all of us which continues to bring a sense of wonderment to life. Pretty profound stuff for a comic book.

Entertainment is entertainment but can we take it just a tad serious? And Batman, mythical fighter of crime, is serious stuff. Well, it was supposed to be serious stuff for me. The 1960s television series was amusing camp but it was anything but serious. Burton's 1989 reboot of the franchise did wonders for the guy with its serious tone and dark look. Okay, from there things got a little out of hand; a throwback to the cartoonish laughs of the 1960s series but Christopher Nolan got this baby back on track and good. Okay, it's a comic book. Okay, the hero has a costume like a bat. But in the beginning, the very beginning, creator Bob Kane had Batman doing serious work as a detective. After all, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939).

Hats off to Mr. Nolan. This third film in the so-called Nolan Batman trilogy is respectful of the original intention behind the creation of Batman. It's dark. It's serious. It's intense. It is also a reminder that if the villain is a tad whacko, anybody who dedicates their life to costumed crime fighting with the singular ferocity of a Ninja warrior has to be a bit off center himself. Yes, if the bad guy is out in left field, our Batman is just as far out in right field.

By the numbers
The following looks back at the entire series of films (ignoring anything prior to Burton's first film). It is interesting to compare the reception of the films with the level of camp. The dark serious films were better received, more critically acclaimed, and seemed to have a better box office. Film producers, please take notice. Serious comic book readers want serious film adaptions, not some campy take played for laughs. So my hero wears a leotard. He can kick your butt into next week.

Batman (1989)
Budget: $35 million
Gross: $411 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Batman Returns (1992)
Budget: $80 million
Gross: $267 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

Batman Forever (1995)
Budget: $100 million
Gross: $337 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 42%

Batman & Robin (1997)
Budget: $125 million
Gross: $238 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 12%

Batman Begins (2005)
Budget: $150 million
Gross: $373 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

The Dark Knight (2008)
Budget: $185 million
Gross: $1 billion (you heard me, a billion)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Budget: $250 million
Gross: $552 million (as of this writing: 3 weeks after opening)
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

Final Word
This is a good film but I'm sure you already knew that. I'm seeing it three weeks after its release so my two cents is coming in late in the game but maybe I can convince the comic lover in you to take advantage of it still be on the big screen. Oh, and speaking of the big screen, I saw it in IMAX and why not do the same if you have the choice? Nolan did not film in 3D as he is another person who thinks 3D is just a gimmick and I would point out that I didn't miss it at all. A good film doesn't need a gimmick.

In case you haven't guessed, I am recommending this film. Of course if you're a diehard fan, you've already seen it so why are we talking? Ha! Christopher Nolan seems to be one film maker wunderkind who delivers with a certain consistency a quality cinematic product. He has hit the mark once again. If I look at this gentleman's filmography (Wikipedia), I note that the lowest score he has ever received on Rotten Tomatoes is 76%. That is an amazing record.


Rotten tomatoes: The Dark Knight Rises: 87%
The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan's franchise in spectacular fashion, even if it doesn't quite meet the high standard set by its predecessor.

Wikipedia: The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan and the story with David S. Goyer. Featuring the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the third and final installment in Nolan's Batman film trilogy, and is a sequel to Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). Christian Bale reprises the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, with a returning cast of Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane. The film introduces the character of Selina Kyle, played by Anne Hathaway, a cat burglar whose appearance in Gotham City sets in motion a chain of events that will lead Batman to come out of retirement, and Bane, played by Tom Hardy, the story's antagonist.

Rotten Tomatoes: The Dark Knight: 94%
Dark, complex and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.

Wikipedia: The Dark Knight (film)
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan. Story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer.

Rotten Tomatoes: Batman Begins: 85%
Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.

Wikipedia: Batman Begins
Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, directed by Christopher Nolan. Screenplay by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Story by David S. Goyer.


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