Andrew: Hello readers! Sorry we've been a little quiet since my review of The Dark Knight Rises on Friday, but it's still crazy busy at the day job and Sarah just got back from her trip late Monday. But fear not! We hit up the local multiplex last night to get Sarah caught up on TDKR and we're ready to get down and dirty with discussing some finer points of the movie and Nolan's whole Dark Knight Trilogy in general! (MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN TDKR YET!!!!)
SERIOUSLY. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN TDKR, STOP READING THIS NOW.
Ok Sarah, the first thing I want to get your take on, because it's probably the most talked about aspect of the film, is the ending. It looks like Bruce Wayne has sacrificed himself by flying the nuclear reactor over Gotham Bay in The Bat and is blown to smithereens. His estate is given to the city to be used as an orphanage, Alfred gets the money from his belongings after crying his eyes out at Bruce's funeral, and the city has erected a statue in Batman's honor. But then Lucius Fox discovers that Bruce fixed the autopilot on The Bat, Commissioner Gordon finds the Bat Signal replaced with a new one, Alfred - in a call-back to an earlier scene - sees Bruce alive and well with Selina Kyle at an Italian cafe, and John Blake follows some coordinates Bruce left him and discovers the Bat Cave, implying he'll take up the mantle as the new Batman.
What did YOU think of that ending???
Sarah: Let me start off by saying that this was an amazing movie. But to answer your question the ending was phenomenal! I thought the way they wrapped it up was a little quick for my liking. I found myself going, "But wait, I want more of THAT!!" I loved how this movie felt a little different from the last two but still fit in well in the trilogy. The introduction of new characters was well done and they were perfectly cast.
Here's the thing. The Dark Knight Rises ends and lends itself to be the right set-up for another one! But Nolan has repeatedly said that he didn't want to do another one. What's up with that?!
A: Well see, I think that's one of the more intriguing discussion points. Yes, Nolan has repeatedly said this was his last Batman film. Christian Bale is definitely not coming back, but I think they have set it up perfectly to segue into a future Batman film with John Blake taking up the mask and having Nolan have a hand in a producer role (like he's doing for Zack Snyder's Man of Steel).
I'd be totally for Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the lead role, but I'm not sure if they'll go that route. I really hope they do, but it’s doubtful.
S: I really hope they do. He looks enough like Bale that he will be a good replacement. And I think that they could add Catwoman back into the picture without having to bring Wayne back. Or if they do it will only be in reference. I don’t know, I guess we will just have to wait and see.
A: Next question: what did you think of Tom Hardy as Bane?
S: Bane was a great villain for this movie and Tom Hardy kicked ass! He carries a lot of power in his eyes so the mask didn't take away from his acting at all! I actually liked his acting better than Bale's. I thought he was more real and while we've been impressed by Batman's butt-kicking abilities in the past movies, he seems like an old man next to Bane! That said, he’s not just muscle. He’s smart, too.
A: Totally agree on Hardy's Bane. I loved what he did with his eyes and physical acting, body movements and his voice. I loved how he exuded confidence in his plans by how he walked and talked. Holding his thumbs in his coat is a pimp move. Ok, so then the voice - it didn't bug me one bit. Did it bother you?
S: Not at all. Now I do think that Nolan went back and tweaked some sound so that it was clearer. It was still impressive. I imagine that his diction had to have been immaculate in order for it to have come across so well.
A: With Bane being such a physical presence and being probably the only villain in the series that Batman couldn’t stand up to in hand-to-hand combat, and with a scheme that seemed to be pretty well thought out and executed, did you find that the twist on his character at the end lessened the impact of everything Bane had done up to that point?
S: Actually, yeah, I’d say it lessened his impact for sure. To find out that he wasn’t much more than just a henchman for Talia al Ghul’s grand plan all along. I guess I knew that it was coming but it still was disappointing in the end; I kind of wish that they had separated those two characters. And to me it didn’t come across as they loved each other so much as he was just continuing to protect her as he did when she was a child.
A: I got the feeling that they DID love each other, but almost in one of those situations where Bane ended up being in the friend-zone. That didn’t lessen his impact to me because he’s still incredibly smart, incredibly strong, and when the reveal occurs you can see the pain and love he has for Talia in his eyes. Hardy totally did him justice when all was said and done.
S: But she DOESN’T reciprocate his love, she is more a lot like her father. They’re these people whose followers yearn for their affection, but she had no real love for him because she was so focused on her plan.
A: You don’t thinks she had even a bit of love because of what he did for her and continued to do for her?
S: I think the only love she showed was gratitude. She thought of him as nothing more than just a friend. She didn’t say, “Goodbye my love.” She said, “Goodbye my friend.”
A: Good point. So speaking of Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul, I saw it coming that she was Talia because of internet rumors that seemed to make complete sense, but I let my guard down in thinking she wasn’t going to be bad. It wasn’t until the scene where Gordon’s trying to find the bomb and the truck she said it was in was empty. What were your thoughts on her being the real villain in the whole thing?
S: I don’t know. I have a bit of a problem with her being the real villain. If you think about it there’s not much originality with her being the villain and how similar she is to her father from the first one.
Like with the TDK, you knew where you stood. Yes there were the mob guys but The Joker was always the instigator of chaos and we knew Harvey Dent would become Two-Face. Whereas in this one I WANTED Bane to be the main villain, but he ended up not being it. I didn’t necessarily need or want them to throw back to the first one.
