Monday, August 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: More Thoughts

I finally got the chance to see The Dark Knight Rises in real IMAX at the Henry Ford in Dearborn this weekend.  It is definitely worth the extra money.  They say the IMAX makes you feel like you're in the movie, which isn't actually true but pretty close.  In the opening scene where Bane is escaping from the CIA plane and the other plane pulls him out while the CIA one goes crashing to the ground, I actually felt some real vertigo.  Another shot where you're looking down from above on Gotham made me a little nauseous.  With 10,000 watts of sound you can understand Bane a little better, plus sometimes the floor beneath your feet will shake, and the soundtrack with all those Teutonic horns and drums sounds amazing.

There were some drawbacks too.  For one thing the screen is SOOOOO BIG that sometimes it's hard to pay attention to more than just the center of the screen.  A few of the scenes not shot in IMAX looked a little fuzzy.  And since the images are so big, people's little imperfections show more.  I mean the wart or boil or whatever on Christian Bale's nose and on Marion Cotillard's forehead were probably as big as my car.

Still, if you're close to a real IMAX theater you should definitely go soon before this movie stops playing there.  It is totally worth the extra money.  And really at the Henry Ford it probably wasn't more than going to an evening showing of a 3D movie in a normal theater.  Only hey no clunky glasses.  Sweet.

Some other random stuff that's come up since my last review:

  • A few weeks ago Roger Ebert linked to this article by fellow film critic Jim Emerson where he was lambasting The Dark Knight Rises and most notably the camera work on it.  My thought was, "So the fuck what?"  Look, normal slobs like me don't sit around analyzing every shot of the freaking movie.  The only time I care about cinematography is if it's distracting in some way.  Like when I talked about "Jeff Who Lives at Home" I hated the herky-jerky zooming.  Not long ago I saw this "Rampart" movie where for a meeting between 3-4 characters they literally had the camera spinning for like three minutes, which would have been a thousand times worse on IMAX--I probably would have puked.  Otherwise no one except film critics or film students give a shit.  Stuff like that is actually why normal people don't like critics.
  • I mentioned the soundtrack earlier, but I really liked the soundtrack to this one better than "The Dark Knight."  Bane had a cool theme with those big drums pounding and Selina Kyle had a neat theme too with the tinkling piano.  I can't really remember much about the music to the last one, whether the Joker or Two-Face had much of a theme.
  • Something I was talking with Tony Laplume about on one of his blogs was how Robin (Detective Blake) is sort of a combination of different comic book Robins.  I pointed out how his background with his mother dying and later his father dying by gangsters was more like the background of Jason Todd, the second Robin.  Tony pointed out that Blake is a lot more focused than Jason Todd, which is more akin to Dick Grayson, the first Robin.  It also occurs to me that Blake goes to Bruce Wayne after figuring out that he's Batman, which I think is more like Tim Drake, the third Robin.  I'm not sure how much of that was intentional or not.
  • While I'm talking about Robin, I think a Nightwing movie would be awesome.  All the pieces are there to keep the Nolanverse going, with Robin Blake taking over.  Of course since Batman is "dead" he'd want to take a new identity and it probably wouldn't be that hard to modify the Batsuit into a Nightwing suit.  You could still have Commissioner Gordon, Lucius Fox, even Alfred if you want.  Come on greedy studio execs, make it happen!
  • Something Tony Laplume mentioned on my Vengeance of Bane post--and other people have said--is how the twist at the end where Miranda Tate is really the mastermind of the scheme marginalize Bane as just hired muscle.  I tend to disagree with that.  I mean we don't discount the bravery or heroism of soldiers on the ground just because a general back in Washington made the plan.  Bane was the one who had to really sell the plan to Daggett, his henchmen, and the people of Gotham and make it work on a tactical level, which makes him more than just a hired thug.  And the relationship between him and Talia/Miranda then is kind of sad and tragic.  BTW, do you think him and Talia ever got it on when they were in the League of Shadows?  How weird would Bane sound in bed?  I mean imagine dirty talk through that Darth Vader mask of his.  There's probably already a YouTube video on it.  If not there should be!  And while I'm at it, how does Bane shave with that thing on his face?  If it hurts so much to take it off, what does he do?
  • Something my sisters, Jim Emerson, others have complained about is why they lied about Harvey Dent in the first place.  Why didn't they just tell the truth eight years ago?  Well really if you think about it, thanks to the Joker, a bunch of people had already died because Batman wouldn't come forward with his true identity.  Do you really think then the people of Gotham are going to believe that Batman was the hero and Harvey Dent--the White Knight--was the villain?  Oh but people can handle the truth, right?  Um, yeah, right.  We're talking about the same country where people still think President Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya.  The lie at the time was better for all concerned.  My sisters also posited why anyone gives a shit about the DA anyway.  I would say in a city as corrupt as Gotham was, any public official who isn't on the take is a breath of fresh air.  When he looks like Aaron Eckhart too, you can see why people were swooning.
  • Another thing people talk about--including me--is the lack of the Joker in the movie.  Someone even drew up an elaborate way they could have worked the Joker into the Blackgate Prison scene, which involved his door being stuck or something.  I think they could have done it a lot easier and just had Gordon or Foley or Blake or someone say, "Whew, I'm glad we transferred the Joker out of Gotham years ago!"  Then the Joker's non-appearance would make sense.  (And seriously, where else but Gotham does a city keep all these violent prisoners for the better part of 8 years anyway?  Most should have been transferred to maximum security prisons upstate a long time ago.)
  • The Chubby Chatterbox Stephen Hayes lamented how little Batman is actually in the movie.  That's a criticism I can understand.  It's also a criticism about the sequel to A Hero's Journey.  I'd like to have Emma doing more Scarlet Knight stuff and less Emma Earl stuff, but that's not really the story, so it's kind of problematic.  The same deal with The Dark Knight Rises I suppose.
  • The Geek Twins pointed out how you should have been able to figure out Bane was not the one who escaped the prison from when he says he didn't see real light until he was already a man.  Which is true.  Why didn't I think of that?  I guess I wasn't paying enough attention.  I pointed out you also get a clue as to Miranda Tate's identity when at the fancy party she tells Bruce Wayne how she wants to bring the world in balance. That was the goal of the League of Shadows if you remember your "Batman Begins."  So if you are paying attention you can figure it out ahead of time.
  • My sister said there are people out there who think the whole end is a dream and Batman actually dies.  What morons.  Someone else decried that the part at the end in the cafe is amateurish because Alfred's fantasy comes true.  Well do the math here.  Alfred told Bruce the fantasy, so Bruce knows Alfred will presumably be there, so what better way to safely show his old butler that he's OK?  I mean phone calls or text messages might be able to be traced.  He could maybe send a letter, if he knew where Alfred was staying and since Alfred is no longer taking care of Wayne Manor, maybe he didn't have a steady address.  My problem with the end is that when they're getting the bomb hooked up there's like 90 seconds left on the clock and somehow Batman gets the bomb all the way through Gotham and safely out of range in that time.  Another example of "movie time" as opposed to real time I suppose. 
  • Someone else (who I guess is an expert on the subject) complained about the prison pit.  Since the rope seems to go almost all the way up, why doesn't Bruce (who's in awesome shape) just climb up the rope to almost the top?  Hurm.  They went on to say that there were plenty of other holds, making the jump pointless.  Well even on an IMAX screen it's hard to judge how sturdy those holds might be or if they're really as prominent as they might seem.  Let's just trust the people who are actually on the ground there in real life.  My problem with it is why does everyone try to make the jump from a complete stop?  Why not go all the way to the far end of the ledge and then run to make the jump?  That always worked in Super Mario Brothers.  I'm just saying.
Anyway, who else has any great observations?

