Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises
Review by The Crimson Cougar
The amazing film and performance that was The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger respectively left it quite difficult to put out a more superior film. I’ve heard The Dark Knight referred as “Godfather II for comic movies” which is a statement I could agree with. However, spoiler alert- Godfather III didn’t really come close to its predecessor.
Right off the bat in The Dark Knight Rises, we are introduced to/and are witness to just who Bane is and what he is capable of. To be honest, I really felt the distinct separation of the two main villains right away. Heath Ledger’s joker was a chaotic man who got off on bringing darkness out of anybody and hopefully (in his case) everybody he tried to get involved in his game. The Joker was a loud, chaotic firecracker. Within the first 10 minutes, we experience just what and who Bane is: Menacing. “Oh, the Joker is going to load two boats with people and give them the choice to kill each other? – Well, I’m just going to shred this airplane like a can of Lysol and eliminate everybody inside… myself.”
The movie is dripping with undertones of the political state of things in this country, which I will leave alone. Well, it may be overt actually.
The movie then carries out with the biggest and best fight scene we’ve seen our caped crusader involved in, followed by the biggest set of circumstances to overcome. Christopher Nolan has done an amazing job making his movies seem less “mainstream” – in film school they teach you about color and how it plays into storytelling, etc. Nolan doesn’t use those “kindergarten” storytelling tricks like everyone else. If somebody is angry in a scene in a Nolan film, they don’t have to be wearing red. If the characters are in a dream world, the image doesn’t get toyed with at all. Christopher Nolan has his own way. The Dark Knight Rises fits into all that, but somehow feels a bit blended with “mainstream” moviemaking. It’s almost as if Nolan had 80% of what he wanted to do, then phoned in the other 20% with Hollywood cliche type action movie stuff. Which isn’t bad, it just felt a bit “other movies.” Nolan is the smart man’s filmmaker, and he kinda lowered the output and story of the movie for all the people who were like “Wait, I don’t understand, wah!” for ‘Inception.’
The movie will have one question constantly asked of it: What about the bad guy? Did he do better than Heath Ledger?
Ledger’s Joker was a loud, chaotic firecracker.
Hardy’s Bane is a focused and astute steamroller.
Ledger had an Oscar worthy performance. It really becomes hard to even TRY to bring any talk like that up this time around, but in all honesty Tom Hardy more than holds his own with his performance. I find it really great in fact. It’s hard to project lines and expressions when your mouth cannot be seen, nor most of your face from being covered by a mask. Again, menacing was the word that came to my head when Hardy was on screen.
There’s one scene in particular where Bane really does nothing to bring your attention to him during the scene, until he rests his left hand (open and unclenched, mind you) on this gentleman’s shoulder. It is there that you get the power of Hardy’s character. His voice does not raise, his actions do not get accelerated at all, yet you just KNOW that he is in utter control. He didn’t set the room on fire, he didn’t bang a drum. He rests his open palm on a man’s shoulder, and it just as well could’ve been an atomic bomb to the room.
Is Tom Hardy better than Heath Ledger in this movie? Well, how about this: why can’t he just be “great” as well? I have quite a sweet tooth and love ice cream. My favorite type of ice cream is vanilla, but that certainly doesn’t mean that if there is only chocolate that my dessert from that point on is ruined. Not at all. It’s unfortunate that I don’t have my vanilla ice cream, but I still am lucky enough to enjoy some chocolate. It’s not my first choice, but at least there’s ice cream. We should stop worrying about ‘the best’ and try and enjoy what’s going on in front of us. Yes, Heath Ledger was amazing. But Tom Hardy was truly great.
The Dark Knight Rises is great. It does a great job of tying things up for all introduced story lines and characters, and all while not being Lord of the Rings: Return of the King about it. It completes the trilogy quite well, while leaving some things around should Warner just want to piggyback this series. Much like The Dark Knight was Godfather II for comic movies, The Dark Knight Rises does not quite live up to the predecessor, but in no way can it be compared to the Godfather III analogy.
How about The Dark Knight Rises is the Lord of the Rings: Return of The King of comic movies? It’s not the best, but why can’t great just be good enough for your Saturday movie night?