We have been hearing a ton of rumors for everything related to Marvel Studios recently, whether it’s Vin Diesel’s possible upcoming role in the MCU, or a star for Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, so today’s rumors can be added to those as possible or possibly not going to happen.
So, 2012 is long over and as a whole it wasn’t the strongest year for movies in memory (though certainly better than 2011 was). With the 85th Oscars coming up this Sunday, we thought we’d share with you our favorite movies of the year. What follows is a list of 12 movies from last year that Scott Fraser, Chris Tansuche, and I came up with after much debate and slap fighting. These are the films we feel most deserve your viewing time. Now these aren’t the ones we expect to dominate the awards season, but rather the stuff we found to be most enjoyable. As well made as Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln were, repeat viewings in the near future aren’t likely. This is a list of the films that we deem are worth consideration of your hard-earned DVD/BluRay purchasing dollar…
In 2005, two movies came out that forced me to the theater several times – and neither of them took place in a ‘galaxy far far away’. They were of course Batman Begins, which I saw four times and further solidified my love for Gary Oldman, and Sin City, which I attended three days in a row opening weekend.
As soon as the movie started with Josh Hartnett’s voice-over, I loved everything about it. From the visuals, the way Marv flung people through windows, to Brittany Murphy’s 1940s style delivery and Jessica Alba as a stripper; it was entirely amazing. Rumors about a sequel started almost immediately after that and it seemed like we were in for a whole franchise. Flash forward seven years and things are just now moving forward and out of the rumor stage.
Yeah, I know. That is clearly a picture of JGL as Nightwing and not Batman. Sorry, but I’ve been waiting a while to use that fan-made picture, so deal with it. I also know that I got your hopes up with the title only to immediately shatter them afterwards. You are not alone in this feeling. Earlier in the week some rumors started to fly that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would don the cape and cowl to portray Batman in Warner Bros. upcoming Justice League. Now I use the term upcoming very loosely, because we have all been through this before with a Justice League movie so I’m not putting too much stock into it getting made anytime soon.
Well I’m really glad that the last episode of SNL, hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was good because this week it was just awful. I don’t know that awful is even strong enough a word for how bad this episode was. Usually I make two lists; one of good sketches, and another of bad sketches. This week there was not even an entire sketch in the good category, just one name. And it certainly wasn’t Daniel Craig’s.
Obviously, the cold open had to do with the debate. It was nice to see Chris Parnell back as the ineffective Jim Lehrer, but man alive this sketch was weak. Jay Pharaoh’s Obama impression is getting better but if the material and sketches don’t improve, I’d rather have Fred Armisen back as Commander-in-Chief. The monologue was just bad. Dear writers; if the phrase “I love this song but don’t know the name, can someone Shazaam it for me?” is what passes as a good joke these days, there is a problem. The catcalling construction workers wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad. It was just there and what seems to be a trend this season so far, it didn’t know when to quit. The “Bond Girls” fauxmercial was okay. I did enjoy Diane Keaton and Taran Killam in bed together. There was a moment where I was wondering how many people out there watching would remember Lea Salonga and then was really confused when they kept going back to her. I’m ashamed to admit I even wondered out loud, “has Lea Salonga even done anything on tv or been in a movie recently?” Well as a matter of fact the last tv/movie thing she did was the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables in 2010. My confusion only increased.
All that said- I’m an idiot. For it wasn’t Lea Salonga they were talking about at all. Rather it was that chick from Glee, Lea Michele. Once I realized that, those parts of the sketch made a lot more sense. They weren’t any better, but they made sense at least. Another sketch about the debate in which Jason Sudeikis was hysterical as a sleep deprived Chris Matthews. Keenan Thompson is always fun as Al Sharpton but overall the sketch was a bore.
The happy Republican girl who said nothing but how happy she was this week was amusing in her simplicity. Next up was the pre-recorded “Long Island Medium” sketch and if there was a highlight of the night, this was probably it. That’s saying a lot. Kate McKinnon played the reality tv “star” who makes a living going up to random people and telling them about their loved ones who died. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen the show so I don’t know how spot on it was, but it was funny. Bobby Moynihan as the subject of one of the medium’s not-quite-so-accurate readings was the first time I laughed.
