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The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 1:21:50 AM   
Spaldron


Posts: 10485
Joined: 6/10/2006
From: Chair


I'm off to see this tonight and I'm already certain it'll end up one of my favourites (fingers crossed) so I figured I'd set this thread up to get some serious TDKR discussion going, away from the loony's on Film Reviews.

So has anyone seen it already and what are your thoughts? I'll be adding mine soon.

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RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 9:22:23 AM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
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Hahahaha someones after a big thread!

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RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 9:22:47 AM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
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From: Punishment Park
And yes I have seen it, and think it was a big disappointment.

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RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 9:34:42 AM   
Mojo


Posts: 6053
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From: The CIC, next to the old man.
Watched it twice now and I loved it. Really is great filmmaking, and yet when somebody asked me whether it was better than The Avengers I stuttered.

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RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 1:06:09 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8229
Joined: 31/7/2008
I ended up really enjoying it, but I nearly laughed when Bane started speaking. Honestly, I just buried my face in my hands and thought 'There's no way it can go on like this for the whole film'. Didn't make me cringe as much by the end, but it's still really unfortunate.

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Post #: 5
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 1:32:31 PM   
st3veebee


Posts: 2353
Joined: 3/9/2006
From: 9303 Lyon Drive
quote:

ORIGINAL: superdan

I ended up really enjoying it, but I nearly laughed when Bane started speaking. Honestly, I just buried my face in my hands and thought 'There's no way it can go on like this for the whole film'. Didn't make me cringe as much by the end, but it's still really unfortunate.


I shouldn't be in this thread, as I'm seeing it tonight, but I'm curious now! Why did you cringe? Is it different sounding to in the trailers (his voice) or is it that it doesn't work for extended period of time/monologues.

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Post #: 6
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 1:36:06 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8229
Joined: 31/7/2008

quote:

ORIGINAL: st3veebee

quote:

ORIGINAL: superdan

I ended up really enjoying it, but I nearly laughed when Bane started speaking. Honestly, I just buried my face in my hands and thought 'There's no way it can go on like this for the whole film'. Didn't make me cringe as much by the end, but it's still really unfortunate.


I shouldn't be in this thread, as I'm seeing it tonight, but I'm curious now! Why did you cringe? Is it different sounding to in the trailers (his voice) or is it that it doesn't work for extended period of time/monologues.


It's hard to describe, but I reckon it'll be parodied for years.

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Post #: 7
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 1:43:37 PM   
Sutty


Posts: 3552
Joined: 6/6/2006
From: the front row
Wowsers Spaldron, you start a fave movie thread before you've seen the flick?!?! In the best and nicest possible way I hope you hate it now! lol.

And no, not seen it yet. But will let you know if it is a fave

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Post #: 8
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 2:37:49 PM   
porntrooper

 

Posts: 2610
Joined: 6/9/2006
From: Sheffield
I've seen it twice now. Loved it on both occasions.

Interested to hear why you thought it was dissapointing Rgirv??

It's not without it's flaws for sure, but I felt they were pretty minor in the overall scheme of things. I was worried about the run time, as I think Dark Knight suffers in it's final act, however, Rises didnt feel too long and at times it actually feels like plot points need more room and more time, particularly within the first two thirds of the movie. The final third really flys by and I thought it's final 5 minutes or so were superb, but I guess many people will have problems here. Ive read complaints about character motivations, but everything makes sense to me and all their actions (Bruce's in particular) all make sense within the story arc presented throughout the three films.

The acting from the main cast is quality across the board, and Bale is at his best here. Caine and Hathaway are great, as are Oldman, Modine and Freeman, but it feels like they dont have much time on screen to make much impact. Best surprise was JGL, he was pretty damn good. As for Hardy as Bane? Well, he will likely be as divisive as the final few minutes, but I'm firmly in the 'he's fucking great' category. I thought the choice of voice for Bane was great and the accent coupled with the metalic tone, the wheeze and the use of his eyes all made him really memorable. I didnt find him laughable at all. During his Blackgate speech I thought he was superb. Pay attention though, cos at times he is hard to hear despite some obvious tweaks to his vocal in the sound mix, which was somethign that distracted me. He occasionally sounds like he is speaking from a within differnet movie altogether such is the obviousness of the ADR.

The film looks amazing too, great cinematography and some stunning effects work (alongside one or two not so stunning effects) make this the best looking of all three films, although some of the LA and New York skyline shots distracted me due to some immediately recognisable buildings. Zimmers score is again great, but if youve no love for his work on the previous films, youre unlikely to change opinion here as he mostly takes music from the previous films and simply ramps them up to 11. Having said that the new themes for Bane and Selina are good, but maybe not as memorable as Jokers dragged out screeching single tone. The practical stunt work is really good too, particularly during that opening hijack and the finale on the streets of Gotham. So, even if you dont care much for the films overall story, it would be hard to deny the craft on display here, it really is top class film making.

As for the story, I think it works fine overall but much like Begins and Dark Knight, the bad guys plot is a little wishy washy and there are elements to it that if you think too much simply dont make much sense. In fact during the early set up of Bane's evil plot I was really scratching my head as to why he was doing what he was doing. When his plans are expanded upon, you just kinda let it wash over you as it's being played out so well on screen the whys' and hows start to become irrelevant, much like with Jokers convuluted scheming from Dark Knight. But certainly Dark Knight Rises' biggest flaw is within its plotting and story, it's twists in the final act never really feel natural and it's desire to have Batman rise on more than one occasion means that Batman gets sidelined and doesnt seem to get as much screen time as the first two. But the screen time he does get is great and I loved his first return to the streets and when he really does rise for the final act, it has a couple of great goosbump moments. But, in order for him to rise he needs to fall, and he does so in one of the best scenes from the trilogy. His first fist fight with Bane is really great and although Nolan's direction of the fight sometimes makes Bane's brutal blows hard to see, you get the overall feeling of a real arse kicking for Bats. It's really great and again, Hardy does some great work with Bane.

