Tag Archives: Christopher Nolan

Comic Rack: Hickman On ‘Avengers’, Morrison Leaving ‘Action Comics’, & Batman Inc #3 Postponed.

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order.

Jonathan Hickman’s Taking ‘Avengers’ By The Reins.

Jonathan Hickman is one of my favorite comics writers in the entire industry right now. His independent work, such as Pax Romana, or The Nightly News, are already modern classics, and are so innovative with their graphic design, hyper dense information, and high concept ideas, that he is bound to become another in a long list of names that are synonymous with great comics. He’ll be up there with Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and Jack Kirby as people who have defined and redefined what comics can be and can do that other mediums can’t. Yes, his books really are that good, and up until a year ago, he was the only reason I even still read Marvel,(I don’t anymore, but that’s for another post, at another time), because his run on Fantastic Four was so good.

Well color me surprised and curious, because his plans for Marvel’s flagship series ‘The Avengers’, have come out, and I’ve gotta say, they’ve got me interesting in plopping down an extra $4 each week to read a Marvel book, which from me, is saying something. Hickman speaks about what his intentions are with the book, the characters, and his plans are for the book:

Via [CBR]

“The idea is that the Avengers have to get bigger,” Hickman told CBR. “That means bigger in every sense. That means the roster has to be bigger, and the missions have to be bigger, and the adversaries and scenarios they find themselves in have to be larger. I’ve played with this stuff a little bit over in the Ultimate Universe. Obviously, it’s a completely different weight class here, but in a lot of ways that’s the kind of velocity that the book should have. We (Tom Brevoort and I) also felt like that if the book was going to be about an Avengers world, it should look more like the world. Of course there are complications starting out when the necessary movie characters are five white dudes and a white lady, but, you know, bigger roster. Frankly, I’m really, really excited at how we address that. The lineup is killer.”

By expanding their ranks, the core Avengers team will grow to 18 members. While this may seem like a huge cast to juggle, Hickman has structured the series in a way that will give almost all his characters equal time in the spotlight. “The way I’ve set this up is we’ll do bigger stories where our entire cast or almost all of our cast take part in a really big adventure.We’ll do around three-issue arcs of bigger stories, and then we’ll do three done-in-one issues where we focus on a smaller group of characters,” Hickman explained. “It’s not a problem getting to everyone, and it’s not a problem making it feel like everybody’s important.”

Another element that will help Hickman balance his large cast of characters is the fact that several of the team members will have their own, solo titles. “I think the writers of the ‘Thor,’ ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Captain America,’ etc. should be writing whatever stories they want to write for those characters,” Hickman stated. “‘Avengers’ isn’t the place where Thor is going to have a huge character arc. That’s not how it works. That stuff happens in ‘Thor.’ ‘Avengers’ should be a reflection of that.”

“The book very quickly becomes about all the characters that surround the big guns of the Marvel Universe,” Hickman continued. “Once people see how the issues work, it will become very clear. This isn’t about a random group of characters I just decided to put together. This is about a bunch of heroes who feel the same way about the main Avengers as we do. You want to see Thor? So do these guys.”

It seems pretty obvious in retrospect, but Hickman very clearly understands what made the Avengers movie, and its accompanying stand alone “cast” pictures work for mainstream audiences, and looks to echo that in the comics. For a long time, I’ve seen many potential Marvel comics fans be daunted by the prospect of even trying to jump into an Avengers book, and while I remain skeptical about it being truly “new reader friendly”, because Marvel says EVERY single time their new event books are “new reader friendly”, I think the ideas that Hickman has will blossom into great comics for everyone, even if it only ends up appealing to the more hardcore comics fan. While I love Hickman, his work is anything but broad, but perhaps his creative and innovative sensibilities will give us the Christopher Nolan of comics writers. He could be the creative bridge between the thoughtful high concept indie, and the slam-bang action of a typical  superhero book combined for the best of both worlds. Here’s to hoping that he’ll be able to assemble (I know) those concepts cleanly.

Batman Inc #3 Postponed Due To Aurora, Colorado Shootings.