Unfortunately Bobby went from making me laugh to making me unintentionally impersonate my dog when he cocks his head to the side and gives me that “what the hell have you been smoking woman?” look. Seriously, what on earth was up with that space station sketch? It was just awkward and weird and I’m usually a fan of awkward and weird but it was not working for me. At all. It was interesting to hear an entire audience simultaneously let out an “awwww” when Fuzz Aldrin appeared. Thank god there was a cute cat because otherwise that sketch was a goner.
Musical Guest Time! It was Muse and they were good. During the first song though I could not get past the fact the dude was playing an ipad. Seriously.
I don’t know why I was surprised, hell you can damn near perform brain surgery nowadays after watching a few YouTube videos but this guitar/bass/iPad thing he had going was just fascinating to me. If I learned nothing else on Saturday Night it was this- America still loves Big Bird. I mean, who can blame us? Follow That Bird was one of the greatest movies of its time. Put Big Bird on Weekend Update? The tv watching nation will go nuts.
Did you know that Big Bird is on twitter? Well he sort of is, he just tweets through the general Sesame Street account though. Sharing is a big thing on Sesame Street. Did you also know that Grizzly Bomb is on twitter? Of course we are! After Weekend Update I’m pretty sure Lorne Michaels spontaneously burst into flames and the entire cast was too distracted by it to actually put forth the effort to make the rest of the show watchable.
“Sorry Lot We Are” was just horrendous. When you are making references to movies that have been dead and gone for quite some time (The Full Monty and the even more obscure, Waking Ned Divine) people are going to start to think you are phoning it in. Even more aggravating was this was the first time we got to see Aidy Bryant do more than one short line. I had started to wonder if she was even on the show anymore because we’ve seen plenty of Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson but unfortunately not much of Ms. Bryant. If “man in drag awkwardly rubbing themselves against other cast member” hadn’t been done in the last episode, it might have been better received this week. Then again, there is only so much of Fred Armisen’s crotchtal region that I want to see, so maybe not.
Apparently Fred’s crotch was the last straw because after another performance by Muse, it was a repeat of the “Undecided Voters” sketch from last week and that was all she wrote. Thank the angels and saints in heaven above. So all that was in my bad/not good column. The only thing in my good column? Kate McKinnon. She was all over this episode and even though it looked as if Vanessa McBrayer was being groomed as the next Kristin Wiig, Ms. McKinnon seems ready for that role. Despite the entire episode sucking as a whole, she had some bright moments. I’m looking forward to see her performances as the season goes on.
To sum up: episode was bad, Daniel Craig is pretty but should stay away from sketch comedy, Big Bird is a fan favorite, and I’m trying to forget this show happened and just look forward to October 13th when Christina Applegate hosts with musical guest Passion Pit.
There’s a moment in the beginning of the movie when the old Tri-Star logo popped up on-screen. Upon viewing that, (along with the approval head nod of Kronner who was sitting next to me), I knew this was going to be a satisfying experience. The hype machine has been building on the Rian Johnson written and directed flick starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so it could have been a giant letdown after what seemed to be a lackluster summer in terms of enjoyable movies with substance. Luckily, the 118 minute time bender is exactly what the doctor ordered. This movie kicked my ass (in a good way) and all I want is another go around in order to get that wondrous feeling back again.
Looper follows Joe (JGL) as a hitman/junkie trying to save up his money and skip town to live it up in France. He’s good at this job, but he knows there are certain…expectations when it comes to his future. You see kids, in the future, time travel is used by the mob to dispose of bodies. They send the targets/victims to the past where the Loopers, the hitmen from the past, shoot them as soon as they appear. The Loopers also collect their fair share of silver for each of these hits. Not bad for loitering in a random spot waiting for a target to appear out of nowhere to shoot at. However, because of the danger in the future of what these Loopers know, there comes a point and time where the Loopers will have their loop “closed”. Basically that means that once your contract is up, you have 30 years before your future self is sent back to be blunder-bussed as well. It’s a harsh price to pay but at least they pay you handsomely in gold and drugs so you can get over it quite quickly. Unless you’re Bruce Willis of course.
