Friday, 20 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review.

So, it ends. Just caught the movie premier moments ago at sigh...USJ Summit. The crowds are packed. So how is it? Again, Esther doesn't wanna go, so it's all lonesome cowboy watch for me. But at least we went to watch the new Spider Man in 3D last week, which is a mistake, coz I can't see the effect at all. Also I prefer the Tobey Maguire version. That's Peter Parker. This new one is superhero version of "Twilight" for the Z Generation i.e. emo, brooding etc. 
Now back to The Dark Knight Rises. It is good, not great (that honour still belongs to 2008 The Dark Knight) but good enuff. At more than two hours, the plots and storyline tend to get overstretched at times, particularly in the middle. But at least it is not The Thing nor Prometheus. Whew!
And yes, everything unravel in this movie - from Wayne Enterprise dire financial exhaustion, Bruce becoming a bankruptcy, sufferring from depression, physical ailments, Gotham City gets obliterated and cut off from the rest of America, people uprising against the one percentiles rich and famous, financial and socio-economic collapse to Alfred relationship with Bruce breaking after the former reveals the letter of which Rachel Dawes wrote about how she chose to be with Harvey instead of Bruce of which Al lied to Bruce to in order to discourage Bruce from taking up the vigilante mantle again as Al worries about Bruce's safety, the guilty conscious which weight heavily on Jim Gordon about the truth regarding the circumstances of Harvey Dent's death. The Joker would have been proud.
Tom Hardy's Bane is as who he is, envisioned by director Christopher Nolan as a terrorist with brawn and brain in this celluloid incarnation as oppose to the dump truck version in Joel Shumacher 1987 Batman and Robin. After seeing Tom Hardy physique in Warrior, he still looks bulky, but not as muscular and perhaps even a bit fat-ish? And I reckoned they fine tuned his much criticised, supposedly hardly audible voice, as I could still make out 90% of what he said. I could have sworn it  is Sean Connery that does the voice over cos it sounds like him with British accented voice and the Darth Vader effect thrown in the mix. It is just that the Hannibal Lector/lobster underbelly like mask is kinda distracting. But we get a glimpse of Hardy's pre-mutilated face, just like the late Heath Ledger's the Joker's un-painted face in split seconds. And the hand to hand fight scene with the ageing, ailing, 8 years in exile walking with tongkat Christian Bale's the Batman is a brutal and no-holds barred battle. Through a device straps on his leg, Bruce returns as the Dark Knight to take on Bane.  And yes, Bane gets to break the Batman's spine and have him sent into a Middle Eastern non-descript underground ancient prison where no one escape...except for one, said to be Bane himself. And that is related to the twist revealed in the finale of the movie. The opening sequence of Bane's escape is breathtaking, and the director's penchant for wholesale destruction of cities visual in realistic manner like in Inception is unleashed here. The Bane here is a merciless individual with leadership qualitiy, a demagogue like all villians, except that he knows what he is doing exactly and with plans. He told Bruce that he would kill him after Bruce witness Bane destroys Gotham. He is not some crazy ass villians like the Scarecrow, Two Face nor the Joker although the latter still posseses the most "character" amongst them. 
The Batman is still the same old brooding self, and perhaps drawing a little bit of inspiration from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, forced to come out of his self imposed exile (after the death of Harvey Dent) to stop Bane and his boys from destroying Gotham. Abit aged (we never know what year the three movies are set in), Christian Bale carries on the same character as seen before. No new set of costume, same as the one from the previous sequel, the Thumbler is really gone but replaced by a flying turtle or bug known as the Bat.
