Words by Benjamin Pinsent
Christopher Nolan, along with his film making contemporaries, know how to turn a film, stand alone or part of a series, into a major event. Inception and The Dark Knight were not just movies they where moments in history, where the whole notion of Blockbusters changed.
They could be smart while still retaining the high occtain thrill that seems present in all modern “mega movies”. The Dark Knight also proved that superhero movies could be about more than just the old and tired good versus evil. The Dark Knight Rises is even more of an event, Warner Bros. almost marketing it to death, and it will confirm to Christopher Nolan’s assent into Hollywood royalty.
Already there have been sparks of controversy where early reviews called Dark Knight Rises “Disappointing”. fan outrage, threats of violence and death followed and the reviews had their comment sections cut. Not to mention the shootings in Colorado, that has been politicised by the American Government.
Let’s deal with the bad first, Hans Zimmer has become a parody with his Inception score full of fog horns and loud noises, this was also true of his Batman themes. This fits with the universe just as Danny Elfman’s score fit Tim Burton’s Batman. The actors do like their quiet moments, speaking softly to add emotion to a scene but the score does not, and at times nobody can hear what characters are saying.
This is especially true of Bane (Tom Hardy) and Batman (Christian Bale); Hardy was redubbed into the diegesis, so really has no right to be accused of mumberling and neither does Bale despite his oft parodied Batman voice. People may also find this film a little long with large gaps where nothing much happens, however most will be too distracted by the cinematic gold unfolding in front of them.
But, it has to be said that this film is unmissable, a film where the big screen adds more than the TV. You feel connected not only to Batman, Selena Kyle (who is never actually called Catwoman) and the rest of the main characters but the entire city as well. It is so easy to place yourself in the ravaged Gotham because everyone is involved, a massive story that encompasses an entire metropolis.
The Performances are excellent from all the cast even those who have bit parts, from reappearing cameos to the new faces. Stand outs include Tom Hardy doing a magnificent job intimidating the audience with about three quarters of his face covered by a mask as mercenary Bane. Joseph Gorden-Levett almost shoulders main protagonist duties while Batman is out of the picture as a policeman with an interesting end twist that will cause many debates. Anne Hathaway provides strength and fun to Selena Kyle, and finally Gary Oldman as Comissioner Gorden returning for the third time, beating Alfred to the best returning character.
Wally Pfister, the Cinematographer, gives the entire film a certain energy with no shot remaining static for long. This does not mean the use of shaky camera movements, but slow pans, tracking shots and the occasional steady cam shots. Coupled with the dynamic editing one feels as though you were on a rollercoaster. And with action set pieces that almost rival The Lord of the Rings, the film almost verges on the spectacular as you just gaze upon the action that unfolds around you.
This is not a casual watch, it demands your entire attention, and from the moment it opens to the moment it closes, it is glorious.
The Dark Knight Rises is out in U.K cinemas now.