That’s right, Bruce Willis shows up and he’s the older version of Joe. When Young Joe sees Old Joe, he ends up making the fatal mistake of letting his ‘Loop’ escape. Old Joe doesn’t want to die and he’s on the mission to take down the guy closing the loops in the future: The Rainmaker. Young Joe is more like, eff that, I want my life in France (or China, depending on whose advice he takes), so now he’s charged with making sure his life proceeds as scheduled instead of be ruined by his future self. Still following? Hopefully I did an okay job because reading that back gave me a headache. Let’s just break it down by saying the story is great and it makes sense enough when you watch it all unfold on-screen as opposed to having some reviewer telling it to you secondhand. It does remind of Inception (starring JGL as well) in terms of the levels/timelines that it juggles, but the writing still keeps the pacing good without being bogged down by exposition. It does not insult the viewer, nor does it baby them at the same time.
It also might seem like familiar ground because it terms of the look, the style of writing and plot, it reminds me a lot like Brick. Obviously it should because it had both JGL and Rian Johnson behind that awesome movie. But the way that the camera moves and pans, it’s such a beautiful motion and nothing seems forced. The director throws small details in each shot that caught my attention, yet without distracting the viewer from the main action. He also does a terrific job of showing off his vision of this future while still allowing his actors to take their moments to shine, thus showing a trust between the director and his actors that one wouldn’t expect from a time travel/sci-fi flick. On that note, the look reminds more of an indie flick than a big budget action one. The movie does share special effects and lens flare (which apparently is a must for Sci-Fi flicks nowadays) but it builds as more a character drama, in everyone finding their ambitions and the true nature of what drives them. There are a few wonderful images of tantrums gone wrong that come off as frightening involving a kid that stuck with me. The build up and pacing is amazing and I can’t gush anymore about Johnson’s eye and creativity. As a lower budget flick, there are a few moments where the effects struggle to match up to what we are used to coming from these types of movies, but that is such a minor point, it really only bears mentioning considering the glut of 200 million dollar action flicks that have zero watchability because the story sucks underneath the guise of pretty effects.
The cast is superb and it begins with JGL. Effin’. Amazing. It’s to the point where if Premium Rush came out now, I would go check it out. The fact that he shows up as a different character each time and is able to inhabit different personalities and emotional aspects to where he cannot be pigeonholed into any stereotype really shows how much he has grown and matured into one of the better actors of our generation. Obviously, everyone wants to talk about how he looks like Bruce Willis. Well folks, he doesn’t just look like Bruce Willis, he IS Bruce Willis.
They manage make him look like a younger clone of him and it is not distracting to the viewer. JGL melts into Joe to where it never becomes an issue and you fully buy into him looking a bit like his older counterpart. Bruce Willis is also great as Old Joe as he still has that punk mentality that JGL shows yet is a damaged man trying to find a remedy to his sins, sometimes by the committing the most foul means possible. Emily Blunt is great as a woman protecting her interests that takes Young Joe in when they cross paths. Jeff Daniels is awesome as Abe, the boss of the Loopers in the current time, who is from the future who deals out orders and comments to his soldiers to make sure it sticks in his subjects’ (and the audience’s) minds. Everyone’s wonderful more or less.
My advice: Watch it. I loved the movie and I’m curious what Rian Johnson will be involved with next. He is able to build a story that does not patronize his audience and yet gives it weight in order to have it linger on their minds well after leaving the theater. JGL is also a movie star now. Give him whatever he wants, he can not do wrong. Unless he’s dressing up as a girl on an SNL sketch. That I could’ve lived without.
After last week’s strong premiere, I was looking forward to this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live, and thankfully it did not disappoint. This week’s host was a man having a very busy year- Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The cold open featured Jay Pharoah again, but surprisingly, not as Obama, but rather Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa’s new cohost. Can’t say it was good. I suppose it wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t good. Bill Hader as a brooding Robert Pattinson was funny, just not funny enough to save the sketch. I will say though, as a fan, it is really fun to see when featured players become full cast members. You would think I had birthed some of them given how proud I get when they make that leap.
When the monologue first started, I’ll admit to getting a little nervous. It was very rushed and the jokes just fell flat.
And then this happened. Oh yes, apparently Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s favorite movie of the summer was none other than Magic Mike. The dance/strip scene came out of nowhere and was appreciated by womenfolk/some menfolk all across the country. Bobby Moynihan and his second vest literally made me laugh out loud.
With the first “commercial”, I began to wonder if we are ever going to see Aidy Bryant for more than a few seconds. The “Undecided Voters” featured both Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson. It wasn’t as funny as it was sad- we all know there are people out there who could fit perfectly in this sketch.
