“IT’S THE BATMAN!” MOVIE REVIEW (CHRISTIAN BALE EDITION): The final film in this marathon is “The Dark Knight Rises,” which stars Christian Bale (American Psycho, The Big Short), Gary Oldman (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Interstellar), Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Walk ,  Days of Summer), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Now You See Me), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, Rust and Bone), Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Transporter 2), Michael Caine (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Austin Powers in Goldmember), Ben Mendelsohn (Exodus: Gods and Kings, Killing Them Softly), Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim, Layer Cake), and Nestor Carbonell (Lost [TV series], Bates Motel [TV series]). It is directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception) who also co-wrote it with Jonathan Nolan (The Prestige, Interstellar) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Jumper). It has been eight years since Batman (Bale) or Bruce Wayne have been seen, eight years since the events of “The Dark Knight.” Gotham is relatively peaceful as the crime level has dropped. But evil never takes a vacation. When a ruthless mercenary by the name of Bane (Hardy) comes in to bring Gotham to a crumble, Bruce Wayne must dawn the mask and cape one last time in order to stop him.
As you all may know, by reading the notice of this marathon, I took a long hiatus from my review of “The Dark Knight” to this one. Although they only seem a day apart, it actually took six months for me to see “The Dark Knight Rises.” I was clambering to watch it too, as I thoroughly enjoyed “The Dark Knight” and was ready to proceed to the final film. And after all this wait, all I can say is that I was disappointed. Why is that? Well let me explain. This movie had some serious weight on its shoulders. As I have looked into certain articles on this release, the writers had trouble formulating a new story. I mean, “The Dark Knight” pretty much stated every theme and infused every great element possible to make it one of the best comic book films. It is incredibly hard to top. Compared to that movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” is a chump, and that mainly is because of the plot. Time has passed since we last saw the Dark Knight, eight years to be exact (in the story at least). He of course has to come out of hiding to stop a dangerous foe, someone who is the end-all of villains. Who do they choose? Bane. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Bane, at least the comic book character. He has a lot of potential and is just a cool baddy. Could he be the main villain though? No. If I had to choose a final boss for Batman to beat, I would have chosen Penguin, with either Deathstroke or Killer Croc to be a side guy (like the Joker/Two-Face mash-up). I wouldn’t have chosen Bane, and this movie proves my point. Bane is the kind of villain who we call a henchman. He isn’t main-character material. Sure he offers some great fight scenes, but that’s all he is good for. This picture tried to make it work for the guy, but in the end it couldn’t. What made matters worse was that hilariously bad voice. I don’t know why Christopher Nolan signed off on it, but Bane’s voice was pretty bad. At some points I could take it, others were just too much. It made the character feel less evil, as I couldn’t take a guy seriously if they had that voice. The ending did nothing to help the character either, on a side note, as Bane only looked even more little as a menacing foe. But enough about Bane, let’s get to the more pressing matters of this film. This story had quite a bit of flaws scattered throughout. My general concern for it is how there are several loose ends. A lot of times it seems like the writers did not know how to explain certain things, so they basically just put it in without reasoning. One great example is how Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character comes to see Bruce Wayne and tells him that he knows he is Batman. His explanation? “I could see it in the look on your face.” Those aren’t his exact words, but it was something like that. Things like that are a serious problem as it doesn’t formulate a concrete story and it leaves me feeling detached from these characters. Another problem with this release is the dialogue. Yes, most of it is good, but there are times where it feels like all they say is stuff you would see in a motivational calendar. The big topic would be how the Batman isn’t showing up or Bruce Wayne should stay away from the suit and cape, and they talk about it as if they want you to strip quotes. It works sometimes, but other times it’s a bit too preachy. If you don’t get what I’m saying, take the quote that I put up for “The Dark Knight.” It’s a great quote, but picture something like that being injected into several scenes. No one talks like they are trying to give a speech all the time. I feel that this happens because the film is supposed to be the end. The whole time the writers are foreshadowing the very end and how it might work out. I don’t blame them, because we all want to see how it will go down for Batman. Their execution of getting to that ending was at times flat though. Now, don’t get me wrong, I thought this movie was good. That may shock you because of how I have been trashing on it, but I thought it was pretty good. So let me tell you my pros. The acting in this was once again great, for the most part. Christian Bale did a fantastic job as Bruce Wayne, and his Batman was pretty good as well. I haven’t really discussed how I feel about him portraying the Dark Knight. He does a good job, except at times other characters outweigh him. Sometimes I feel that a little more grit and a little less raspy voice will help him. But I have to admit, the voice is growing on me. Gary Oldman is great in this, like always, and Morgan Freeman…well, he’s Morgan Freeman. You can’t go wrong with that guy. Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth was my favorite character of the flick. He stole the show several times, and his discussions with Bruce made my eyes watery at times. Sure, he used those motivational-calendar speeches I talked about earlier, but his points made sense (you’ll understand when you watch it). Even though I have seen two Alfreds from two Batman franchises, I will have to say that Michael Caine is the best out of all of them. I don’t think anyone in the past or future will top him. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a good job in this. His role had a weird fit into the story and I could clearly predict what he would become, but I loved watching him perform. I just like the actor. Now we get to Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Catwoman as a character has never really interested me. I never termed her as a hero and at times she would be rather annoying (not in this movie, but in other forms). Most of the time, Hathaway just felt like typical Anne Hathaway. I never really saw her as a villainous thief. There were times where she would redeem herself, however, and by the end her performance was solid. The special effects in this were phenomenal and along with the realistic sense of this picture, the visuals looked real. Batman’s many vehicles were awesome to see in action, and the fight scenes that came about in this were very cool, especially when the huge group of cops fought all of these thugs, keeping Batman and Bane in the center of it to fight themselves. The directing in this is top-notch, with Christopher Nolan providing a visually stunning experience. Something about his movies really captures my attention. I can look at one of his films and say “that is a Nolan movie.” He has a way to bring life and realism into every shot. I loved the IMAX scenes in this, as there were plenty more of them compared to “The Dark Knight.” I would have liked it even more if every shot was in IMAX so it wouldn’t jump back and forth to regular widescreen. IMAX is just too good to share with another camera. I thought that this movie had a pretty good ending. All that came before it was rough in execution, but the ending was nice. It leaves the door open for another character, but in terms of Batman, it was a good finale for him. Overall, this film was good, but disappointing. It felt fastly thrown together at times in order to get to the conclusion, but I was still entertained because there are quite a bit of scenes that I found awesome, some containing Bruce Wayne in the pit. It is not the best film out of the bunch, but it served up some fun. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: