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Old July 23 2012, 04:55 PM   #347
The Stig
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Re: "The Dark Knight Rises" Review and Discussion Thread (spoilers)

Gen. Zod wrote: View Post
Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post

Now how did he find the batcave?
Bruce left him the GPS coordinates and the rappelling gear in the duffel bag.
Right. The big 'Robin' reveal occurs after Bruce's will is read and the various items are distributed to their beneficiaries. Blake asks if there's anything for him and the official says no, but when he asks again under his 'birth' name, she gives him the bag and states that he should go by his full name, 'Robin Blake.'

I really, really enjoyed the hell out of this movie. I thought that it finally gave Bale a chance to shine and Anne Hathaway was a revelation as Selina Kyle (Not Catwoman, as she is never named as such.) Tom Hardy was wasted, however. I've read reviews that rave about how expressive his eyes were, but I really didn't see anything in his physical performance that couldn't have been done by a bodybuilder in a mask. His voice-work was adequate but I didn't care for the accent or the odd effect of the mask on his voice. There were more than a few lines that I missed because of it. That being said, Bane was effective in portraying the pure physical threat to Batman and that first beat-down was brutal and stark. No music, somewhat muted sound and the sight of Batman on his heels from the very start all combined to make that scene riveting.

I think that this movie worked so well for me because it treated the cost of being Batman with the kind of weight and gravity it deserves. Bruce is physically, emotionally and intellectually scarred by his experiences and Bale acted the hell out of his performance. Nolan got me to care about Bruce Wayne in a way that I didn't think was possible and there were more than a few moments in this film (mostly courtesy of Michael Caine) where I had a tear in my eye. Hathaway was also scarily effective as the brittle con-woman and thief who longed to escape her own mistakes and is unable to break the pattern of her life. The addition of Blake to the story was welcome and JGL was believable as a potential successor to Batman. I would be very interested in a movie featuring him as the 'new' Dread Pirate Roberts...err, Batman.

The plot was silly as all get-out, but so was "The Dark Knight." People forget just how inconceivable the Joker's scheme was because Ledger was so commanding onscreen that all other elements fell away. In 'Rises,' Bale carries the movie and Hardy doesn't have the presence as a villain to obscure the outlandishness of his own plots. The Talia 'reveal' was obvious but I liked the twist regarding the identity of the child who escaped 'The Pit.' I also liked the way Bane went out, like a bitch. It was an effective counter to the standard mano-a-mano showdown we see so often in these movies.

So, all-in-all, this film was very much like the first film in terms of stakes, plot devices and a general level of silliness that 'The Dark Knight' avoided by playing things (mostly) straight. Where it rose above 'Begins' is the very human story of Bruce Wayne. It was a heartfelt and well-earned conclusion to a spectacular set of films that dared to treat the subject matter with the gravity and naturalistic tone it deserved. As a huge fan of the animated Batman series, 'my' Batman used to be Kevin Conroy, but Nolan managed to change that. Bale 'is' the definitive Batman to my mind and I doubt that his portrayal and Nolan's take will be topped by the inevitable reboot in order to try and capitalize on 'The Avengers.'

Final grade: Good. A set of superb human performances that do their level best to distract you from the silly plot. In the end, they succeed but there are some ropey moments along the way. When viewing all three movies as a complete tale of Nolan's 'Batman,' I'd have to rate them as Excellent. As I said, this has become 'my' Batman and will probably remain the definitive take on the character to my mind.
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