Plenty has been said about the horrific shootings in Aurora in the past couple weeks. Violent crime always has the effect of bringing up many different sides of humanity in its response, and while I do have personal opinions on the shootings, it’s deranged perpetrator, and the life needlessly lost, my main one is that it is not my place to say what is the right or wrong position to hold after this tragedy. I only believe in being respectful towards those lost in the event, and those deeply affected by that loss. It’s with great relief that I can say that DC has followed in that notion, by postponing an issue of a comic, that apparently has scenes in it that could hit close to home for many affected. I’m positive that many who were in attendance at the theater the night of the shooting, were indeed comics fans, and seeing an image so soon could potentially trigger unwanted flashbacks or bring back hard feelings, and at the very least, just be considered poor taste being distributed so soon after a tragedy of this magnitude. While I’m not one for censorship, I am one for recognizing respect, and generally being a decent human being, and being courteous towards other’s feelings. A DC rep had a similar statement along those lines to say, when announcing the postponement.

Via [Newsarama]

“Out of respect for the victims and families in Aurora, Colorado DC Entertainment has made the decision to postpone the release of Batman Incorporated #3 for one month because the comic contains content that may be perceived as insensitive in light of recent events. We request that retailers do not make this issue available as previously solicited. Its new on sale date is August 22, 2012. This includes all versions of Batman Incorporated #3, previously set to go on sale 7/25 and arriving at retail on Tuesday 7/24 and Wednesday 7/25.”

Chris Burnham, artist on the book, said on twitter of the delay, “The book printed on time. I’m looking at a copy on my desk right now. This isn’t a scheduling excuse, we’re trying to do the right thing. it’s not just a Batman comic with guns in it. There’s a specific scene that made DC & the whole Bat-team say ‘Yikes.’ Too close for comfort.”

Chris Burnham’s comments in particular are the most notable, since the actual content of the book itself is the reason for the postponing, rather than a simple observance of the tragedy’s wake. I myself wonder what the actual scene he’s referring to is, but regardless, the gesture is one that has merit, and in my opinion, seems truthfully sincere. It’s easy to be cynical nowadays and paint this up as some kind of bizarre public relations damage control, and to that, I suggest trying a spoonful of humble pie, to put your adult pants on, and try to gain some empathy. I’ve seen too many people trivialize this gesture, and the tragedy itself for foolish reasons, or to promote an agenda, and I simply suggest try having a sincere outlet of emotion and feeling for those lost and hurt by the shooting first. After that, then we can go back to making dick jokes.

Grant Morrison Leaving Action Comics and Batman Inc – And Sooner Than We’d All Like.

[CBR] has a pretty great interview with Grant Morrison, wherein he speaks a lot about many different subjects, ranging from his new book ‘Happy!’, his non-fiction analytical book ‘Supergods’, and even being named a Member Of The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire, which I didn’t even know was a thing, and I’m still uncertain if it’s actually even real. But for me, the most interesting thing was seeing him comment on his run on Action Comics and Batman Inc, as both of those books have been excellent standouts amongst his legion of brilliant superhero work, and certainly highpoints of The New 52 as well.

CBR: I think a lot of people are surprised that you’ve remained dedicated to writing superhero comics for this long. Did you always foresee a waning of that work, or did it sneak up on you that “I’m not sure if I need to write anymore superhero stories”?

Morrison: The idea was always that I’d keep doing it as long as it gave me a lot of pleasure and allowed me to express myself . And it still does, but I can see the end coming closer. I’m coming to the end of long runs and stories I’ve had planned in my notebooks for years and the stuff I’m developing now is quite different.

The “Action Comics” run concludes with issue #16, “Batman Incorporated” wraps up my take with issue #12, and after that I don’t have any plans for monthly superhero books for a while. “Multiversity” is eight issues and I’m 30-odd pages into a Wonder Woman project but those are finite stories.

I’m not saying that I’ll never write superheroes again. It’s just that my relationship to them has changed especially after finishing the book and I’m not sure if I want to maintain the same kind of relentless level of production.