Yes, it's flawed and yes things I wanted to see dont happen, but what is here on screen is superb and it's flaws couldnt really stop my enjoyement. However, I can totally understand why some people are going to have problems with this film, and more specifically with its final moments. Having watched the double bill on the big screen earlier this week and Rises on two seperate occasions since, I think I'd rank this above Dark Knight but below Begins. Overall a superb movie and a superb trilogy.

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Post #: 9
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 2:52:25 PM   
thedrin

 

Posts: 562
Joined: 9/1/2007
From: Ireland
I have just seen it and gladly post about it in this subforum.

I consider spoilers to be fair game for this subforum. You have been warned. Please don't read my post and give out to me for giving away plot points.

My feelings on the franchise so far:
Batman Begins 5/5
The Dark Knight 4/5
The Dark Knight Rises 5/5

I loved it.

While I would have preferred this to be a great film, it would have amused me greatly to see people try to defend it if it had turned out to be rubbish or - perhaps worse - average. I was never particularly convinced that it was guaranteed to be a great as I thought that The Dark Knight which had plenty of great moments was a flawed film.

My issue with The Dark Knight is not one that I should describe in technical terms since I'm not completely familiar with their exact use. Simply put, with at least half an hour remaining, I was getting restless and wanted to leave the cinema and walk around for a bit, even though it had been a great experience up until that point. I saw the film multiple times in the cinema and this happened at the same point each time. The Joker's escape from jail. Using jargon which I might not be using correctly, as far as I could see the film had 5 acts instead of 3: the set up, the Joker killings, the catching of the Joker and his escape, the hospital, the ships. To quote what someone said to me at the time, "I feel like I've just sat through 5 films. Fortunately at least 4 of them where awesome". I'd agree that the individual parts are great, but good as they may be when you put them together you get something that's just too much for one sitting. Like Tarantino's inferior Inglorious Bastards, I think it would have worked better as a 5 part TV series, although the loss of scale in Batman 2 would be a significant.

Batman 3, which IMDB tells me is 12 minutes longer, could have had another 10 minutes added to it (not tacked on to the end of course, but spread out through the film) and I'd have still left the film wishing that it had gone on a bit longer. Just three acts and each one unfolding at a nice even pace. There may be small continuity errors in the first and third acts but I might be imagining those.

At any point where I took myself out of the story and acknowledged that I was in the cinema watching a film, I immediately thought "this is great", "amazing", "I'm really loving this" before immediately diving back into it. As the ending credits rolled I sat back in my seat and just soaked in the residual atmosphere as the music blared and - since there were technical difficulties in Dublin Cineworld causing a delay to the start - people for the next showing started filing in.

Since it's already been brought up as a negative in this thread I'll referred to Bane's voice. It's certainly a noticeable aspect of a major blockbuster so it will be parodied regardless of whether it's good or bad. I've no doubt people will compare it to Aslan's voice in South Park (when Token goes to live with the lions in the zoo/reserve, "do you like jokes", "pull my finger", not Imagination Land), maybe people have already spotted that. But I liked it. First I'm glad they didn't go with something from the range normally used for menacing bad guys. Giving him the voice of a 19th century circus ring master worked really well for me - especially for that scene in the stadium when he did play the part of ring master.

Acting. This is a Christopher Nolan film. We expect a quality cast cementing, if not necessarily enhancing, their reputations. We get it. If I had to single out anyone it'd be Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Not because he's any better than his usual great self, but because he plays a character type that could so easily go on to be the butt of the internet's wrath if this had turned out to be a poor film. In a lesser film, this is typically the Mary-Sue role, a new character whose dogged persistence in the face of adversity earns the trust of established members of the Batman Scooby gang, gives them the heads up they need to avert [total] disaster, and brings everyone together to help win the day. For much of the middle of the film, Christian Bale disappears completely and it becomes Gordon-Levitt's film. If the reaction to this film had been poor, Gordon-Levitt would have been crucified, but he handles the role very well.

If I don't think the acting is as good in Batman 3 as it was in 2, then that's because of the 1 area where Batman 2 really surpasses Batman 3: dialogue.

My favourite thing about Batman 2 was the conversation. Numerous scenes where characters just talk with the aid of a great script (I assume the dialogue is scripted). The dialogue in Batman 3 isn't bad, but it's never as great. There is one stinker of a line in response to Bane's "You cam back to die with your city", "No, I came back to save it from you". It's not dreadful, not on the level of a couple of lines from Batman 1 ("I got to get me one of those", "It's not who we are on the ins ..." etc.") but it's dull. There's one moment where I feared it might be suffering from Prometheus syndrome - interesting things are happening and the characters don't discuss - but it's isolated.

Great moments:

Bane's plot and when it's first unleashed on the city. Even if it's depiction on screen is very sanitised, paralysing a city like that is pretty horrific.

