Saturday, August 11, 2012

Holy franchise finale, Batman!

Some thoughts about The Dark Knight Rises, having just seen it this afternoon on a long-overdue, Summer-time work-hookey treat. If you haven't seen it yet, you must have as many or more children than I have, but maybe you want to read something else...

Just to get it out there first, TDKR (I can't pull that off) is everything a huge blockbuster ought to be - and in many ways much more. I expected to not like it and most of what I heard going in was tepid at best, but in the end I couldn't imagine leaving the theater wanting any additional explosions or gunshots or bizarre plot twists or exposi-montage (that's not a word) flashbacks, or seat-thumping bass-heavy sound design. It's escapist entertainment at its broad-strokiest and I thank it for taking me out of the white noise of real life so thoroughly for a decent two and a half hours (more if you count the previews! Side note after "The Hobbit" preview my friend sitting next to me says straight to the screen, "Just take all my money now…")

 So just a few things I remember thinking while watching the movie:

  • Bane comes off as a dime-store Lord Humungus and makes me miss Heath Ledger. 
  • The flashback shot of an unmasked Tom Hardy for two seconds was more effective than that fleece-wearing blow-pop in the other two hours. 
  • Liam Neeson says the word "Taken" during one scene and I can't help A) thinking of the "Taken 2" preview that played before the movie and B) feeling like it was intentional. (Side note #2, same friend turns to me after said "Taken 2" preview and says "Taken 2: Return to Taken Island.") 
  • The soldier on the 59th Street bridge being named "Parker" was not an accident. Spidey!! 
  • New York, can't phone in a cameo as Gotham - it's just too New York dammit! And is not the best place to stage lots of buildings and bridges exploding - not sure there will ever be enough time to make that ok even digitally. 
  • Someone should tell Anne Hathaway that her safe-cracking glasses look a LOT like cat ears when they're flipped up. 
  • Mentioning the Bat's auto-pilot feature that many times does two things. It makes you aware that it's not working and Batman is screwed, and it makes you realize that it's actually going to work and that he's not screwed. 
  • Alfred mentioning his European vacation cafe fantasy does two things. It lets you know that at the end of the movie, the vision will come true (hello Syd Field!) and and it makes you think "Inception" might break out in the middle of a Batman movie.
  • Even fleece lollipop Bane deserved a better death then a point-blank hit from the Batpod - which until I just looked it up I thought was called the Batcycle - which is actually one of the lamest rides in the entire history of Batman.
  • In retrospect, Matthew Modine should have stayed home. If Gordon told you to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you? 
  • I thought because of the lack of blood, maybe Matthew Modine just passed out and peed hisself. 
  • Bane must be on a liquid diet? Protein shakes? Wheat grass smoothies? Cannot figure out how the dude eats… 

In spite of the above, or maybe because of it, the movie really stuck to my ribs. I welcomed Christian Bale's raspy Batman voice (which he uses when he's talking to himself as batman!) with great enthusiasms, and the expertly engineered, character-development-free script by the Nolans kept me glued to my seat long after the urge to pee reached almost incontinence levels (fine, I peed myself right after Matthew Modine).

I could not imagine a better way to spend a rainy Friday afternoon and I could not imagine a better way to end this post than with the possible theme to the U2 scored Batman musical, "Batman - Turn off the Dark Knight."

Good tune, but you may want to close your eyes- it ain't pretty...

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