Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Comic books and super heroes.

Though typically an obsession for the chronically nerdy, ever since the release of the first wave of modern super hero films (X-Men, Spider-Man, etc.) more and more members of the mainstream audience have been queuing up, sometimes in costume, to see their favourite heroes kick evildoer ass. This year, we of the nerdier persuasion, have been spoilt with the choice of comic book based films on show: The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel Comics) and, the recently released, The Dark Knight Rises (DC Comics). With Marvel characters seemingly dominating the super-hero film franchise, Christopher Nolan's now completed Batman trilogy is the only DC offering really worth noting until the new Superman film, Man of Steel, hits cinemas in 2013.

Set quite a few years after TDK (The Dark Knight), TDKR (The Dark Knight Rises) deals with the fallout from Harvey Dent's (Two-Face) death, Batman's portrayal as a murderous vigilante and Bruce Wayne's loss of Rachel Dawes. Gotham, now largely free from organised crime due to strict anti-criminal legislation, has become largely complacent and sceptical towards the dangers of the past such as The Joker or The League of Shadows. Enter Bane, portrayed by Tom Hardy, who not only shakes up things in Gotham but also gives Batman a real run for his money serving as both a physically superior and shrewd adversary.

As with the previous installments of Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy the setting and overall tone is dark and gritty though moments of humour shine through to offer the occasional laugh. Action scenes are composed well, Hans Zimmer delivers a superb soundtrack and the acting is solid throughout the cast with Michael Caine once again delivers a fantastic and convincing performance as Alfred Pennyworth and Anne Hathaway smashing doubts about her role as Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

However, despite a solid beginning and end, it's not all praise for TDKR.
There is a point midway where it feels like TDKR drags its heels and loses its momentum in an attempt to portray the passage of time and the emotional/mental journey of one of the main characters, nothing else really changes during this time almost as if the rest of the story gets put on hold. Certain iconic scenes from the comic-books are thankfully kept in the film but Nolan does not seem to dedicate the screen time to them that fans of the comic book may want and, though I'm not opposed to this for the sake of a good film adaptation, reshapes some of the characters or their background stories.

Over all this leaves TDKR a solid experience that I certainly enjoyed and would recommend despite the lull midway through and the inconsistencies between the source material and the script, which I suspect would only put off the most hardcore of Batman fans.

Il Sung Sato, London.

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