Posts tagged #Colorado

!!! Jimmy Stewart As Bane In It’s A Wonderful Dark Knight (The Dark Knight Rises Review With Spoilers) !!!

I've been putting this off for a while. Not because I didn’t know how I feel about the movie, but because of the tragedy in Aurora Colorado. I want to say that my heart goes out to all those people and their families. I have felt extremely close to this since I heard the news on the morning of the 20th. I distinctly remember Columbine and I can tell you exactly where I was when 9/11 happened. Those awful events will forever haunt our country and our lives. It is truly sad that Aurora has to take its place among those events. I felt that I was somewhat removed from Columbine because I was no longer in high school when it occurred. I also felt removed from the events of 9/11 because it was taking place in large metropolitan areas on high profile targets while I lived in a decidedly small community a good distance from the bustle of the big cities. Aurora, on the other hand, took place in a movie theater, a place of wonder and joy for many around the world. It felt to me that this had taken place in my world and in a place I felt safe and at home. I love movies and to think that this could happen in a place I go to forget the world around me is disturbing. I can‘t begin to imagine the pain, loss, and fear that took place in that community, but I do know that this cowardly act cannot break our spirit and take away the small joys that we have when we go to the movies. We cannot let this one evil man destroy our love of sitting in a theater with family and friends to enjoy, for a couple of hours, an escape from the cares of this world. I feel horrible for those people that were in that theater and have had a great movie tainted forever because one fool had to destroy peoples lives because of his own demons (if you want to destroy yourself don’t take other people with you). We must not forget those people and the lives that they lived. They will forever be more important to this world than the scum (I will not use his name because he doesn’t deserve that kind of care) who took them from it. God bless them and keep them.

On a different note, if you’ve been paying attention you know how I feel about the movie soundtracks of Hans Zimmer (Hint: One Note). But for all the uninspired music he produces he is one upstanding gentleman. Hans has written a song to honor the memory of those people who died in Aurora and to help those who are dealing with the aftermath. Simply titled “Aurora” the proceeds from the song go to the victims and their families and you can help the cause by purchasing the song through iTunes (it‘s only $1.29 and it‘s worth it). I may have issues with the way he scores movies, but that does not change the fact that he is one heck of a human being. Keep it up Hans, I’m behind you 100%.

Well, after that, my thoughts on the Dark Knight Rises, seem unimportant. Movies are certainly not more important than lives, but I know that if I stop these reviews, then in some way that allows the shooter to win. That can’t happen, and I won’t let it. Spoiler Warnings Abound!!! You Are Warned!!! I'm Not Kidding I Will Spoil The Movie So Bug Out Now If You Want To Stay Clean And Clear!!!

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The Dark Knight Rises is first and foremost an end to the story Chris Nolan has been telling in the previous two films. Together all three movies (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises) constitute one large story that, for a comic movie, is extremely well thought out and highly detailed. I am a huge fan of the Tim Burton Batman movies (Michael Keaton was inspired casting) and I have been a comic book nerd for as long as I can remember (Batman is my favorite in DC comics, Wolverine in Marvel comics) so I have high expectations when it comes to comic characters I love and know well. Christopher Nolan has taken Batman and knocked it out of the park. Batman has always been a more realistic figure (if you can call someone who dresses like a bat and has a tank for a car realistic) and this is the aspect that Nolan plays up throughout the trilogy. That doesn’t mean that nods to the comic aren’t present, it just means that they might be represented by different things (more later). I have read that some people found the movie overly complicated. Really? It seemed to me that The Dark Knight was a harder movie to follow than Rises. Maybe that is because I have watched that film many times and had prepared myself for Rises. I also like to think that we are a more enlightened creatures who can handle bigger things from our movies.