Tuesday is still a Two-Fer, but it's not a very interesting one.  I'm just warning you.


  1. Wow. So much more in depth than any of mine. I didn't like the costume as much. Seems like they should work more on the neck area. I like the look of the bulky one that won't let him turn his head. I don't know how they would fix it - I'm just pointing out that I don't like it as much.

  2. I LOVED the film. Seriously, the BEST yet. ;)

    Nice review!

  3. 1) I didn't mind the lack of the Batman in costume. There was plenty of Bruce Wayne and a lot of what makes the Batman interesting to me is his intelligence, figuring out things, and overcoming things. That's why I read the books. Bruce Wayne is super smart.

    2) Loved the music. You are spot on with that.

    3) Okay, I need to go see it in IMAX again.

    4) The Batman didn't die. He put the dumb plane on auto-pilot and then bailed when the plane went through that building. That was his plan all along.

    1. I think he was in The Bat a little longer than that. I mean it's getting over the water when they do a closeup of him still in the cockpit--unless the cockpit ejected along with him. Though as a practical matter I'd have thought he'd want to make sure it got out of the city before he bailed out just in case the autopilot messed up.

  4. Oh that sounds amazing. There is no imax around here, nearest cinema is a crappy lil thing with two screens, about 30 miles away. I would consider moving though! :)

  5. Great stuff Pat. I never noticed the villain theme music and will have to listen for it. Thanks for the link love! You always have some insightful stuff on comic books.

  6. As far as Bane being revealed as hired muscle, I didn't really say that to dismiss Bane's contributions, but it makes him less clever. Int he comics, he really is the mastermind, so by turning him into Talia's henchman, it does to a certain extent diminish his presence, not all the way to Batman & Robin, but other than coordinating and pulling everything off...he's not the one who came up with it.

    It's another odd little counterpoint to his dynamic with Batman, though. Batman put himself in exile, made himself the villain. Bane was the hero in the Pit, and made himself the villain, doing what the League needed. Originally, Bruce Wayne wasn't such an idealist. He wanted to kill Joe Chill. The mix of intentions and actions made Batman a hero, and Bane a villain.

    Arguably, there's a version of Bane who's a hero in the Nolan narrative without the influence of Talia.

    1. You have to admit it was a nice twist where all the sudden the girl he's come to rescue stabs him and whips out the trigger for the nuclear bomb. Kind of wish Mary Jane had done that in one of the Spider Man movies.

  7. For me, the best part of the movie was the last ten minutes. I love the way they brought Robin into it and I felt the pulse of magic I enjoyed in some of the earlier movies.

  8. "While I'm talking about Robin, I think a Nightwing movie would be awesome... Come on greedy studio execs, make it happen!" My thoughts exactly. So, hoping for this movie.

  9. Hey PT,
    Your detailed account is greatly appreciated. You cover so many facets that go beyond the movie. And Roger Ebert, I didn't even know he was still alive. I remember watching the Siskel and Ebert movie reviews, way back in the eighties when I lived in Canada.
    Thanks for your insight.

  10. The only time I've ever be to an Imax was at the Detroit Science Center years ago. Sad eh? The Henry Ford Museum is about 40 miles away from me. Kinda inconvenient... But I agree it's much better than 3D with glasses.



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