Let's not let the immaturity of comment-happy Batman fans mute a simple fact, "The Dark Knight Rises" is a tremendous work of popular entertainment. It will dazzle you, rouse you and, if you find massive men in fur coats breaking the bones of a dudes in rubber suits amusing, it will make you chuckle.
With the arpeggio strings of Hans Zimmer's score still rattling my ears, here are the 5 things in "The Dark Knight Rises" that most made the pointy ends of my cowl tingle.
WARNING - IF YOU ARE EXTRA SENSITIVE TO SPOILERS, READ THIS AFTER YOU SEE THE MOVIE.
5. Changes to the Batpod
Confession: I've never ridden a motorcycle. I tend to be a joiner, so I've always been afraid that if I rode a hog the next thing ya know I'd be off with a biker gang. And I've seen "Sons of Anarchy" - that's no way to live!
Nevertheless, the upgrades to the batpod are just stellar. When you are in a highspeed chase with the Gotham Police Department (or a cabal of anarcho-syndicalists) you simply don't have time to make a traditional 90 degree turn. Luckily, physics has always been more of a suggestion for the Applied Sciences division of Wayne Enterprises.
The new wheels spin on their Z-axis, as well as their X-axis, while continuing to move on their Y-axis, hence kicking all of our axis. The first time you see it in motion you will be incapable of not going "woooooot!" unless you are dead.
4. Designing Justice
When Bane and his comrades occupy Gotham City they are quick to set up a kangaroo court where "the people" can put the malignant aristocracy on trial.
In addition to a nifty piece of fan service on the bench, the look of the courtroom set is a big fat wet kiss to the look of comics.
There are some who credit Christopher Nolan's films as being a departure from the typical look of comic book films. That is true to a point, but the framing and set dressing here looks like it is ripped straight from a well-drawn comics panel. Can't wait to hit pause on the Blu-ray for this one.
3. Pit of Despair
When Bruce Wayne gets low, he REALLY gets low.
When his run-ins with Bane turn their most grim he finds himself in the world's worst jail cell. A giant, hot pit of filth filled with dudes in robes who like to chant. Along the walls is an M.C. Escher-like route for escape that has never been successfully crossed... except once, in legend.
Only a filmmaker as confident as Christopher Nolan can bludgeon you with such obvious metaphor and get away with it. And this sequence of the Dark Knight RISING toward his destiny as a group of Temple of Doom cosplayers incant "Posh! Posh! Pish-Posh!" in unison is a triumphant moment of Fanboy cinema.
2. She Went Hathaway
Prior to "The Dark Knight Rises" I never had much of an opinion of Anne Hathaway. I liked "The Devil Wears Prada" and, I dunno, "Rio," but I was unimpressed with "Get Smart" and for some reason I watched "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" and I still twitch at the memory. With the role of Selena Kyle (the word "Catwoman" is never uttered in the film) she has wowed me with her range, her natural charm and her comic timing. Also, if you'll allow me an adolescent moment, let me point out she's no Medusa in red lipstick and black latex hunched over the Batpod.
Her early big scene opposite the baddies in "The Dark Knight Rises" is a wonderful compliment to Black Widow's in "The Avengers." Both are moments I plan to leer at - uh, I mean, study - at great length as time goes on.
1. Cower Before The Might of Muffled Bane
We're likely to know more about who killed Kennedy than we are about Christopher Nolan's post-production audio on Tom Hardy's big bad Bane.
When the pre-"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" sequence was shown, all anyone could talk about was that you couldn't understand the gym rat in the mask. Now you can understand him - and he sounds RIDICULOUS!
Listen: I am not one of these people who is obsessed with the so-called realism of Christopher Nolan's Gotham. What I dig is the harmony between realistic filmmaking and larger-than-life comic book tropes. It reaches its apex, I feel, with what Nolan and Hardy are serving up here.
He's a massive hulk of a man in a completely idiotic mask - he's scary BECAUSE he's funny. I'm fairly certain that all of Hardy's on-set dialogue had to be rerecorded (a practice that is frequent even when a character isn't wearing a mouth-blocking mask) and as a result he is LOUD and BOOMING.
His accent is imprecise. Maybe he's English. Maybe he's from Maryland. (Actually, you kinda-sorta find out where he's from, and he doesn't sound like anyone I've ever heard from there.)
Nevertheless, he exteeeeeends his voooooooowels and comes at you in quadrophonic sound. Maybe he's got some mini speakers inside that mask. Either way, I can not wait til this October. There's no way in hell I'm not dressing (and speaking) like Bane for Halloween.
Okay, Bat-fans. I'm sorry this week's entry wasn't just 1000 straight words of NOLAN IS GOD! Surely, you have some comments on what I've said. Let me have it below.
Just remember that I'm the Fanboy critic that Gotham deserves.
Come back every Thursday for more intergalactic musings on Planet Fanboy and follow its fearless leader Jordan Hoffman on Twitter!
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