I’m all for Morrison taking time off writing amazing superhero comics to go write amazing creator owned, original comics. The guy’s work is always interesting, and never bores me, or angers me by insulting my intelligence, *COUGH* MarkMillar *COUGH*, so to hear the guy is still very interested in making his own original content, makes me happy, and it should make you happy too. But go read the whole interview, it’s fascinating.

Comics Industry Booming? Seems So!

That’s the sound of the comics industry punching you in the face.

For a long time, the comics industry was considered floundering, and compared to most other mediums, it was. A best-selling novel can reach millions of copies sold, but a best-selling comic would usually bring in only a few hundred thousand. This was more or less the norm since the last big boom in the 90’s, where variant covers reigned supreme amongst all others, and literally millions of copies were bought by collectors, all eagerly anticipating their value to skyrocket. Of course, when the market is saturated like that, collectibility goes down, and so does value, and that led in part, along with many other factors, to the industry reaching a slump around the turn of the millennium, with a gradual rise over the next 10 years. So now, in 2012, where comics awareness is at an all time high due to the one-two punch of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, as well as the many other successful and well made comics related films in the past few years, (Kick-Ass, Iron Man, etc), and the rampant popularity of The Walking Dead TV show, there is a rising interest in the source material, and that has reflected in the sales of comics in large. Along with that interest, and DC and Marvels big attempts at “reboots”, or “relaunching” or what have you, you’ve got what looks like an industry slowly but steadily getting back it’s legs. Even Diamond CEO Steve Geppi commented on it, at Comic-Con this year.

Via [Publishers Weekly]:

The optimistic tone struck by Geppi was echoed in a panel called “Retail Optimism” in which store owners—Joe Field (Flying Colors Comics, Concord, CA), Carr D’Angelo (Earth-2 Comics, Sherman Oaks, CA), Thomas Gaul (Corner Store Comics, Anaheim, CA), and Calum Johnston (Strange Adventures Bookshop, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)—shared success stories. Field noted that his sales for the first half of 2012 were higher than the last half of 2011. “And the second half tends to be the dominant half,” he said. “It’s an anomaly.”
 
The panel noted that the high quality and diversity of material and growing general interest in comics were fueling the rise in sales. “We run sales reports and not only do I see the per transaction number has changed but, more importantly, we’re seeing traffic increase on a weekly basis,” said D’Angelo. “In our Northridge store we’re having an incredible rise. The number of people buying things each week has gone up. It’s not like this community changed somehow—people found us.”
 
“The pie has gotten bigger,” he concluded.
I could speculate all day about what this could mean for the industry, but really, I’m hoping it means we’ll all continue to get well written stories, delivered to us monthly, in the medium that serves those stories soundly. Serialized stories are a difficult thing to get modern audiences into, who may be more accustomed to what we would call “One Shot” episodes of television ala CSI. A more engaging, difficult series, like… let’s say Lost, is harder for mainstream audiences to get into, due to its continual, serialized method of storytelling that demands your knowledge of its previous stories to understand the current story being told. I use Lost simply because it’s a good example of serialized television succeeding or failing depending on how you look at it, but it’s undeniably comics-like in its range, character, scope, genre and plot. Probably because it was written by comics writers like Brian K. Vaughn and Damon Lindelof. Either way, while serialized storytelling continues to dwindle in other mediums, in comics, it’s thriving nicely.

Hulky Crap! Mcfarlane Spider-Man Cover Gets Auctioned For A ****-load!

It’s still Hulk Spidey. Jeez.
I’ve never been one to buy variant covers, unless they’re the same price as the normal, or are significantly cooler looking. Some people however, LOVE variant covers. Enough to go to auctions to buy them. Enough to shell out THOUSANDS of dollars for them!

$657,250. That’s how much Todd McFarlane’s 1990 Amazing Spider-Man #328 cover is now officially worth, setting a new World Record. The cover, depicting Spider-Man punching the shirt off of Hulk, and declaring himself the new “Strongest One There Is.” Looks like Spidey was right.

