MOVIE REVIEW # 44: The Dark Knight Rises
The Batman Rises To His Full Superhero Status
By Lorenzo Marchessi
Publicly claiming this is his last of the franchise films he is directing, Christopher Nolan (Inception, Momento) does an amazing job of making two hours and forty-four minutes go so seamlessly. The depth of the story and characters and various ‘issues’ everyone has seem to complement each other. Yes there is action and yes there is a new Bat vehicle, but the screenplay by Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest, The Prestige) takes control of your mind and heart throughout the film.
Now for the outstanding performances; I always knew Gary Oldman (The Fifth Element, The Professional) was an amazing talent – but he shines in this film. His character of Commissioner Gordon has never been so full of angst and personal retribution on screen that Garry makes an amazing tour-de-force performance that makes you believe – in The Batman. Gary commands the cast with certain authority always frightful of the events about to unfold before the destruction of his city!
There isn’t very much that hasn’t already been said about Michael Caine (Secondhand Lions, Children of Men) – with his hundreds of screen credits and amazing awards and performances – but his interpretation of Alfred the long-time butler of Millionaire Bruce Wayne in this film is emotionally charged, passionately real and almost heartbreakingly flawed. Caine and Bale explode with subtleties of emotion and Caine’s fatherly advice often goes unchecked.
So too was the impressive performance of Ann Hathaway (Alice In Wonderland, Get Smart) as a little grey area of being a cat burglar and by the end of the film – turning out to be maybe someone else – not Catwoman – maybe. Her chemistry with Christian Bale (Terminator Salvation, The Prestige) as Bruce Wayne and Batman was electric, fun and always surprising. Who knew she could be a real action hero with excellent acting chops to boot?
The story centers around the Batman being out of commission and then through the terror that is Bain played intensely by Tom Hardy (This Means War, Star Trek: Nemesis) – is forced out of retirement again to help Gothem City. Unfortunately he is beaten down again and learns through a cameo appearance of Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Taken) that he is more than who he really is. Pretty much the rest of the film is building up Bruce Wayne to be Batman and along the way picking ups some incredible ‘sidekicks’ who support him – even though the city doesn’t quite trust The Batman – yet.
One of those sidekicks is a police office, played magnetically by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock From The Sun, Inception)…as the only real supporter of Bruce and The Batman….it’s the two of them that finally convince him that Bains nuclear threat to Gothem City can be beaten.
Some other character notables include Mathew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Memphis Belle) as the chicken-hearted Police Chief of Gothem and Marion Cottillard (Big Fish, Inception) as the surprise twist in character for the entire film. She had me fooled!
I can not forget to mention the every sharp, alert and witty performance of Mr. Fox – the gadget man for Bruce Wayne – who was ever so perfectly personified by Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy, Invictus). He and Bale are amazing together.
With Hans Zimmer (Lion King, Inception) pounding score and some of the coolest visual effects including the new Batwing vehicle. The movie felt real and gritty and extremely dark. All questions are answered and by the end – it really makes you think….I know where it’s going now!
A great family fun film for the summer – The Batman is Back! It maybe a little long-winded for the kids, – definitely adult themed – but it has the heart and passion of what might really be behind the heart of a superhero and how he fights for truth!
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