I've never had any love for the catwoman character. I wasn't entirely convinced that she could fit into the film very well. I'm not read up on the Batman universe and my suspicion was that this would be one bad guy too many to appease the fans, similar to the alien thingy from Spiderman 3. She get's one of the best lines in the film. Upon seeing the ridiculous shoes that go into her costume for the first time - even if she uses them in a pretty cool way - she get's asked if they make walking difficult. The response is pretty good, even if I would have preferred the "superhero's in the real world" interpretation of the material to feature more practical costumes.

Best bit in the film - RISE. Goosebumps. Put me in mind of Maximus reentering the catacombs of the Colosseum to the chants of Maximus after revealing himself to the emperor. Though this is a far superior film.

I have to log off now.

< Message edited by thedrin -- 20/7/2012 4:26:26 PM >

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Post #: 10
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 2:59:03 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8229
Joined: 31/7/2008

quote:

ORIGINAL: porntrooper
His first fist fight with Bane is really great and although Nolan's direction of the fight sometimes makes Bane's brutal blows hard to see, you get the overall feeling of a real arse kicking for Bats. It's really great and again, Hardy does some great work with Bane.


That's one of the reasons I felt Bane was a little undersold. The first fight felt a bit like a WWE matchup; a little muddied, almost plodding and predictable. Batman can't hurt Bane, Bane hurts Batman. However in the broad daylight of the City Hall fight, with the camera staying on the two of them for more than a second I felt you really got an idea of what Bane was capable of (and in particular, the condition Hardy had built himself up to). He was so fast and powerful-looking in those brief moments that I felt it was a shame there wasn't more it, and it really brought home the sense of what Batman was up against.

Agree about JGL and Hathaway, thought they both acquitted themselves really well. Cotillard was Cotillard, I remain to be convinced she is an above-average actress. One thing I did like about the film was the way in ramped up the tension in the final act and maintained it through to the climax, which is something I always felt The Dark Knight stumbled over. It certainly made up for what was (imo) a very uneven opening.

Overall I think it was a success, a worthy finale. I am also interested in Rgirvan's thoughts, as while I wouldn't call this film a 5-star modern masterpiece, I certainly didn't think it was a big disappointment. Will be interested in reading the criticisms.

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Post #: 11
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 3:18:29 PM   
porntrooper

 

Posts: 2610
Joined: 6/9/2006
From: Sheffield

quote:

ORIGINAL: superdan


quote:

ORIGINAL: porntrooper
His first fist fight with Bane is really great and although Nolan's direction of the fight sometimes makes Bane's brutal blows hard to see, you get the overall feeling of a real arse kicking for Bats. It's really great and again, Hardy does some great work with Bane.


That's one of the reasons I felt Bane was a little undersold. The first fight felt a bit like a WWE matchup; a little muddied, almost plodding and predictable. Batman can't hurt Bane, Bane hurts Batman. However in the broad daylight of the City Hall fight, with the camera staying on the two of them for more than a second I felt you really got an idea of what Bane was capable of (and in particular, the condition Hardy had built himself up to). He was so fast and powerful-looking in those brief moments that I felt it was a shame there wasn't more it, and it really brought home the sense of what Batman was up against.

Agree about JGL and Hathaway, thought they both acquitted themselves really well. Cotillard was Cotillard, I remain to be convinced she is an above-average actress. One thing I did like about the film was the way in ramped up the tension in the final act and maintained it through to the climax, which is something I always felt The Dark Knight stumbled over. It certainly made up for what was (imo) a very uneven opening.

Overall I think it was a success, a worthy finale. I am also interested in Rgirvan's thoughts, as while I wouldn't call this film a 5-star modern masterpiece, I certainly didn't think it was a big disappointment. Will be interested in reading the criticisms.


I agree, there were a few moments in that final fist fight that were superb and Hardy looked great, and he moved ridiculously quick, my problem was more with Batman in that scene than it was Bane It was great, but I never got the impression Batman was really different and I would've maybe preferred to see Bat's play with Bane when he had the upper hand. I dunno, it was great, but that first fight was awesome.

What I preferred about the first was the fact that Batman is clearly not up to the fight and he's spent after a few blows. Bane acknowledges it and is toying with him, allowing himself to take those blows from Batman as he knows he's on his last puff. When Batman kills the lights and Bane does his speech about the shadows and darkness? I loved that!! He picks Batman up off his feet and at one point rams several blows into his gut/ribs and it felt more brutal than anything from that final battle. Batman is screaming out as he tries to beat Bane, he screams as he lets his fists fly, but you know it's never getting to Bane. That shot from the teaser as Batman stood in front of the water and Bane moves in, Batman lets out a scream (that I dont think made the teaser) and it really gave me goosebumps cos you could feel he was trying to give it everything but nothing was getting through. When Bane finally reveals what he does and finishes Batman off it really feels like Bruce has been through hell. Great stuff. Yea, some of the direction means the hits arent as clear on screen, but the dialogue and the implications of that fight just really worked for me. I loved it.

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Post #: 12
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 3:30:29 PM   
Vadersville


Posts: 3080
Joined: 30/9/2005
Just seen it so many different thoughts ruining through my head at the moment so I'll post a proper review later. Overall though loved it! a few things I thought could have been a bit more subtle towards the end. I would have preferred if John Blake's legal name had been Richard Grayson rather than Robin. One, because I've always thought he would be great as Nightwing and two, because it made me groan when he was actually called Robin. The other was the final scene with Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina at the cafe. I know that it's supposed to be Bruce realisng Alfred's wish for him and it was sweet to see that Selina dn Bruce got their fresh start together but I refuse to believe that those two, having been through so much, Alfred practically raising him, would just nod and smile and go their seperate ways. They'd hug or something. Now I'm not saying they should have shown that. Not at all. But the way in which Alfred just gets up and leaves ruined the moment for me. Personally i think it would have been better if that was the final scene and we just see Alfred sit down, he looks up, sees something, slowly smiles and then we go to end credits. We know he's seen Bruce. We don't need to see it. But I'm nitpicking. Great film. Loved it! As a fan of the comics I loved how they combined elements of Knightfall, No Man's Land and even The Dark Knight Returns. Brilliant!

