Before you read any further, I trust that if you haven't seen the movie, go do so immediately and read no further in anything I write here. I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone, but being a life-long Batman fan, and for as much love as I give this movie and the trilogy as a whole, I felt I needed to sit down and bring up several things about the movie, good and bad, that need to be addressed.
Over the last several days I've read a lot of fan reactions to the movie, and the response has, for the most part, been overwhelmingly positive. But there have been a few people that can't grasp some of things that occur in this movie, and for that I felt someone has to take charge and write something, and thus, that's what I'm doing.
The Dark Knight Rises borrows heavily from four major storylines in the Batman mythos: The Dark Knight Returns, Knightfall, Batman Vs. Bane, and No Man's Land. While I use the term "borrows", that's what they do. They aren't exactly replicating any part of these storylines, rather, using them as jumping off points into Nolan's own vision for Batman. And it works wonderfully, but there were a few things about the movie that I gotta throw out there as, well, small gripes I guess.
1. Michael Caine 's Alfred is heavily underused in this film. Some of this franchise most impact-full and fulfilling moments are delivered through Alfred, and while they are once again in this film, the whole plot idea of shipping him away felt rather cheap. I don't want to say that I felt cheated at all, I mean he was in the film, but he then just disappears, only to reappear at the end of the film. Regardless of that, he still delivers some of the most important dialogue in the movie.
2. Bane's second speech. While I love Tom Hardy to death here and I want nothing more then to shake the hand of the man that brought a true version of Bane to life in this film, his second speech came off to me as a little "Batman Forever" like. The noticeably cringe-worthy line is when he says "The Batman" when he is reading Gordon's lost speech. It just comes off very cartoonish and corny, and for a brief second took me out of the realism of the movie. Not to say anything else bad about his performance because, man, his dialogue during the back-breaking scene is top notch.
3.Daggett. Many people have made the mistake of connecting this character to the infamous Clayface from the comics, however, in the Batman mythos, the character of Daggett is nothing more than a corrupt business man. So that part of the movie makes more sense. You're welcome to go look at one of the many Clayfaces that there have been: Basil Karlo, Matt Hagen, Preston Payne, Sondra Fuller, Cassius Payne, Dr. Peter Malley, Todd Russell, and Johnny Williams. Notice not one of them is named Daggett? Get your facts straight, people.
4. The ending: and I will warn again before talking about it, *MAJOR SPOILERS HERE PEOPLE*, I can't say that I have the answer to the future of this franchise, but here's how I read into what the ending means for the future, and what I would like to see as a Batman fan. The character of "Robin John Blake" as I believe his full name would be pronounced, is a mixture of Dick Grayson and Tim Drake (John Blake, Tim Drake, get it?). We get an almost identical story to Drake's story, as someone who witnessed his father die thanks to a gambling debt, and Drake was the only person at a time who straight up figured out who Batman/Bruce Wayne was, much like the character in this movie. However, rather then having him become Robin, or even, Nightwing, I interrupt the end of this film as simply, he will continue the legacy Bruce Wayne created as being the new Batman. I only amplify why I believe this is the case because at the end of the film the Bat-signal is shown as rebuilt, and obviously he's exploring the cave, so why wouldn't he continue the legacy? If they were gonna make him Robin or Nightwing, obviously the signal would have been different. With that being said, I would like to see a Batman Beyond like storyline, with, if possible, Christian Bale reprising his role as Bruce Wayne and training Blake into becoming the new Batman. I dunno if it will happen, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did, and it makes much more sense to continue an established franchise that people love, rather then tear down what they love and rebuild something that will be merely ok (because let's be honest, no one is going to be ready for a new Bruce Wayne Batman for at least a decade now). I can even see someone like Nolan coming back as a producer. Anyways that's all speculation, but that's the way I interpreted the ending, until it is proven otherwise.
With all that said, what did everyone else think of Nolan's final Batman film? Pretty damn amazing, right?
Disappointment indeed, what the hell Happened Tim Burton? About a year and a half ago, when you and Depp finally announced that you would be taking on Dark Shadows was confident the franchise (if you can call it that) was in good hands. Here are two dude's who have made many movies together, and for the most part one of their team ups have been fantastic (Alice in Wonderland was questionable at times). The fact that they both have gone on record stating that they were fans of the 1966-1971 series made me feel an even bigger sense of confidence towards this adaptation.
With the first few pictures being released last fall, I was swinging on the hope chains in wonder: everything looked fantastic. Depp as Barnabas Collins, a stellar cast, even Helena Bonham Carter looked her part as Dr. Julia Hoffman. My anticipation grew. But then, after those pictures were released, we had almost four months of hearing nothing about this movie, besides an occasional new photo. My hope didn't diminish though, as I just would say to myself "the trailer will come in time". Then finally, I heard that they were premiering the trailer on Ellen? Yeah, a bit odd but whatever. And then the unholy trailer was released, and literally all dreams of this movie went down the toilet in that two minute trailer.