The Movie clocks in at about 2 hours and 45 minutes and it needs every bit of that time to tell it’s story. If there is a criticism that I could level against the movie it would be that it was perhaps too short (I like to get my money’s worth). Strike that, I can also say that the score once again was underwhelming (sorry Hans). It just seemed to sound the same after a while (I’ve been watching the Olympics and hearing the theme written by John Williams so at this point it’s hard to get excited for Hans’s one note). I will limited my discussion of the soundtrack to those thoughts because I really like Hans (just not his music).
The cast for these movies has been unbelievable. Christian Bale was the perfect choice for Bruce Wayne/Batman (Yes voice and all). He can pull off both sides to the character in equal measure where as some actors could only manage one (Clooney, Arrrg). Charming as Bruce Wayne, determined and cool as Batman, to say he was born to play the role is an understatement. As much as Bale does a great job, the real standouts in this cast are Gary Oldman (there will never be another Commissioner Gordon), Michael Caine (I really wanted more Alfred), Morgan Freeman (I want to have a guy like Lucius Fox around), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake or Tim Drake, coincidence? I don’t think so). They are all standouts in their respective roles with Gary Oldman stealing every moment he’s in the film and showing why he‘s one of the greatest actors working today (when he gets out of his hospital bed and takes out the guys coming to get him, WOW). Gordon-Levitt deserves special mention for his performance. If this is any indication of the future that he’s going to have on film, I can’t wait to see it (very ready for Looper). I don’t want to sound like I’m selling the other actors short, I’m not. Anne Hathaway is a great Catwoman, Tom Hardy is menacing as Bane (is he trying to do an impression of Jean-Luc Picard, cause you know he was a Picard clone  in Star Trek Nemesis, or a weird Jimmy Stewart? I can’t decide), and Marion Cottillard as Miranda Tate makes the most of her very surprising role (for everyone who doesn’t know !!! Spoiler Alert!!! she’s Ra’s al Ghul daughter Talia !!!Spoiler Alert!!!). The somewhat unfortunate problem that occurs (and is it really a problem?) is that everyone is so good that it’s hard to pick the best performance. Every comic to film adaptation should have that problem, think of the movies we would have (hey, like The Avengers). I also have to mention that almost everyone is back with the exception of Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart (we get a picture though). We see Liam Neeson as Ra’s and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane, which was unexpected but very welcome. And I have to mention that one of Bane’s henchmen is played by Teal’c himself, Christopher Judge, how cool is that. We also get Nestor Carbonell (Ricardo Alpert from Lost) as the mayor, Matthew Modine as the deputy Commissioner, Juno Temple as Jen (but we all know that she really plays Holly Robinson from Year One), and William Devane as the President (doesn’t he always play the President, Vice President, Congressman, and/or hold some type of political office in everything he’s in?). With a cast like that, I could write an entire paper on their skills alone, but I’ll limit it to, “These guys ain’t half bad.”