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Post #: 13
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 3:39:55 PM   
porntrooper

 

Posts: 2610
Joined: 6/9/2006
From: Sheffield

quote:

ORIGINAL: Vadersville

Just seen it so many different thoughts ruining through my head at the moment so I'll post a proper review later. Overall though loved it! a few things I thought could have been a bit more subtle towards the end. I would have preferred if John Blake's legal name had been Richard Grayson rather than Robin. One, because I've always thought he would be great as Nightwing and two, because it made me groan when he was actually called Robin. The other was the final scene with Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina at the cafe. I know that it's supposed to be Bruce realisng Alfred's wish for him and it was sweet to see that Selina dn Bruce got their fresh start together but I refuse to believe that those two, having been through so much, Alfred practically raising him, would just nod and smile and go their seperate ways. They'd hug or something. Now I'm not saying they should have shown that. Not at all. But the way in which Alfred just gets up and leaves ruined the moment for me. Personally i think it would have been better if that was the final scene and we just see Alfred sit down, he looks up, sees something, slowly smiles and then we go to end credits. We know he's seen Bruce. We don't need to see it. But I'm nitpicking. Great film. Loved it! As a fan of the comics I loved how they combined elements of Knightfall, No Man's Land and even The Dark Knight Returns. Brilliant!


Whereas, for me, that moment really worked. Alfred tells Bruce that the way he sees it in his fantasy is that they never speak or go to one another, they see each other and that's it.... he know's Bruce is safe and well and happy. So thats exactly what Bruce gives him at the end, he gives him exactly enough to know their rift was mended and he's safe. Really great stuff, but damn I can feel so many people seething at the way they finished it up!

I didnt care for the 'Robin', but I think they didnt go with the Dick Grayson name as that would be really specific to that character. The way they did it was more of a nod to say 'Yea, Batman has had his sidekick' but allowing it to suggest he will someday become Batman, not Robin. But yea, I wouldve preferred them to not do it at all and it was one of only a couple of times the audience seemed to groan at something (another being the statue - something I didnt like either).

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Post #: 14
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 4:16:54 PM   
Vadersville


Posts: 3080
Joined: 30/9/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: porntrooper


quote:

ORIGINAL: Vadersville

Just seen it so many different thoughts ruining through my head at the moment so I'll post a proper review later. Overall though loved it! a few things I thought could have been a bit more subtle towards the end. I would have preferred if John Blake's legal name had been Richard Grayson rather than Robin. One, because I've always thought he would be great as Nightwing and two, because it made me groan when he was actually called Robin. The other was the final scene with Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina at the cafe. I know that it's supposed to be Bruce realisng Alfred's wish for him and it was sweet to see that Selina dn Bruce got their fresh start together but I refuse to believe that those two, having been through so much, Alfred practically raising him, would just nod and smile and go their seperate ways. They'd hug or something. Now I'm not saying they should have shown that. Not at all. But the way in which Alfred just gets up and leaves ruined the moment for me. Personally i think it would have been better if that was the final scene and we just see Alfred sit down, he looks up, sees something, slowly smiles and then we go to end credits. We know he's seen Bruce. We don't need to see it. But I'm nitpicking. Great film. Loved it! As a fan of the comics I loved how they combined elements of Knightfall, No Man's Land and even The Dark Knight Returns. Brilliant!


Whereas, for me, that moment really worked. Alfred tells Bruce that the way he sees it in his fantasy is that they never speak or go to one another, they see each other and that's it.... he know's Bruce is safe and well and happy. So thats exactly what Bruce gives him at the end, he gives him exactly enough to know their rift was mended and he's safe.


As I said, I got that, but it just didn't ring true to the characters. They wouldn't just nod at each other and Alfred certainly wouldn't just get up and leave. And no way without a single tear in his eye. I just think it should have been more subtle. Seeing Alfred simply smile without seeing his POV would have been enough. In that respect it reminded me of the end of Sherlock Holmes 2. I groaned when we actually saw Sherlock alive. It should have ended with Watson seeing the breathing apparatus and then typing the ? mark himself. Of course, subtlety is not a quality I've come to expect from Guy Ritchie but Mr. Nolan should have known better!

Anyways, it's a minor flaw in an epic film. One thing, I'm so glad that Miranda Tate was Talia Al Ghul. I've been wishing she was, even through all the press denying it and even through the first half of the film I was like, please, come on, make her Talia. That said, the twist, was still pretty cool, making her the one who escaped the prison and not Bane. I did not see that one coming! One of the most refreshing things about this final entry was Nolan's take on Batman's female characters. He really got both Talia and Selina and I loved how they were realised. Kinda makes me wish he had bothered to tackle more of the Bat's female characters rather than create the godawful Rachel Dawes character, which was by the weakest thing in both the other entries.