At July 26, 2012’s Heritage Auctions’ Signature Comics and Comic Art Auction in Beverly Hills, the single-page black-and-white comic book art drew in the highest value of any American comic art sold at auction. McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1, also from 1990 pulled in a paltry-by-comparison but still high $385,500.

Now while that IS a pretty cool cover, I guess I just don’t love Spider-Man or Todd Mcfarlane enough to even spend over $5 for this cover. I guess I just don’t see the value in it like the buyer must, because I keep looking at it and see another black and white variant. I suppose it’s a testament to the popularity of Spider-Man and Todd Mcfarlane, and a section of fandom I can’t throw myself into full on, since Spider-Man has always been one of the least intriguing superheroes to me.  I know that’s an opinion that not a lot of people share, but it’s one I’ve generally always felt. If I had $657,250, well, I’d probably spend at least $100,000 of it on things that are borderline illegal, and the rest would be split between frivolous ventures and (attempted) smart investments. So maybe the guy who bought this is just like me, and somehow got a million dollars, and decided to go balls out, and waste a cool $650,000 on a single variant comic cover he liked. Now that I think about it, I could see myself doing the same sort of thing for a really cool Superman comic, so ALL PREVIOUS CRITICISM REDACTED! Good Job nameless auction buyer! Huzzah!

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Bomb Droppers Rise! Let’s Talk ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

The Dark Knight Rises is obviously one of the, if not the most, anticipated movies to come out this summer. Everyone is talking about their thoughts on it, and similar to what we did with the group Avengers review, we here at Grizzly Bomb wanted to give this movie the same justice and have a bunch of us review it. Of course, if you haven’t seen the movie, *SPOILER ALERT* so don’t say we did not warn you. You should have watched it anyways so shame on you. If you have not read my review, you can of course click here to check it out, but let’s see what the other authors of the site think of this flick:

Dr. Kronner:

Upon initial viewing I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed. As it turns out though, it’s only because The Dark Knight Rises was not the single greatest film of all time like I expected, but simply just ‘great’. Upon my second viewing I found myself amazed at how much more enjoyable it seemed. It was the same movie I’d seen just 2 nights prior, but without the weight of my lofty expectations heaped on it, the film just seemed more fluid. The issues I had the first time though (Alfred coming off cheesy, Gordon being underused, an unnatural progression between Selina and Bruce) all melted away as I was able to simply enjoy the film.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was just how much I liked JGL and how they handled the boy wonder. He seemed an amalgam of all the Robins. Tim Drake’s detective work, Jason Todd’s aggressiveness, and the wisecracking wisdom of a Dick Grayson. And while he never traveled with the circus, he was an orphan, and he proved us all wrong – Robin, when done correctly, can exist in Nolan’s Gotham. The other thing I really enjoyed that most people disagree with me on is Bane’s voice. I thought it added to his inherent creepiness and really cemented him as a great villain.

The movie on a whole, while still not as strong as The Dark Knight, ultimately did not disappoint, and I have a third trip to the theater planned tomorrow. In hindsight, I’d say this probably edges out The Avengers as my favorite movie of the summer.

SupaScoot:

The Dark Knight Rises was good. But it wasn’t great. Let me rephrase that. TDKR wasn’t the best Batman movie, but it was a hell of great Christopher Nolan film. While I have a few complaints and feel like there were just a few too many leaps of the imagination intended for the audience to take, it was a beautifully filmed and epic undertaking that Nolan pulled off.

Weaving in a ton of different plot points from not only the previous movies but TDKR itself was a monstrous task that required a keen eye and an open mind, but it didn’t pan out fully at the conclusion. However, the one thing I can say about the film without any doubt is that it IS a definite conclusion. A conclusion to the trilogy, to Nolan’s bat-verse, and to Bale’s Bruce Wayne.

Are there things I would change? Absolutely. Are there things I didn’t quite get after my first viewing that were more evident after the second? Absolutely. Is The Dark Knight still the better Batman movie? ABSOLUTELY. Walking out of the theater after both movies were two entirely different feelings of awe. TDK was an excited and passionate victory dance for any Batman fan, while TDKR was a contemplative and cerebral appreciation for a great filmmaker.

