Friday, 28 December 2012

(Review) Holy Smoke Batman! It's The Dark Knight Rises DVD

Batman Logo
Image credit: | Flickr
"Dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, Batman!" 

I bet you were all singing along to that weren't you?  You don't have to pretend; of course you were.  And thinking of that old Batman joke I'm sure (why do you think I wrote the quote as I did?!).  

I used to watch Batman and Robin growing up.  What a camp, colourful delight of a TV show it was.  My favourite villain was always the Joker, although my sister being a little older than me admired Catwoman.

Tim Burton brought both of these arch-enemies to life in his first two Batman films as dark yet over-the-top caricatures.  I throughly enjoyed both films.  Then came Christopher Nolan, re-telling the Batman story in a way I didn't think possible.  Finally, we got to understand how Bruce Wayne came to be such an awesome fighter and owner of some very cool 'toys'.  He gave us a chilling and psychopathic Joker (much kudos to Heath Ledger for his performance) and now, in his latest (and supposedly last) Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, Catwoman joins the fray.

What did I think of it?

I don't want to spoil the story, especially if you got this for Christmas and are yet to sit down to watch it.  What I will say is that The Dark Knight Rises, like its two predecessors before it, retains a sense of (dark) reality.  Selina Kyle is not transformed into Catwoman by falling to her death and being resuscitated by cats (sorry to disappoint anyone hoping to see Anne Hathaway fall to an untimely death) and she's actually never referred to as Catwoman - she's merely a cat burglar, albeit it one with a tight-fitting leather jumpsuit.

Christian Bale appears again, giving us a dark, brooding, intense and conflicted Bruce Wayne who is battling an internal struggle with his own inner demons.  Bale's performance is, as always, authentic and gripping.

The plot has depth and, despite being a little drawn-out and indulgent in places, it definitely brings the story of Batman full circle.

However, after watching the film twice, there still remains some irritations.  Mainly, I came away wondering what the point of Catwoman was.  Why did I think this?  Because the film left too many unanswered questions about the nature of Catwoman and particularly her relationship with Bane.  We never see them speaking together on-screen yet she knows the precise location of his hideout like she's been there many times and she's appears able to walk freely amongst Bane's subordinates.  But, at the same time she's afraid of Bane; scared for her own life - why?  She has no idea of the plan he's concocting and doesn't seem to be aware of his background.

And, while she's obviously a strong, clever and independent-minded character (although I hesitate from calling her a role-model), her key plot moments were, in my opinion, few and far between.  The rest of her on-screen moments felt as if they were forced in to give the female lead more to do.

As for Bane, he sounds like such an English gent that it's hard to link the voice with the physical animality that you see in the film.  They sounded completely separate to me, like an actor had been brought in to record the lines of another who may have had the body for the part, but not the right voice.

And, I hate to say it, but I found the ending a little predictable.  I don't want to give it away but while this is supposed to be Bale's last Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises paves the way for this lucrative franchise to continue.

All in all...

Overall, the film left me with a feeling of disappointment and indifference.  That's not to say The Dark Knight Rises is a failure by any means, but I think it's a victim of its own hype.  It's a well-made film with a host of talented actors but, I found it overly long and the story didn't grip me consistently throughout the whole 160 minutes, not like its two predecessors.  It's certainly not a bad addition to the Nolan stable of Batman films by any means, just not my film of the year.

Please note: I was sent this product for free in return for writing this review.  All opinions are my own and are 100% honest.

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