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Post #: 15
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 4:20:55 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8229
Joined: 31/7/2008
Do you fancy editing your post Vadersville? Not all of us have seen Sherlock 2 yet

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Post #: 16
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 4:22:58 PM   
adambatman82

 

Posts: 11156
Joined: 15/12/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: superdan


quote:

ORIGINAL: st3veebee

quote:

ORIGINAL: superdan

I ended up really enjoying it, but I nearly laughed when Bane started speaking. Honestly, I just buried my face in my hands and thought 'There's no way it can go on like this for the whole film'. Didn't make me cringe as much by the end, but it's still really unfortunate.


I shouldn't be in this thread, as I'm seeing it tonight, but I'm curious now! Why did you cringe? Is it different sounding to in the trailers (his voice) or is it that it doesn't work for extended period of time/monologues.


It's hard to describe, but I reckon it'll be parodied for years.


Bane's voice was my one (although minor) problem with the film. Having seen the prologue last year I actually quite liked the muffled nature of it, but it's been overdone a little in post-production now. It's by no means a killer for me tho.

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Post #: 17
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 4:25:03 PM   
adambatman82

 

Posts: 11156
Joined: 15/12/2005
I can't help but think that the role occupied by Scarecrow would have at one time been intended for The Joker.

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Post #: 18
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 4:25:45 PM   
adambatman82

 

Posts: 11156
Joined: 15/12/2005
And indeed -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra-kXcPd3Hw

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Post #: 19
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 5:05:26 PM   
porntrooper

 

Posts: 2610
Joined: 6/9/2006
From: Sheffield

quote:

ORIGINAL: adambatman82

I can't help but think that the role occupied by Scarecrow would have at one time been intended for The Joker.


That really wouldn't have surprised me at all. In absence of Joker, Scarecrow was nice, but why oh why didnt they let him wear a mask?! I would've loved that!

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Post #: 20
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 5:10:12 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14550
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From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
I did like how his suit was coming apart at the seams, however. That was a nice touch.

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Post #: 21
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 6:49:42 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
I come to this film as a Nolan fanboy – Inception is one of my favourite films of the decade so far, and I truly love all his work up to now. Which is why the following makes me sad.

Messy, needlessly complex and overstuffed yet also strangely empty, the Dark Knight Rises is the least successful Nolan Batman film and very likely his worst film to date.

While there are moments that remind you of who is behind the camera, the film doesn’t seem to come alive in the way that Begins and TDK did. It is like Nolan had lost all his enthusiasm for the franchise and instead went off and had some fun filming individual sequences, ignoring the numerous script flaws.

I should say that I saw the previous two Nolan Batman films back to back in IMAX on the same night as Rises.

There will be spoilers from here on in so you have been warned.

SPOILERS




I know that this is a common complaint, but the eight year gap where we are told Bruce stopped being Batman after he got home driving down that road on the Pod is hugely disappointing. It means that Wayne only operated on the streets for a year and some change. The epic battle with crime reduced to a curious event in the history of Gotham. It reduces the power of moments such as

“I didn’t thank you”
“And you won’t have to!”

Or

“I think you and I are destined to do this forever”

Hey, guess not Joker! It really is hard to square the circle if you watch The Dark
Knight and 10mins later Rises come on. The actual idea of an eight year gap is a good one – it allows wiggle room for the whole “where is the Joker?” thing and would just as adequately set up the idea of an exhausted and depressed Bruce.

Indeed by the time Rises starts, the so called Dent Act which was brought in to fight crime following his death, is being considered in some circles to be too much. A Batman still wandering the streets would be a healthy reminder about why the Act was brought in, thus fulfilling the role Wayne agreed to.

Imagine fighting crime for eight years, even as the figures are falling and continuing to be hated by everyone? That would turn you into a lonely soul, and also give motivation for billionaire Bruce Wayne to try and do more good in the world.

Instead we have this odd situation where Batman hasn’t existed, and Wayne is barely there for nearly a decade. There was no indication in The Dark Knight that Bruce was going to stop being Batman once he took the fall. In fact his biggest character trait in Begins was a guilt complex over his parent’s death spurring him on to fight crime. That the love of his life dies, and he just sits back feels wrong for the character that has been set up in these movies.

Thankfully Bale plays it somewhat lighter in the first 40 minutes of the film than you suspect given the set up. This is in part to Anne Hathaway who is the bright shining star of Rises. After six hours of the Nolan series I was ready for someone like Selina Kyle – fun and willing to undercut the seriousness of any situation. As Bruce becomes increasingly interested in her, and what exactly she was stealing from Wayne, I was on board the film. But this is also when the bloat began to hit in earnest.

The subplot with Kyle and the billionaire who is so bland and uninteresting I got him confused with his henchman on numerous occasions, starts to put some drag on the film. Why does Bane need him? It is clear Bane and Kyle know each other – could he have not just hired her to get the finger prints and then carry out the attack on the stock exchange? It wouldn’t have taken much to change the construction subplot as well – just have Bane muscle his crew into construction projects or heck just plant bombs under the noses of a complacent Gotham City Police Force. The guy does nothing, adds nothing and isn’t even a useful McGuffin like the Chinese banker in
TDK.

People are praising Michael Caine, and while he gives a good performance, Alfred is all over the place in this film. In Begins he was all about protecting the Wayne legacy and ensuring that Bruce lived up to his father’s name and ideals. In the Dark Knight he was the voice expressing why Wayne had to keep fighting, despite the loss of Rachel. Now in Rises we are told he never wanted Bruce to come back, and had hoped in the seven years he vanished in Begins, that he would have settled down?

The deuce? Make up your mind Alfred! I also didn’t buy that he would leave Wayne and never return. These guys fell out, but they would have rebuilt that relationship. Too much water under the bridge.