Watch TDKR twice. That is my ultimate advice/review. Because everything changes that second time when you realize just exactly what the movie is about, who it’s about, and what The Dark Knight Rises really means.

The Wozz:

Christopher Nolan stepped away from 2008’s insurmountable The Dark Knight for the finale of his Batman saga, and in doing so The Dark Knight Rises feels a lot more like a sequel to Batman Begins than anything else. It’s a wise move because while much focus will be laid on Bane and a handful of contentious twists and plot points, this shift is the necessary fulcrum that bridges two very disparate films into a fluid trilogy. It also brings the story around full circle – The Joker nearly dismantled the idea of ‘the batman’ when he terrorized Gotham eight years ago, and Rises is all about reaffirming the ideals that led to Bruce Wayne’s creation of the batman.

In short, The Dark Knight Rises serves a very precise, mechanical function for Nolan’s Batman legend. It’s just all the more impressive that Nolan layers such a thrilling finale on top of it.

joey123mo:

It all started with Batman Begins, a film that, while not an instant classic, was the beginning of what is now the most significant comic book trilogy in film history. Begins was followed by the now legendary The Dark Knight, which featured a life-altering performance by the late, great Heath Ledger.

What started in 2005 is now finishing in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises, a film that improves on both of its predecessors that ends up being director Christopher Nolan’s true epic masterpiece. The entire cast returns with an entirely new set of faces including the fantastic Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (Catwoman), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, one of the last wholly pure cops in Gotham City.

The villain here is Bane, played perfectly by Tom Hardy, utilizing his eyes and his voice as strengths. The constricting facial mask may be a problem for some, but I thought he was as menacing and terrific as he was in the previews. On top of all that, The Dark Knight Rises is an emotionally resonating story that ends up being the most perfect conclusion to an already near perfect trilogy. There will probably be no superhero trilogy as absolutely amazing as this one. The Dark Knight Rises is the high-point in a trilogy that defied expectations in every way possible.

Tim the Film Guy:

Christopher Nolan really doesn’t make bad films. The Dark Knight Rises was a great film to end the epic trilogy Nolan started with Batman Begins and then made better with The Dark Knight. This film really brings the old school epics such as Ben-Hur with thousands of extras running around on giant sets to the modern era of films. But sadly it was the last of this superhero trilogy and possibly the best adaptation of a comic hero we will ever see.

What I liked about the way Nolan made this film was that it felt like he created a great new story but then merged the tone and feel of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight so that it would feel very much connected with those films which worked as the finale to a great trilogy (If you didn’t get that I liked the Nolan trilogy yet). I will like to see how Nolan’s involvement in the new superman film Man of Steel will impact its realism and more modern retelling of the superman story. Might just go on about Bane’s amazing ability to take control of a room just with the way he stands with confidence, nah you’ll just have to see the film. Finally I would like to say that even though I am sure we will miss Nolan’s Batman I think that it’s great that a superhero franchise can start off as strong as it finishes where so many have failed before and for that I thank Christopher Nolan for his dedication to making all the films himself with such detailed film making.

Woman Friday:

My brain is still trying to wrap around the story, as usual with most of Nolan’s films. I’m either less intelligent than I thought, or he really is that good at weaving together multiple peoples’ stories in one film. On the whole, I quite enjoyed it, but I cannot say it was my favorite out of his trilogy. It didn’t seem quite Batman-y like before. However, I will say this was the first time in quite a while that a film actually caught me off guard (SPOILER!); Miranda Tate’s character development blew my mind, and when I looked at my husband during the final scenes, I realized the same thing was happening in his (and he is a hard one to surprise). Overall, cheers again to Nolan and the ENTIRE film crew and cast for a valid and appreciated interpretation of the Batman legacy.

Cheesebadger:

Christopher Nolan has permanently changed the face of Superhero films forever. While Batman Begins was the start of a trend of reboots, it has more or less been beneficial to the superhero movie genre, reaching it’s apex with 2008’s The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight was the first time we got to see a beloved comic character in a movie that was GREAT on its own merit, without any added buffer or forgiveness for its comic book pedigree.