When it comes to story, Christopher Nolan (and consequently Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer) have taken influences from the entire history of Batman, with a heavy emphasis on the 1970’s through today. While it’s not new for comic book movies to pull from different storylines to form the basis of a film, Nolan’s trilogy is like an overview of the entire history of Batman. From Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s early Caped Crusader, to the birth of Ra’s al Ghul by Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams, right up through Frank Miller’s “Year One” and “The Dark Knight Returns”. Nolan utilizes all of it to craft the definitive Batman story. The very fact that the “Knightfall” and “No Man’s Land” series are used in Rises speak to the willingness of the creators to dig deep into the lore of Batman and find meaningful influences by which to craft an intelligent film. Writers and Directors can really screw up a film by twisting different storylines together and altering the fundamental elements to suit a specific purpose (Example: Green Lantern). But Nolan has found the sweet spot by combining the different elements into a whole while retaining the spirit and intent of the original narrative (I feel like I’m writing a college paper on the intricacies and influences of Christopher Nolan’s Batman, which wouldn’t be a half bad title if I was). The fundamental difference between the fantastical world of the comic Batman and the grounded in reality Dark Knight of the films is the use of a supernatural element to place the printed Dark Detective in the greater world of aliens and demons found in DC continuity. Nolan chose to place his movies in a realm separate and apart from the wider world of Wonder Woman and Superman and to his credit (and to the credit of the wide choices Batman stories offer to a creator of any type) this strategy has proved extremely effective. Batman has always had the ability to move seamlessly between the greater universe of fantasy and the gritty detective drama that formed the basis for the origin of the character. This doesn’t mean that Nolan ignores some of those elements. He has placed subtle nods to some of the more outlandish ideas throughout the three movies. Resurrection is a recurrent motif in all of the comic worlds and Batman is no different. People die in a certain storyline only to return later on having been brought back to life via supernatural means (Superboy Prime punching all of reality and knocking Jason Todd back from the dead) or shown to have never been dead to begin with (Stephanie Brown’s faked death in “War Games”). These type of events are common place in comics but in the world that Nolan crafted people are meant to stay dead and those deaths have consequences. But Nolan has also found a way to acknowledge those elements while still retaining the reality in which he has placed his films. Liam Neeson returns as the seemingly dead Ra’s al Ghul (which is a story element throughout the history of the character) only revealed to be a hallucination of a battered and broken Bruce Wayne. In this way, Nolan gets to appease fans and still retain the atmosphere that has informed all three movies. Certain allusions are made to things in the comic such as the case with the prison that Bane puts the injured Wayne in after their initial fight. We see this prison dug into the ground with a round opening at the top which serves as the only way out. It’s called “the Pit” and it is most certainly a veiled reference to the Lazarus Pits that are used to bring someone back from the dead (in this case Bruce Wayne and Bane, metaphorically speaking). John Blake is another example of taking a less than realistic element from the comic (in this case, Robin) and adapting it to fit the world of the films (bye, bye Chris O’Donnell). In these ways, Nolan gives fans what they want without sacrificing the films artistic integrity.

This Trilogy of films have been a shining example of how to make a great film based on a comic. It has nothing to do with the tone of the film or how heavy the subject matter is. It has everything to do with the people involved with making the film. You could have the darkest, grittiest film you can make about a comic character, if you don’t have the talent both in front of and behind the camera it makes no difference. With the right people (those who understand and really get what the comic is about), you could make any comic, no matter the tone, into a hit film and a true money maker (Avengers, anyone?). Chris Nolan gets it, he understands how this character works and what motivates the stories that have been beloved by countless fans for over 70 plus years. If there was anything going right for Warner Bros. and DC comics when it comes to live action movies it was this series of films (the animated side of the DC universe is knocking it out of the park right now, so if you want good comic to film adaptations, I highly recommend these films). Marvel seems to be on the rise (pun intended) while DC seems to be coming to a conclusion of their film making (yeah, I know Man of Steel is coming, but come on, a realistic gritty Superman movie, read that again and listen to how it sounds, SEE). I sincerely hope DC and Warner Bros. can salvage there properties and start making good films that can rival Marvel’s offerings. As of right now, we bid a fond farewell to an incredible film series and say hello to an uncertain future when it comes to DC comic characters. But for the moment, Batman represents the pinnacle of comic storytelling. Nolan and everyone involved have given their all to bring the most ambitious and ultimately greatest comic book trilogy created to the silver screen. This film caps off an incredible summer filled with fantastic movie after fantastic movie and a banner year for comic book properties. There’s no reason to stop and as far as Hollywood is concerned (Especially, Marvel) it’s full speed ahead. Go see this movie if you’re a fan and if you just like really good movies. For all of you out there that have seen it and say, “I didn’t like it because it was too complicated (really?).” I say maybe it’s good for you to use your brains once and a while. I highly recommend The Dark Knight Rises and I praise Nolan and his crew for a job well done (It’s got a nuclear explosion in it, come on!). Until later go see a movie and enjoy your life because it is certainly too short.

"When Gotham is in ashes, you have my permission to come back and save the entire city and kill me in the process." -Bane (before rewrites)

Todd “Joe Kerr” B.

(If you don’t get the reference, check out the Batman Begins final scene where Gordon shows Batman the card from an familiar foe. The evidence receipt is signed J. Kerr, funny right?).