Elsewhere, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, playing Gotham cop John Blake, is doing some digging about gangs living in the sewers under the city. A masked man is recruiting the abandoned of the city and putting them to work in a subplot which reminded me of the 1990 movie Teenage Ninja Turtles. For some reason, Matthew Mordine’s deputy Commissioner dismisses Blake’s claims as fantasy. I sat there thinking…what? If Mordine had been in the police force for decades then surely compared to ninjas using a water vapour machine to infect the people of Gotham with a fear toxin, or a guy dressed as clown blowing up hospitals, the idea of an underground base of soldiers would seem somewhat reasonable.

Gordon investigates but gets caught by Bane who finds a speech he had written revealing the truth of Harvey Dent. This was such a laboured way to get Bane to spill the beans to the people of Gotham – was there literally no better idea than that?

While all these cogs are moving Wayne puts back on the mask and following an attack on the stock exchange pursues Bane and his team on bikes. Mordine’s dumb as dishwasher character orders everyone to pursue Batman and not even a couple of cars go after the guys who just shot up and killed a lot of people in the centre of Gotham. This is nonsense of the highest order.

The attack on the stock exchange helps Bane to wipe Wayne enterprises of all its money, making Bruce broke. This is mostly played for laughs as he is kicked out of a board meeting, the lights on Wayne manor go out and so on. He is more than happy to hand over the company, and the energy generator to a woman named Miranda Tate, whom he also takes a romantic interest in. I suppose this was meant to represent the further destruction of Wayne, but really, wealth has never been a big part of his life. The only importance he ever attached to it was in relation to protecting the Wayne family name.

Eventually Batman goes to confront Bane by…walking through the front door? He allows himself to be tricked by Catwoman and saunters into the middle of the brightly lit HQ of the bad guy and his army. What was his plan even if Kyle hadn’t betrayed him? This isn’t the resourceful Batman we know and love – he has been replaced by someone far dumber. Anyway in a fight which is sort of ok – I kept wondering why Bats wouldn’t be trying his best to get that mask off of Bane – Bane does the one thing his character is known for. But it is sort of just there.

The central McGuffin is a device built by Wayne Enterprise to provide clean energy for the city, but which gets distorted by Bane who uses it as a tool to unleash his army onto the streets. Sound familiar? It isn’t Rises fault that the Avengers did this already, but it does sort of make it feel like a bit “been there, done that” subplot. Even the opening sequence is about the bad guy kidnapping the key scientist to the project felt oddly similar.

To get people’s attention Bane destroys the football stadium in the scene we have all seen in the trailers. That is about as big as the film gets by the way – the hospital explosion in TDK is far more effective, and impressive. What is Bane’s plan? Why it is to detonate a bomb derived from the energy source which Wayne was intending to use for his renewables project. It is set to go off in three months.

In front of the world Bane kills the one man who could defuse it - some Russian guy who is at the centre of an impressive sequence at the start of the film but literally offers nothing else afterwards. This would have been just as effective if it were Fox who was kidnapped at the start, and then gets shot in Gotham stadium. It would have raised the stakes and jolted the audience.

Bane further destroys all the access points in and out of the city and orders the US military to stay away, and that no one in Gotham would be allowed to leave either. His strategy as explained to Wayne is fulfilling the work of Ra’s Al Ghul and making Gotham suffer before ultimate destruction. His three month stay of execution is to give the citizens a hope they will never be able to claim. Underneath Bane’s feet is the Gotham police department, led down into the sewers as a trap. An injured Gordon, Blake and Mordine along with a few others survive up surface.

They literally have a ticking time bomb with three months to go. Why three months?
There is a famous saying that the only thing separating civilisation and anarchy is three square meals. Could they not have done it for a month? Heck they are an off-shoot of the League of Shadows – how about throwing some more of that fear toxin about to juice things up? I will come back to this issue in a moment.

Bane recruits an army of prisoners and I presume disgruntled Gotham citizens and they go off and attack the rich people because boo rich people. But given it is the bad guys who are doing it, you wonder who in the 99% movement Nolan supported? What political subtext exists is muddled in a way which is a stark contrast to that of TDK.

Bane also reveals the contents of Gordon’s letter to everyone, but I have to wonder why anyone would even believe him? He had a handwritten letter, which no one would actually be able to prove who it came from. But oh well…

Watching from afar is Wayne who, with a broken back, lies at the bottom of a pit in India. His recovery process basically involves a prisoner popping his back bone back in, and then lots and lots of push ups. Problem solved. And then he has to climb out of a hole only one person has ever done before!

We are meant to see that these events last over a three month period but boy you sure as heck couldn’t tell. The police officers, entombed under Gotham, get food and besides a little dirt seem a-ok. Plenty of tubby ones sitting around there. Gordon and co all pretty much look and dress the same as they did before the attack. We never really see the average Gotham citizen and whether it is a struggle to survive. Our heroes pretty much walk around the city in broad daylight no problem. Batman Begins showed more suffering to be honest.

This undercuts the film – if I am not feeling that the city is as broken as Wayne’s back then the stakes aren’t as high. The only time the movie hints at a crazy upside down world is at the courthouse where Scarcrow holds court sentencing people to death or exile, which both amount to the same thing. High up on a lectern, surrounded by books, and with a suit that is falling apart, this is the one little taste we get of what should have been a heightened world.

HOWEVER I still think even if Ledger was with us, he wouldn’t be in this film. The Joker is simply too powerful a character and would displace Bane as the lead big bad. If Ledger was here, I suspect if they did use him, the movie would be radically different.