I know why Nolan did it but I’m not a huge fan of the fact that they seemed to completely omit TDK and instead went back to Batman Begins.
A: Well that’s not necessarily true, because right from the start of the movie…
S: The only reference to TDK that they make is the Dent Act. And I get that. I understand why they did it but then again, Harvey Dent was another very minor villain in the last movie.
A: See I disagree you to an extent there because we knew all along in TDK that Dent would eventually become Two-Face. It was how he got to that point that was the point of the movie. Like with his line, “You either die the hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” While Heath Ledger’s Joker was the id of the movie, the film was really about Dent’s descent into becoming Two-Face and how that ruined Bruce’s chance to get out of being Batman.
S: Maybe I’m being overly critical. I just think the more I’ve thought about it the more I think I start to nitpick.
A: And to your point about going back to Batman Begins instead, I think that was part of the brilliance of this film in that it came full circle. It all started with Ra’s al Ghul basically imparting on Bruce that being a SYMBOL is stronger than anything else. And I was okay with them bringing him back in a sense with Bane and Talia trying to finish his work because again it brought it full circle. But particularly I liked they went back to the whole idea of Batman being a symbol, and Bruce finally being able to pass on the job of being Batman to someone else.
S: I would agree with that. I will continue to say though that the ending of this film was by far the best end to a movie that I’ve seen in a long time. I felt the end was just as climatic as the “climax” of the movie. It left you with a good feeling.
Now, a lot of people have said that they don’t feel having a happy ending is necessary but I was okay with it. I liked leaving the theatre feeling excited about what’s to come. They left TDK with an ominous feeling and there didn’t seem like a lot of hope. That wasn’t the case here.
A: So you didn’t feel cheated at all that Bruce pulled a fast one on everybody. And that Nolan, in saying that this was absolutely the final chapter, didn’t REALLY kill Bruce Wayne off?
S: No, I don’t have a problem with that. Because in a way they did kill Wayne off. I liked it because Nolan has said that this is it. So even though it’s his last one, I found the ending to be satisfying and entertaining at the same time.
A: Let’s change gears to Anne Hathaway and her portrayal of Catwoman.
S: I don’t have a lot to say about her. I see it like this: there have been a lot of actors that have played Batman, there have been a lot of actors playing different villains and different actresses to play Catwoman…and her character is a little crazy, a little nuts. She’s a little evil. I didn’t get that from Anne’s portrayal.
I think they did a great job of portraying her to be a little nasty and evil in the trailer, but I didn’t get that in the film. There were moments where it started to come through but I felt she was meant to be more of the sexy mysterious woman.
I like Anne Hathaway and she’s a great actress so I don’t fault her for the way her Catwoman came across. I think it was the way her part was written. And maybe it wasn’t strongly written because they plan on going into her story more in a spin-off. I don’t know.
A: Interesting take on it, because I personally felt like she embodied what I expected from the character perfectly.
S: So you weren’t expecting a ton from the character?
A: What I was expecting from Selina Kyle/Catwoman in this film was for her to be a cat burglar like she is throughout the comics and for her to sometimes partner with Batman but also straddle that line of “Is she good? Is she bad?” And she definitely pulled that off in this film. I loved the scenes where she and Batman are fighting together, but then I totally felt that her quips, her quick thinking and her turning on him and feeling bad about later was totally in line with what I was expecting. She’s conflicted.
S: She’s always conflicted.
A: Exactly. And so I feel like of ALL the film portrayals of Catwoman, Hathaway’s was the best.
S: Ok. Agree to disagree. Because I also don’t feel there was enough of her in the film for me to say she was wrong for the role.
A: Fair enough. As we get closer to wrapping this up, a couple of the last points I wanted to touch on include the fact that a lot of the criticisms of TDKR so far have been from people pointing out plot holes. Like why is there a countdown clock on what was only supposed to be a fusion reactor? Or how did Bruce get back to Gotham so fast?
S: Good point. No one really knows where he was, did they?
A: These things don’t necessarily detract from the movie at all, for me personally, but what about you?
S: They didn’t at the time, but now I’m having the glass-shattering effect. It didn’t detract from the movie because for most movies like this there has to be a suspension of disbelief. Those were things that are maybe more unbelievable but at the same time you just expect it, especially from a superhero movie.
A: Exactly. Like another example that’s ridiculous but I felt like it enhanced my enjoyment of the movie was Batman’s return to Gotham when he finds Gordon out on the ice and tells him to light the flare and it starts up the fire Bat Signal. Like, why did he take the time to pour all that petroleum on the bridge in the perfect formation just to make a cool sign? It’s ridiculous but it’s comic book movie so it fit well. (And yes, I know that Nolan’s movies are supposed to be more grounded in reality, but c’mon – they’re still about a billionaire who dresses up like a bat to fight crime.)
S: Yeah, I thought it was awesome, too. It’s cheesy but it’s totally Batman. If you really think about Nolan’s other movies, like Inception and The Prestige, there’s some extreme suspension of disbelief for those, too. It’s all for pure entertainment.
Overall TDKR is what it is. I enjoyed the heck out of it. It may not get the Oscar love the TDK was getting, but we’ll definitely see it again. We’re going to see it on IMAX tomorrow to get the full effect of Nolan and Wally Pfister shooting it in IMAX, and this is absolutely a movie we’ll own the day it comes out.
A: Ok, so then when all is said and done, what would YOU give TDKR out of five clapboards?
S: I would give it:
|(Out of Five clapboards)|