Before we even get to the shocking revelation that somehow, Burton turned this into a comedy, we already have the story faults of Barnabas being entombed on a beach. Yeah, that never happened (he was entombed in his original mansion), so I'm confused as to why that was changed. However, a small gripe, so whatever right? Then we get to the notion that, no, this isn't going to be the dark and violent vampire film based on the gothic soap opera that I wanted and or expected. Nope, instead Burton has decided to turn this into a dark comedy of sorts. Let's see? Barnabas Collins never once revealed to anyone in his family (in 1960's/70's) that he was a vampire. But the first thing we see Depp's Barnabas doing is just that. Then, he's taking over the family business, running into the witch (Angelique) who cursed him, and getting some vampire/witch boning on. You know, I like Johnny Depp as much as the next person, but personally I'm kind of tired of the slapstick, “Jack Sparrowish” Depp we've seen in the last decade. With “Dark Shadows”, Depp seems to have turned that into just this.
Now, this is just one fan's reaction to the trailer, and I realize I'm taking quite a dump on this, but I felt the need that I have to. I know the general public will see this movie and not even care about what it's previously based on, or even have the desire to watch the original show. And besides, in terms of outdated television, “Dark Shadows” ranks pretty high up there at this point. Still, it's just a shame to see something I love so much turned into this kind of trash.
Overall, it's just a shame. A shame that such a wonderful property and a movie that Depp and Burton have wanted to make for a decade has turned into what they think can be the “Beetlejuice” of this generation. I will instead, hang on to my VHS copy of “House of Dark Shadows”, as it is to me the most complete version of the Barnabas Collins story. Yes, I will still go and see “Dark Shadows”, and most likely I will cringe at every minute of it, but I can't help but walk away feeling this will be the biggest disappointment of 2012.
There have been a few bad years for movies, but I honestly can't think of one as bad as 2011. In fact, if you just look through the list of the nine films chosen for Best Picture (hell, we couldn't even pick a tenth this year, that should be a sign), only two, maybe three of them oozes enough quality to even be considered as Best Picture. If Best Picture is the representation of simply: "The best the year has had to offer", how come there are so many filler films in this list this year? Hollywood should take this as a sign to start producing better quality films, something that has even an ounce of originality. Putting that little rant aside, I will go through the bigger categories on whom should and who will win, as I usually do.
Should win: Midnight in Paris
Will Win: The Artist
Now I haven't seen "The Artist" yet. I'm still a bit daunted by the fact that there is no sound for that movie. I have nothing against silent film personally, but if there isn't even a piano track, then man, I might lose it during that one. "Midnight In Paris" was an excellent film, and standing up against all these other "filler" films on this list ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", really?), there are only a handful of films I would even consider, well really just one, that could top this, and that's "Tinker Tailor Solider Spy". Oh wait, that wasn't even nodded? So what the hell.
Should Win: Gary Oldman
Will Win: Jean Dujardin
Everybody seems to live this silent film, so I expect it to clean the Oscars. But if there is one film that gave me a character I truly admired and a performance I enjoyed, it would have to be Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Solider Spy". Oldman has been giving out damn good performances over the year from playing Dracula to that weird dude in the bed in "Hannibal", and his dead on portrayal of Commissioner Gordon in Nolan's Batman trilogy, it is high time Oldman was finally recognized.
Should Win: Michelle Williams
Will Win: Viola Davis
Have you seen how good Michelle Williams portrays Marilyn Monroe? If not, then you should go do so. No, "My Week With Marilyn" isn't the greatest film ever, but her performance is spot on, and is highly worthy of the Oscar. Yet, I have a feeling that Oscar is going to go mainstream this year and give the trophy over to The Help's Viola Davis.
Best Supporting Actor
Should Win: Nick Nolte
Will Win: Nick Nolte
Maybe I just want to see crazy ass Nick Notle win something, it would definitely boost that man's career a life overall.
Best Supporting Actress
Should Win: Berenice Bejo
Will Win: Berenice Bejo
Obviously I haven't seen “The Artist”, but compared to everything else this category has to offer (two nods for “The Help”, seriously?) it seems like a win win pick.
Should Win: Woody Allen
Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius
What can I say, Woody Allen won't even be there so they won't bother to recognize his film with an award, and everyone loves this silent film so you know it's going to go to that.
Should Win: Midnight in Paris
Will Win: The Artist
The Artist is going to clean up, no matter how good Midnight In Paris was. And sorry to all those who have hope for the awfulness that is “Bridesmaids”. The fact that it is even being nodded for anything is a gigantic joke to me.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Should Win: Tinker Tailor Solider Spy
Will Win: Tinker Tailor Solider Spy
I'm going to go with a gamble on this one, while I do believe it was the best of all of these, I do have, kind of in the corner of my mind, some small feeling that this will go to “The Descendants”, however, comparing it to some of the others, “Tinker Tailor Solider Spy” just seems like a winner to me.
Best Animated Film
Should Win: Rango
Will Win: Rango
It just seems so cut and clear to me here the real winner. While two of these movies didn't even come out in 2011, and two of them are sequels, “Rango” stands as the only clear winner here.
I'm not going to bore you with my picks for Cinematography and Make-up, as we all know, the rest of these awards no one really gives a damn about, but I'm eager, as I always am, to see who wins and if there are any surprises. My only hope is that I don't have to see that cast of “Bridesmaids” take up too much time on the stage.