In many ways the three month thing reminded me of 30 Days of Night where we were supposed to believe that the townspeople who survived the attack were suffering, when it looked like all they did was grow beards. They don’t even grow beards here.

So of course Wayne becomes the second person to climb out of the pit and he heads back to Gotham with JUST ONE DAY BEFORE THE BOMB GOES OFF. What an amazing piece of luck.

Batman gathers everyone together, rescues the police and takes the fight to Bane. This consists of a few hundred cops running up to a few hundred of Bane’s forces and having an almighty fist fight.

Blake is ordered to get as many citizens out of the city before the bomb goes off.
What this in the end consists of is a school bus of orphans. Remember those big crowd scenes in TDK. Nothing like that in Rises. No sense of scale, no sense of what the wider population are doing.

Batman and Bane go for it in round two, and in typical Rocky style Bats gets the upper hand…until gasp! Is it revealed that Tate is Liam Nesson’s daughter and she is the one, not Bane, who got out of the pit. A betrayal like that is only as good as the prior set up, and really we never got to know Tate/Talia and as such it fell flat.

As Talia goes off with the bomb ticking down to the final minutes, Bane is left with Batman and you think another fight is about to break out until he is blown up by Catwoman on the Batpod who then makes a quip about the “no gun” policy to Wayne.

So Bane, who was built up as a feared warrior, someone who destroyed Batman and conquered a city, is taken out in most anti-climactic way possible and becomes a punch line. It undermines him as a character and re-watches will shift my perception of him as a threat.

At least if you are going to kill him like that, have it be Alfred who comes back with a shotgun or something. One last moment for mending the bridge between the two men. Might have been manipulative, but you know, it would have been a chance for the showman within Nolan to emerge.

A chase scene ensues involving Batman and his Batwing chasing down Tate and the bomb. The sequence is fun, but again comparisons to TDK abound. I think because it didn’t feel like the bad guys had the upper hand, I wasn’t too engaged in the action. Batman and Catwoman tear through the convoy.

Tate then crashes the lorry with the bomb, and dies the same way as her father. The bomb is still going and so of course Batman drags it away on the Batwing, where it is detonated some miles out from the city, thus ensuring that the good people of Gotham aren’t burned to death, but may face major radiation issues in the coming months and decades.

The public finally are seen, coming out of their homes, looking pretty normal and doing just fine. I mean, come on – surely we should have seen some form of lower society form. Finite resources being fought for by rival gangs and so on. I want to see that film!

With Batman/Wayne dead the empire is divided up. In a groan inducing moment we find out Blake’s real name, which frankly wasn’t needed. Alfred sits in a café, and we focus on his face as he smiles and I wish, I so wish, that we had left the film on that moment.

The audience knows what it means. But nope got to spell it out, so there is Bruce, who didn’t die saving the city, living what looks like a normal life. I don’t have problems with this; but Nolan should have trusted Caines performance to tell the audience what he was looking at, plus it would have been a fine final magic trick from the director to the audience and led to huge debates.

The final shots are Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the Batcave and now I get sad that we won’t see that movie being made…or maybe we will?

So that is a summary of my disappointments with the film – but let’s get more positive.
I liked the theme of the film – about the need for a clean slate. Wayne wants another life but cannot escape the confines of his family/Batman. Alfred wants out from the cycle of tragedy which underpins the Waynes. Catwoman wants her sins erased. Gordon wants the guilt which tore up his family lifted. Blake is struggling to balance the need for justice with the politics of policing. Everyone wants something new.

I liked most of the performances – Hathaway as mentioned was a standout. I really liked Bane – no, he isn’t Joker, but he had a certain swagger about him, and combined with what turned out to be a really interesting choice of voice, really helped Hardy to command the screen. Couldn’t help but notice his background in this film was pretty much the same one he had in Star Trek. I just wish they would have given him a bit more to do. He is undermined at the end.

Jospeh Gordon-Levitt is good as well – a good kid who just wants to do the right thing. Again I wish that he had more to do. He is thrown to the side in the final act.

In the end, this is Bale’s film – I liked him in this a lot more than TDK where he really did embrace the broody side. He is often bemused here, and is reaching out to people. Catwoman really helps the character come out of his shell. Bale has done a stand up job in the role and is nowhere near as miserable as some people would have you believe. Dry yes, but not joyless.

Individual sequences also work well. The opening is a truly great Bond moment, and the action is well directed.

But there is just so much bloat. The billionaire, the congressman, Juno Temple, Mordine, whose desertion and return to the police ranks for the final battle don’t mean a damn thing. Maybe if the police were getting beaten and from another corner you saw him leading normal people into battle it might have been better. But in the movie he is dumb and useless and does nothing useful ever.

I do think the movie needed to be longer, but I also think it needed to be better written. It is overcooked but stretched far too thin.

For all that, The Dark Knight Rises is watchable, and you will likely be entertained.
But it simply doesn’t hold a torch to Begins or TDK, let alone the other Nolan films.

Three stars.



< Message edited by Rgirvan44 -- 20/7/2012 10:19:39 PM >


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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 22
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:14:22 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8229
Joined: 31/7/2008
Agree with a lot of those points, especially the ones about Bane's fate and Matthew Modine. The chase where he just abandons trying to catch a bunch of guys who'd shot up and robbed the stock exchange was ridiculous. It started so well, with the cop saying to his rookie partner something along the lines of "You're going to see a show tonight boy!" as Batman re-emerges from his (weird) self-imposed exile, but that stupid decision makes it such a daft scene. I'd also forgotten that apparently a broken back can be fixed by hauling someone up on a rope and physically pushing the bones back in - a medical procedure so effective it allows the patient to endure two bone-jarring falls with a rope around your waist and another pounding by the guy who broke it in the first place.