The usual supporting casts all makes a return - Michael Caine's Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman's Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox and glimpse from the past i.e. the first and second movies - Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent, Maggie Gyllenhaal's Rachel Dawes, Liam Neeson's Ra's al Ghul, Bruce's dad, and of course, a still living Cillian Murphy's Dr. Jonathan Crane whom after Bane and his army released the violent prisoners from the Blackgate Prison and "contained" Gotham City through a series of intricately planned terrorist plot, double up as the judge of a kangaroo court (which curiously reminds me of what I had read about the Third Reich's People Court presided by the notorious Roland Freisler). New characters introduced include Joseph Gordon-Lewitt as Detective Robin John Blake (whom I still though looks abit like the late Heath Ledger and was telling Esther that he could be a cameo for the Joker waaay back when this second sequel was announced). Just take note of his first name. Another is Marian Cotillard as Miranda Tate and get this, Talia al Ghul. Ok. That's the twist. She is the mastermind behind it all, to avenge his late father's death and to complete his vision to destroy Gotham through an atomic bomb. This movie reveals more about the history of the al Ghuls - Henri Ducard or Ra's al Ghul was a mercenary working for a warlord when he fell in love with the latter's daugther, gets punished and imprisoned in the underground lair, but the daugther took his place in return for his freedom, pregnant with his child and born within. Her mom died in the hands of the deranged prisoners, Bane saves Talia, got mutilated badly in the lower face while holding off tens of prisoners and she remained the only one whom managed to escape from the hell hole. Later, Ra's return and took Bane in as apprentice of the League of Shadow, but saw the monster that he was, kinda chickened out and banished him from the membership. No refund. Too bad cos, his daugther is now in love with the human monster. So the legend about the only one whom escaped is not Bane but Talia.
Now, like I said, Brucie's back is broken right? But through the advise of an imprisoned doctor (whom initially spoke in foreign language then suddenly revert to English), he manages to heal and becomes the second person to escape the prison after numerous, painful attempts.
The second and final battle with Bane is kinda disappointing. I am expecting much more stretch out fight. But no such luck. And Bane's demise is pretty quick. He got literally blown and thrown a distance away after receiving a direct shot from the Batpod's gun, driven by the ever beautiful Anna, opps, I mean Anne Hathaway's Catwoman (though she is not referred as such in the movie at all, only Selina Kyle) after Talia stabbed the Batman, nearly choked him to death, and about to be shot by Bane. Hathaway's is such a candy eye in the entire movie, but her character is a balanced one, not like any Catwoman I used to know. Sassy and sexy with a strong feminist femme fatale appeal thrown in at the same time with stilletos that literally kills. No overtly sexpot character. No meow, meow this time 'round.
Talia got what coming to her after an extended chasing scene involving the Badpod, the Bat and several "rogue" Tumblers, crashing the truck driven by her  which carries the about to detonate atomic bomb. Her final departing words are chilling though, which shows how obsession of vengence can drive an individual into the abyss of absolute zero emphathy. 
With no choice, the Batman hooks up the bomb with the Bat, the black, turtle (or beetle?) like helicopter/jet plane hybrid and it detonates far away from Gotham. No more Tumbler this time around but plenty of others camo version which are used by Bane's army, armed with heat seekers and cannons. We get to see Bruce tomb alongside his parents, with eulogy delivers by Jim (whom finally know Bruce is Batman after indirectly hints to him before taking the bomb away) and a grieving Alfred. But Bruce is alive. It seems he has now finally exorcised his inner anguish and need for vengeance. And what's more, there's Selina Kyle by his side. What a lucky guy. Alfred, whom is heartbroken and crying for every scene he appears in, sees Bruce in a cafe in Italy (Al had earlier shared with Bruce of how during Bruce's absence, he had a habit of taking sabbatical at a cafe in Italy and imagine seeing Bruce with an established family of his own, leading a normal life) and both gives a nod to each other with Al smiling, for the only time in the movie. And finally, the symbol of justice, now vacated, is filled in by none other know who. Overall, it is a satisfying conclusion to the Nolan-verse Batman trilogy, even though there are scenes which I deemed not so important to the entire storyline. And I still miss the Joker... 

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