This theme is continued with The Dark Knight Rises, however trying to follow such a dramatic change in quality from The Dark Knight’s prequel to sequel jump, inevitably will lead some to find Dark Knight Rises to be disappointing. That being said, DKR is a very good wrap up of the themes from all the other Nolan Batman movies. By no means as mindblowing as Dark Knight, mostly because of some pacing issues, and the lack of a seminal, game changing character interpretation such as Ledger’s Joker, DKR is nonetheless, a very fitting end for the Nolanverse Batman character.

How anyone will attempt to replicate the fascinating, consistently entertaining, and most of all cerebral and intriguing story told throughout this trilogy of movies is baffling. Whoever reboots the new Batman best find a wholly new direction to go in, because the bar is set impossibly high. This is how you end a trilogy, all other Threequels take notice.

Jason.Da.Psycho:

I ain’t no film critic. I don’t judge cinema techniques or shit like that. All I care about is whether if I’m entertained by a movie, and I can gladly report that I was thoroughly entertained.

For TDKR, you get a few action sequences and absolutely phenomenal character developments. Some lines are indeed corny, but 99% of them are great. The twists are there and they can be shocking (though not uncalled for). If there’s any complaint, the story isn’t so “Batman-ish”. Rather, it feels like a conclusion to Nolan’s trilogy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fantastic, and since I am not a comic book fan in the first place, I don’t really care for that flaw.

It’s not better than the second one, but TDKR is undoubtedly one of the best threequels out there. (Note to Bioware: That’s how you setup a potentially depressing and ambiguous ending.)

93 Grizzly Bombs explode out of the 100 possible.

So there you have it. It seems like we all really enjoyed this movie and have a consensus that it was an excellent end. Granted, most, if not all, thought that The Dark Knight was the best of the trilogy, but that should not take away how great this film truly was. Of course we want to know what you guys thought so feel free to comment below your thoughts on whether this film cements this trilogy as one of the best ever or not.

Man of Steel – We Have Two Teaser Trailers

Finally, we get the Man of Steel teaser trailer, and it’s surprisingly poetic for a big action film. The teaser trailers have been given with two versions – one with the narrator being Russell Crowe, who plays Superman’s Kryptonian father ‘Jor-El’. The other one featuring Kevin Costner, who plays ‘Jonathan Kent’. Both trailers will play at the The Dark Knight Rises showings at the cinema, not at the same time though. When I went to see The Dark Knight Rises it showed the Russell Crowe teaser, which I was happy about because its my favorite.

Russell Crowe Version

Kevin Costner Version

What did you think of the teaser? My thoughts are that it was very sweet and down to earth, it looked and felt like it was done similar to Gladiator in the style and realism to the scenes (might have just been Russell Crowe’s Voice over), but never the less very beautiful and touching for superman film trailer. Now they don’t really give you much to off in this trailer so you can’t really get much of a feel for what it’s going to be like. My view is that with Zack Snyder directing and Christopher Nolan producing, we will get a film that is going to be completely different in the way it feels and looks compared to any other ‘Superman’ film before it. Hopefully they can make a ‘Superman’ film that is more relatable to this era than the last.

Grizzly Review: The Dark Knight Rises

There is a moment that caught me off guard in The Dark Knight Rises. Bruce Wayne and his loyal butler Alfred share a moment where a breaking point has been reached. We get a touching speech or plea from Alfred asking Bruce about burying members of the Wayne family, and that he refuses to bury yet another under his watch. I shed a tear. Normally, this might be a normal reaction to an emotional moment in the movie (or if you’re a sissy apparently), but my friends and family have come to know me as one thing: an emotionally dead robot. For a movie to have that impact on someone like me means there is a connection to these characters, to this story, to this trilogy. that resonates deeply to garner such a reaction. I think shows how terrific the storytelling and direction under Christopher Nolan was and is. By the end of this movie, the journey is over and I am relieved that it is over. Not because of how overwhelmed I am after 165 minutes of this roller coaster ride, but because it had to end. There was nowhere else to go. In that, we have both the strength and the flaw of the movie.