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Post #: 23
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:18:26 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
It is also very dumb of Bane to not consider that Wayne might...just might...get out of that hole and like - place a dude with a gun at the top of it.

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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 24
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:25:04 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8229
Joined: 31/7/2008

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44

It is also very dumb of Bane to not consider that Wayne might...just might...get out of that hole and like - place a dude with a gun at the top of it.


But... no-one has ever got out! Apart from her, of course. But surely impossible for anyone else. Even though she was a child.

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 25
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:27:30 PM   
SWOTBM


Posts: 1998
Joined: 6/5/2007

quote:

ORIGINAL: superdan

Agree with a lot of those points, especially the ones about Bane's fate and Matthew Modine. The chase where he just abandons trying to catch a bunch of guys who'd shot up and robbed the stock exchange was ridiculous. It started so well, with the cop saying to his rookie partner something along the lines of "You're going to see a show tonight boy!" as Batman re-emerges from his (weird) self-imposed exile, but that stupid decision makes it such a daft scene. I'd also forgotten that apparently a broken back can be fixed by hauling someone up on a rope and physically pushing the bones back in - a medical procedure so effective it allows the patient to endure two bone-jarring falls with a rope around your waist and another pounding by the guy who broke it in the first place.


But in the circumstances, Batman is the guy who has been on the run for 8 years and killed Harvery Dent (who, given Gordon's lie, was only slightly more revered than God at this point). I don't think it was unreasonable that they go after Batman than Bane.

I actually liked Modine's development. He starts out as the selfish/cowardly cop and gradually gains some confidence/courage, him seeing the Batsign was a very nice touch imo.

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Post #: 26
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:30:39 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park

quote:

ORIGINAL: SWOTBM


quote:

ORIGINAL: superdan

Agree with a lot of those points, especially the ones about Bane's fate and Matthew Modine. The chase where he just abandons trying to catch a bunch of guys who'd shot up and robbed the stock exchange was ridiculous. It started so well, with the cop saying to his rookie partner something along the lines of "You're going to see a show tonight boy!" as Batman re-emerges from his (weird) self-imposed exile, but that stupid decision makes it such a daft scene. I'd also forgotten that apparently a broken back can be fixed by hauling someone up on a rope and physically pushing the bones back in - a medical procedure so effective it allows the patient to endure two bone-jarring falls with a rope around your waist and another pounding by the guy who broke it in the first place.


But in the circumstances, Batman is the guy who has been on the run for 8 years and killed Harvery Dent (who, given Gordon's lie, was only slightly more revered than God at this point). I don't think it was unreasonable that they go after Batman than Bane.

I actually liked Modine's development. He starts out as the selfish/cowardly cop and gradually gains some confidence/courage, him seeing the Batsign was a very nice touch imo.


They had a hundred cars. I am pretty sure they could have covered both Batman and Bane.

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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 27
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:40:41 PM   
thedrin

 

Posts: 562
Joined: 9/1/2007
From: Ireland
I'm really surprised that people were expecting Wayne to continue as Batman following the end of Batman 2.

Batman 2's conclusion sees Batman and Gordon agreeing to protect the name of Harvey Dent so that his good works are not undone. Wayne's intention was always to create a Gotham which no longer needed Batman. Mission accomplished. Yes, during the course of Batman 2, Wayne's primary motivation for wanting to retire the Batman was taken away from him, but other reason's still existed.

< Message edited by thedrin -- 20/7/2012 7:42:20 PM >

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Post #: 28
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:47:10 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park

quote:

ORIGINAL: thedrin

I'm really surprised that people were expecting Wayne to continue as Batman following the end of Batman 2.

Batman 2's conclusion sees Batman and Gordon agreeing to protect the name of Harvey Dent so that his good works are not undone. Wayne's intention was always to create a Gotham which no longer needed Batman. Mission accomplished. Yes, during the course of Batman 2, Wayne's primary motivation for wanting to retire the Batman was taken away from him, but other reason's still existed.


Actually it set up the normal universe where Batman would be an enemy of both crime and the police. It felt clear to me that he would still be around, if only to be the symbol that Gotham needed.

_____________________________

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 29
RE: The Dark Knight Rises - 20/7/2012 7:55:05 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8229
Joined: 31/7/2008
quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44


quote:

ORIGINAL: thedrin

I'm really surprised that people were expecting Wayne to continue as Batman following the end of Batman 2.

Batman 2's conclusion sees Batman and Gordon agreeing to protect the name of Harvey Dent so that his good works are not undone. Wayne's intention was always to create a Gotham which no longer needed Batman. Mission accomplished. Yes, during the course of Batman 2, Wayne's primary motivation for wanting to retire the Batman was taken away from him, but other reason's still existed.


Actually it set up the normal universe where Batman would be an enemy of both crime and the police. It felt clear to me that he would still be around, if only to be the symbol that Gotham needed.


Exactly. The whole end of TDK ("Set the dogs on me", "Because we have to chase him", "Because he can take it" etc.) becomes kind of meaningless. We are left with the impression he's going to have to try and fight crime while being public enemy #1. It's hardly the noble sacrifice in that sense, when he doesn't get pursued or hounded by the police at all because he just doesn't show up again.

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 30
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