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Off the Cuff: The Dark Knight Rises

So Batman. The Dark Knight Rises is probably one of the most anticipated movies this year for many people. This is due to the fascinating performance of Heath Ledger as The Joker and the bombastic thrill ride that was The Dark Knight.  In this film Batman is back and he’s got an all new baddy, Bane;  the brilliant merc who is as vicious as he is intelligent.  Bane is quite possibly my favorite Batman villain as he is the most destructive, intimidating, and well thought out villains in Batman’s history.  So let’s get to it, three likes and three dislikes of the great finally that will certainly put Christopher Nolan in the pantheon of great directors.

Likes

1. Bane- Tom Hardy is fantastic as the brutish mercenary who provides Batman with his hardest challenge to date. A lot of critics complained about being able to hear Bane due to his mask but I had no problem hearing each one of his creepy and incredible lines.  Sure, Bane isn’t as charismatic as The Joker but that isn’t Hardy’s or Nolan’s fault to be sure.  The Joker is written in comics to be eccentric and ridiculous while Bane is cold, calculating, and as unhinged as Batman is restricted.  Hardy portrays Bane just like any fan of Knightfall would dream of.  Bane comes across as a villain who gives no second thought to destroying the world because he truly believes in what he is doing.  That’s the scariest type of villain there is; not one who is doing it all for fun, but one who is delusional enough to think he is completely in the right.  Bane calls himself a “necessary evil” at one point, as if he knows he is the antitheses of the caped crusader but has no choice in the matter.

2. The action- Nolan has a talent for making the fighting scenes in his films feel as well thought out and choreographed as a world class ballet.  The fights flow and the action smoothly runs from punch to punch and explosion to explosion. Even when there are dozens of people on screen along with tanks and helicopters the movie is still able to be seen as a coherent flow of beautiful violence. While some movies are nauseating in there action, I’m looking at you Transformers, TDKR is incredible and easy to follow.

3. The pacing- The Dark Knight Rises takes place eight years after the second film and the movie itself spans about five months.  Nolan does a great job of making the film feel like it is spanning the months that pass within the movie.  When we first meet Wayne he is battered and depressed from the last film and looks as destroyed as Gotham was in the last film.  As the movie goes on the time that passes in the movie feels real which is a rarity for me.  Normally I feel like a movie just passes time along like it means nothing but TDKR passes the time along and makes you feel like it is taking forever.  I mean that in a good way though, as months pass in the agonizing scenes of the films build up you feel the pain of the characters during their plight.

(Also, Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt are amazing in their respective roles)

Dislikes

1. Bane’s voice- While I didn’t have a problem hearing Bane I did have a problem listening to his weird voice in the film.  It’s like watching people get beaten to death by a polite Albert Einstein who is breaking your neck while smiling.  To be honest I don’t know what I was expecting, I didn’t want the thug Bane who sounds like a meat-head nor the silent type Bane who is only physically intimidating but the strange quasi-German accent that Bane has, along with his mask, make him sound a bit odd.  It’s not a deal breaker just a nitpick.

2. Strange dialogue choices- This comes up in a lot of comic-book movies but there is some weird dialogue that either unrealistically explains things in the movies or oddly characterizes people in a summary-like manner.  It’s weird enough when dialogue pulls you out of the experience but when it makes it seem like the movie is explaining things to you blatantly it just feels awkward. (This doesn’t happen too often, luckily.)

3. Happiness- This is a Batman movie damn it, happiness is not to be had! Well, a little happiness is ok I suppose, but not in the way that the film does it. It’s hard to explain without giving anything away so I’ll just say that there is a certain string of events at some point in the movie that make it all too feelgood for a Batman film.

Overall The Dark Knight Rises is absolutely incredible. Bane made the movie for me and made me fall in love with the universe Nolan has created all over again.  The duality between Bane and Batman is portrayed so well in the film and watching the two become so similar only to split in one small way is the subtlety that makes the Batman character so dynamic and special. Go see the damn movie.

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