Well… four years and a lot of hype later we finally get our final Batman of the trilogy. And yeah, it was worth the wait and the hype, because the movie did it all justice, period. Everything went together. I was excited going in, and happy coming out. I cannot ask anymore of a movie and it fulfilled magnificently.
I’ll keep it as spoiler free as possible. Everyone knows (or bloody well should know from the trailers) the following: Bane (Tom Hardy) is the primary antagonist, Cat Woman (Anne Hathaway) plays the wildcard role left in Heath Ledgers wake, and the usual twists and turns that accompany Nolan’s films are ever present. So here it is, full review.
Nolan does, as far as can be expected, a wonderful job of wrapping the whole series together. If you haven’t seen DKR yet and have a couple hours, go back and watch Batman Begins to refresh your memory. It will come in handy. The Joker is *never once* mentioned throughout the film, like he doesn’t exist. This was intentional, very much so, as apparently the cast and crew wanted to honor him in this way. This is juxtaposed by creating Harvey Dent Day and it went moderately well. The meta of Ledgers death was nested into the universe as the city intentionally decided to forget the Joker and remember a hero who saved them all. This rang well on the surface, but it didn’t last. People still remembered The Batman and some believed he wasn’t who he was portrayed to be. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) walked around for 8 years holding the truth about Dent and it tormented him the whole time.
I’d be pissed too if this guy tried to kill my kid and I had to idolize him.
Nolan wrote in a lot of things that felt like it was teasing your thoughts, like acupuncture of the brain; the idea was there, but you weren’t sure if it was yours or his. The overwhelming plot was one of class warfare and the corruption of those who have too-long been in power. I felt the mob mentality of the underclass pulsing around and through me as I watched people being pulled out of a high end hotel in their fur coats and summarily executed or taken away for their “trial.” I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s how its actually going to go down if a revolution happens here and it left me feeling a little sick inside.
A distinct weak-spot in the movie is how all the information seemed immediately available on all opposing sides. In the Batman universe, Wayne puts a LOT of effort to maintain his secret, but this film played out like it was an open chess board; everyone could see everything going on with all sides. It was somewhat mitigated by Bane intentionally feeding Wayne information, but I always felt that people knew too much the whole time.
Nolan used his all-star cast very well and no one was wasted. Hardy really captured the essence of a believer in Bane. All the thugs he hired were simply extensions of him. Bale surprisingly didn’t phone it in. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine got less camera time than I wished but did well with what they had. Hathaway was a surprisingly exceptional Catwoman and made use of her high heels in a way that actually seemed somewhat practical. I’ve always been averse to heroes in heels, but I almost bought it this time.
Also, this actually happens. And she doesn’t steal it!
At risk of spoilers, I’m going to also mention Marion Collitard who played Miranda, a well-to-do woman highly interested in the goings-on of Wayne Enterprises. She effectively has two roles in this film and plays the dichotomy fairly well. Pay attention to her.
And without giving it away, a large percentage of the meta-players of DKR called it with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I won’t say who or what, but yes, some of you are right.
CG and Props
Nothing felt completely unreal in this film. The Batmobile makes a distinct comeback in urban combat form (and in multiple units), The Pod continues to be useful and Wayne’s vehicle of choice is The Bat, an urban warfare based gyro-copter capable of speeds in excess of 300mph (I don’t remember that number specifically mentioned, but any of the math inclined will figure out where I got it by the end of the flick). In the previews the device looks gaudy and unreal, but other views will show it at least somewhat plausible.
And then there’s this thing. It’s mildly important.
Nolan kept the rest of it fairly straightforward. The biggest CG moments were the football stadium going down and the bridges and city being expertly destroyed. All in all good use of relatively few special effects.
I was surprised that other pods didn’t show up in the movie, especially when other Batmobiles get blown up in quick succession. I’m going to chock that one up to “base model” design and leave it at that.
Why the hell are you reading this!? Go watch the freaking movie already! Buy the DVD/Blu Ray, show it to your kids and say “THIS is what we watched when we were your age.” I don’t know about you, but I found my Star Wars collection my collective parents had. And mercifully there won’t be a holiday special.
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