It has been eight years since the death of Harvey Dent and the disappearance of “The Batman”. He has taken the fall for the crimes committed by the horribly disfigured Dent/Two-Face and in the common theme of the movies is symbolism. Batman was supposed to be the symbol of justice, the right overshadowing the wrong, the hero that emerges from the dark shadows to bring stability in bad times. However the question that plagues the minds of Commissioner Gordon and Batman is that they have perpetuated this lie, that the peace time that has occupied Gotham City is based on an ideal that should not exist, and how does that make it right? Does the end justify the means? The movie investigates this idea and its effect on the citizens of this (seemingly) thriving city. There are obvious political and social overtones, but for now, let’s finish this synopsis just to set the table. We get introduced to Bane right off the bat (yes, went there, deal with it) as you can tell that he is the man with the plan in an awesome sequence involving a new take on hijacking airplanes. You also see the blind faith that his minions put into the man with the mask, not unlike those that put their faith into Batman when he first emerged. He obviously has his sights set on Batman and Gotham City. Bruce Wayne, on the other hand, is a broken man, a Howard Hughes recluse that no one has seen in years, merely a symbol himself like his alter ego. Only when he meets Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) does his suit beckon him once again. It is then that he realizes the danger yet to come.

I will say it is hard to write a review on a movie that people need to witness themselves, because I think everyone will have a different reaction to it, so I will not go into further details of the plot. That way you can jump into it and draw your own conclusions. Lets talk about the cast. Bale is always good, consistent in his quest for a purpose, especially in trying fight for his city and rising (Boom) to the challenge throughout the movie. Michael Caine is in a smaller role, but is still equally powerful as Wayne’s confident/father figure. The exchanges the two of them have will be sorely missed once the final reel rolls off the projector. Gary Oldman is always good, but really comes off great as man struggling with the lie. In trying to find the justice in his actions, in a city of legacy built by deception. Morgan Freeman is good as well, but you probably want to find out how the newbies did. Let us start with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, as the idealistic cop who gets an audience with Commissioner Gordon. He did a fine job in playing understated, if not determined police officer trying to hold on to hope in a city of despair and confusion.

The girl duo of Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway also did a great job in providing characters for both Bruce Wayne and Batman respectively to play off of. Hathaway (who, thankfully, is never referred to as Catwoman at all in the entire movie), brings a certain sass in a woman trying to run from her past and the determination to make sure she always gets her way. That and that suit on that bike. Holy crap.

Of course now we get to Bane. Tom Hardy does an admirable job as the most effin’ evil friggin’ villain I have seen dominate the screen in a long time. He just resonates pure evil and man, I wanted to see Batman kick his ass back into 1993. While not as good as Ledger as the Joker (who would be?), Hardy does terrifically in being the ‘voice’ of the oppressed, yet bringing an insane vibe in that muffled delivery of his (which is not as big of an issue understanding him as everyone made it out to be). This is a man on a mission, where no one can get in his way and that look in his eyes, pretty much the only other thing we can see Hardy emote with, is terrifying. It also comes off as purposeless, however because you want to know why he gets to be such a dick but it never really gets explained in a meaningful manner. I got Bane being the unbeatable villain, but what I really wanted was why he turned into such a monster. If Bruce Wayne could get to the point where he sees nothing but vengeance, why not see the reason why Bane followed that path of refusing to be beatable? A minor quibble but one that bugged me throughout the movie.

The movie itself is a clinic in why Christopher Nolan is one of the best storytellers out there. Visually, the picture is beautiful, and does not need 3D or any of that garbage that Nolan refused to do. The pacing is a bit slow in the first hour, but let us face it, eight years have passed, there must a slow burn to the process in catching up with our favorite Gothamites. Every sequence carries a purpose in the movie, and nothing is wasted. The music by Hans Zimmer also is beautiful yet demanding. It takes a hold of you and carries you from scene to scene, and provides the best mood setting in the trilogy in my opinion. It also tends to overpower the dialogue but that might be a result of the theater as opposed to sound editing. It is still friggin’ epic as all hell.

