July 27, 2012

My take on Nolan’s last Batman is up.

This is a meditation on the fruits of violence and woe. A brooding, epic conclusion to the tale of an orphan who wanted to lash back at the bad guys and discovered that, while vengeance can be eaten cold day in and day out, a warm meal is by far more nourishing.

REVIEW | An epic, brooding conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy

By Karl R. De Mesa, · Friday, July 27, 2012 · 10:46 am

I was going to title this one “Why You Should Give Chris Nolan Your Money For the Last Batman,” but I dumped it for its obvious uncatchiness and the chance that, like the Wachowski brothers’ “Animatrix”, they might just decide to do a spin-off less horrible than Halle Berry’s “Catwoman”.

There’s the additional fact that, after the very real backlash of the Colorado theater shootings, the studio just might want to make a grab for the box office lead again sans the attendant cosplayers—or at least check under trench coats for guns. Such a vile, awful event should never mar a cinematic opening, or be an excuse for psychopaths looking to inflict damage on the moviegoing public, no matter how good ledger’s Joker was.

Just to be clear though, Christian Bale is Batman here for the last time. Director Christopher Nolan, you see, has vowed only to ever direct three Batman movies. While Bale has very publicly supported the man’s statement and said he’d never do a Batman film if Nolan wasn’t directing the darn thing.

So, the arc that started with 2005’s “Batman Begins”, continued in 2008’s “The Dark Knight” is now over. That’s it. The end of it all.

We open “The Dark Knight Rises” with a Gotham enjoying the lowest crime rate it’s had in years since The Joker’s killing spree. Batman has been in absentia for eight years. To the ordinary citizen he is remembered for his downward spiral, the hero turned fugitive, the vigilante who killed their District Attorney Harvey Dent–whose death took Gotham’s white knight and political hope in one swoop.

The plan for the greater good that Batman and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) contrived together has worked, with organized crime and general illegality crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s beat cop John Blake, tells Gordon, “Soon we’ll be chasing overdue books,” and he isn’t far off the mark.

Bruce Wayne, his injured leg making him hobble with a cane, has holed up inside his mansion, preferring to grieve for his lost love Rachel Dawes. He is a recluse from his own Batcave and the company that still bears his name, preferring to let the Board of Regents and their headstrong chair Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) manage as she sees fit, despite repeated request for an audience with the last surviving Wayne.

Everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), who infiltrates Wayne Manor as one of the kitchen help. She piques Bruce’s attention by stealing his mother’s necklace. We learn later that Catwoman has a far more mysterious agenda, but she’s small fry compared to the emergence of Bane (Tom Hardy).

You’ve probably seen the previous “TDKR” teasers where a masked man, physically imposing with muscle mass upon muscle mass to make him into a genuine action figure, blows up an airplane to siphon the blood off one of the passengers. That is Bane’s grand entrance. He is a terrorist who was once the student of Batman’s teacher, Ra’s Al Ghul, a rogue from the League of Shadows now doing it for himself. His next target? Gotham.

His acts of extreme terror drive Bruce out of self-imposed exile and back into the suit. Problem is, with the ideological fervor, army of fanatics, and trained militancy that Bane brings to the table, it doesn’t seem that one vigilante, no matter how rich or well-armed, will be a match for the coming storm.

Shot in 70-millimeter film, Nolan and his crew eschewed the 3D trend and instead went for the spectacle of large-format IMAX. After all, this last installment is made of truly epic stuff: it questions the genre tropes and conventions that make a superhero movie and hold them up against global realities, and explores the culture, motives and methods that nurture terrorism.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


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