Dan Pipito Reviews: The Dark Knight Rises
Let me start by saying, that this is really my first review. Sure, I’ve chimed in on some of Rick’s past reviews, but this is really my first solo article. For comic continuity I run everything by Rick. See, I recognize story lines, and the names of the masked and unmasked, but I’m not close to knowing who or what should and shouldn’t be. I do get excited when I see something on screen that I can relate to, and think “wow is what I think going to happen really going to happen?”
At 4:30 this AM I was pretty much all smiles. I love Batman and as a character I want this vigilante in my city to clean up the filth on the streets. Chris Nolan on the past three films has put a dark, realistic spin on Bats and his comic world, and I give a thumbs up to him on his trilogy. His character designs for the enemies are everything I wanted: A mysterious and magical, but lethal Ra’s Al Ghul; A Scarecrow that literally made me cringe and feel as if I was poisoned by his twisted vision; A criminal and scarred up cameo of Mr. Zsasz; The Joker, a dark, sadistic and menacing smile that wouldn’t hesitate to off any “schemer” that steps on his line; Harvey Dent “Two Face” that was driven mad only to show his true black and white colors; And now… The Dark Knight Rises.
I’m going to start this review and try to keep it short. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone, since in these Nolan films the first time is the absolute best. This stays true, I feel, to this trilogy rap up. (If you would like spoilers, check out my brother’s review in a day or two after he sees this.) I wasn’t sure where the story would go, but going into the movie I knew Bane was the one who would “break the Batman.” In the comic book story arc I believe the Batman did make it back into the field, after having someone else take up the cape and cowl. He was crippled. Bruce Wayne later began to take on an apprentice who would become a Batman “Beyond the Dark Knight”. See what I did there? Batman Beyond? Anyway, I digress.
The cinema takes this all in a new direction but uses characters and villains from the same universe. As for design and I look at comic book movies with visual critique. I know what my eye likes to see; from costuming, to special effects and practical effects. Here I feel that Nolan truly shines. The use of digital effects is warranted and I, as an artist from a traditional background, respect this. His set design and and props make for a believable universe that may indeed exist in our neighboring city. Mass amounts of extras used to fill the rioting streets, rather that a programmed mob of A.I. bots leaves Gotham City a living breathing city.
I really enjoy all of the iterations of Batman; from classic blue and gray, to the Burtonesque Dark Knight, and I feel that this Dark knight had a great concept. It used found applied sciences of Wayne tech to develop an armor that could protect and help instill fear into his enemy. However something with the cape and cowl just doesn’t quite flow well, shouldn’t this be one piece and shouldn’t Batman’s head not look like a bobble head ( a bit over exaggerated I know )? In the performance of Mr. Wayne I like this version, but Christian Bale makes Batman a scratchy, growley out of breath weirdo dressed in Halloween costume. Really? did we have to continue this? I did vote on Scrypt comics’ post that Kevin Conroy was the only real Batman. Check that post out here: https://scryptcomics.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/who-is-the-real-dark-knight/
Overall batman is still kick ass. And Sexy…Catwoman… Right? That goes together. Well in my not so eagerness to see Anne Hathaway play a seductive comic icon, I feel she did a great job. I loved her character in that she was always Catwoman, whether in tights or as Selina Kyle. She kicked bad guy and good guy butt and it’s always great to see the Batman and Catwoman’s unique relationship. As for her costume design, tight tights are always great, and so is being a cat burglar in high heels. Her headdress was to tech’d out for me though. In my mind you can’t beat the Arkham City Catwoman, they could’ve shot for a closer resemblance in my book.
Bane.. Well he’s no puffy, yellow, venom filled Shuemaker suit, but really for Nolan’s world, his design was great. He was believable. He was strong. And he had a mask, that they really didn’t get into, but I would assume could lead to his need for the super juice venom that pulsed through him. As for his Jeremy Irons like voice, sure I can get buy that. It made him intelligent, and not some thug that was just all muscle. He had a voice and made him a solid character that you wanted to watch Destroy Batman.
There are some other characters, but I’ll let you decide on their presence. (Again, read Rick’s coming review, as I’m sure he’ll mention some spoilers.) Next are the vehicles. I’ve never really cared for these supe’d up, future military, clunky Batmobile/wing/motorcycle. In my eyes, these are really the only things that take from the Gotham that Nolan built. You’ll see. I kinda felt like I was watching Matrix sequels for a second and maybe I’m being harsh, but what ever happened to the cool sleek designs of Bat vehicles?
Over all this movie was a blast. Nolan and his team do well to tell a story, and to produce a film even. I feel that unlike other comic book films they really think out a plot, and whether it be directly from the comics or not, the liberties taken just help make the universe of the Dark Knight live on. I will be seeing it again down the road, and hope that it breaks the trend of very little re-watchability. On closing, go watch The Dark Knight Rises. I wouldn’t bother if it’s presented in 3D but it was shot in IMAX; so give that a whirl and enjoy. Here’s to the end of a Nolan trilogy. I thank him, the cast, and crew for giving us a fun ride.