The real question everyone (okay maybe not everyone, but I certainly was) is who is Albert? Some random guy was in the sketch as Albert who wondered where his power cord was. Random guy is random.
Next up was the first of two, “Son of the Most Interesting Man in the World”. I so desperately wanted to like this and it had its moments but overall it just got old. The premise was strong, the execution was a little tired.
Bill Hader as a caricature drawing P.I. was all right, a little odd but then again, this is Bill Hader we are talking about.
Next up was my favorite sketch of the night- “The Hypnotist”. There are many times when I’m watching tv that I’ll look away/do something else and just continue with the show by listening. I am so glad I did not do that with this sketch because I would have completely missed it. Set up was Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a two-bit hypnotist doing a show in some small hotel. It reminded me of Kevin Kline at the beginning of Soapdish.
The moment that Taran Killam lifted his head to tell the audience that he was not hypnotized, I was sold. And thankfully they found the right length of time to let that one go and it was just gold. Killam in his tighty whitey’s as a hot lady dinosaur dry humping Keenan Thompson? Yes, please.
Another commercial this time for the GOB tampons featuring Vanessa McBrayer. Predictable, but amusing.
Musical guest this week was Mumford and Sons and thank you sweet jesus they were a thousand times better than Frank Ocean. This could be simply because I am a fan of Mumford and Sons and not Frank Ocean but I didn’t fall asleep this week, so who knows.
Weekend Update was on fire this week. The best friends of the “evil dictator of the week” were on and they are entertaining but featured player, Kate McKinnon stole the show with her Ann Romney impression. I think my new favorite line is “Apple Picking: It’s like Mormon Mardi Gras.”
Who would have thought that Ann Romney was such a big fan of Beyonce?
Mumford and Sons returned, this time as a Beatles cover band called “Hey Dudes”. This was one of those sketches where you fully expected Andy Samberg to jump in at any moment. Outside of a forced Jerry Sandusky joke, it was all right. The real fun of the sketch for me was just watching the actors enjoy it. The “walk out into the audience while singing” was a bit hokey, but I like hokey so I was all over it.
The last three sketches of the night were sadly not very good. Remember last week when I was so excited that the last sketch didn’t suck? The same can not be said of this week. “The Finer Things” was the winner of the bunch- mainly due to Bobby Moynihan as “Teddy Graham” and Jay Pharoah modeling with a Hermes purse. The singing parents sketch was only saved from complete failure by the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a surprisingly good-looking woman. There was no saving “Powers Realty”. Flying wangs drawn on real estate ads is far from new, creative, or funny.
The goodbye’s were cut short, which is annoying, but it’s live tv so what can you do?
Overall? Even though there were some sketches that just did not work for me, I actually enjoyed this episode much more than the premiere. Why? I really like it when the host appears to just be another cast member. Seth MacFarlane was always reading cue cards and was obviously out of his element. Joseph Gordon-Levitt however, fit right into sketches like he does it every week. Perhaps he picked up some tips from the fabulous Jane Curtin while on 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Next week is a rerun of the season 37 finale (with Mick Jagger and Kristin Wiig’s farewell) but will return on October 6th with host Daniel Craig and musical guest Muse.
Premium Rush kind of looks like one those films that I would normally pass over, but with a cast including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, I will actually give this a chance and I hope it does well. I haven’t seen a bad film which stars Joseph so my hopes are high there. The film centers on a New York City bicycle messenger (JGL) who picks up an envelope from Columbia University. A dirty cop (Shannon), desperate to get his hands on the envelope, chases the messenger around the city. It’s sounds basically like Citizen Kane with bikes!
Here’s the trailer:
Its looks like high-octane fun on bikes. “Got a name, got family…people who care if they see you again?” That’s what we like to hear from a bad guy, and I think Michael Shannon will easily do a great job as a corrupt cop (see his work on Boardwalk Empire).
Here’s a Behind the Scenes Featurette
All I can say is that director David Koepp has some balls letting his main actors do some of that stuff, because I mean look at Josephs arm at the end of that video. I didn’t expect this film to feature so many of the actors doing their own stunts, especially when it was shot using real traffic, because that seems to be insanely dangerous. On the other hand…if they die for the entertainment of the viewing public, that would show great devotion to their craft.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.