Obviously we all know this is the last of the trilogy so there was a set plan for this to end. While it is good that Nolan and Co. have decided to have a distinct end to their take on the Bats, I feel that it suffered in the same regard. We all see it coming and I felt no shock value of the path of Batman and his journey to ‘rise’. In fact, I felt rushed along towards the end in order to wrap up certain storylines. As product of the hype machine, I understand having the most anticipated movie come into town that we all have been guessing what the proper ending should be. We were all probably looking for the conclusion to be foreshadowed in the movie and unfortunately, I felt became formulaic during the whole movie. After all, it is a superhero movie so there are certain rules the film must follow. However, it is only minor distraction because it does the formula justice. The movie felt predictable and somewhat pretentious at some points. It wanted to throw us off the path by slipping in random events or characters that seemed to dissolve as the movie went on. Granted, it was not so blatant that I felt Nolan was trying to ‘Shyamalan’ us (the act of throwing in crap to throw people off the scent despite having to do with the twists and turns the movie may offer up), but it did not help with the aforementioned slow pacing. However, this movie still ranks better than 95% of the movies out there this year and these minor problems in my mind, but so comes with the territory of following the best movie of the trilogy (Obviously now determined to be The Dark Knight).

Again, I want to offer up that this is one of the top 3 movies I have seen this year. It is a great movie and proves that the trilogy idea of having a beginning, middle, and concise ending to a set of stories is the way to go. Nolan and Bale have made their mark in not only comic book movie history, but in the cinema world on how to tackle a character and setting in the modern world. The expectations were extremely high and they have met them. I do wish it was exceeded, but it did its job. It did not overwhelm and did not (thank the lord) underwhelm. Go see the movie, go love the movie, and see what it does for you. Go shed a tear too while you are at it, you might not see another trilogy tackled as masterfully as this one.

And please don’t go check out This Is Not The Dark Knight Rises Review. You’ll be glad you didn’t.

Christopher Nolan Declines ‘Justice League’ Movie

Christopher Nolan has been a busy man. He has got the conclusion of the best comic book movie trilogy coming to an end next week. He just got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also serving as producer to Man of Steel, the new Superman movie due out next year, which is also getting its big unveiling at Comic-Con later this week. Obviously in doing press, his future plans have been asked along with his producing role on Man of Steel and the enormous success of The Avengers, and his involvement with the Justice League movie. His response?

Nope, I’m good.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Nolan says he has zero plans for the Justice League movie.

“No, none at all. We’re finished with all we’re doing with Batman. This is the end of our take on this character.” He also goes on to say he has no intention to be involved with any future Batman movie projects. “Batman will outlive us all, and our interpretation was ours. Obviously, we consider it definitive and kind of finished. The great thing about Batman is he lives on for future generations to reinterpret, and obviously, Warners will have to decide in the future what they’re going to do with him,” Nolan said. “We’ve had our say on the character. I’ve got no plans to do anything more, and certainly, no involvement with any Justice League project.”

Obviously this news is disappointing but at least he is sticking to his guns. I think trilogies are pretty much the way to go because you do not want movies to overstay their welcome and characters to become stagnant. Especially superhero movies where you get origin story, defining moment that results in epiphany on their responsibilities to the world, then the final test that validates their existence… and past that? It’s just retread. There needs to be a beginning, a middle, and an end. The idea of reboots annoys me, but we see it in comic books all the time where people have their take on the characters. It may disrupt what we know but you cannot help but acknowledge that the expansion on the character due to different writing perspectives reinvigorates the genre and the game plan (see: The Amazing Spider-Man movie). You never want to wear out the welcome or be the one getting kicked out of the party. You want to leave while everyone screams how epic that was.

That is how Nolan wants to leave it and while I would love for his take Justice League, it would not make sense for his Batman perspective, something that is rooted in reality, to be mixed with Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern. It is just not in the same universe of his thinking. Plus any original material from Nolan would be gold. Like I said, good job sticking to his guns and Warner Bros. embracing the trilogy idea instead of shoving the same drivel down our throats repeatedly.