Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Dark Knight Trilogy (Pt. 2 of 2)

Sadly we should wrap up our discussion about the Dark Knight films if we want to be able to get to all the wonderful Chris Nolan films we have to review by the end of the month.  I'm positive that I will have more to say about the Dark Knight films in the future though, so keep checking into this blog for unscheduled Batman posts!

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Okeee, yesterday we talked about some themes and connections within The Dark Knight trilogy and Christopher Nolan's other films, so today I want to stay right on top of only his Batman movies and review them purely as films.

Batman Begins

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Batman Begins is my least-loved Batman movie of the three.  That's not really saying much though because I like all three so much.

At the very beginning of this movie there is a lot of action sequences beautifully executed, but since this was my first exposure to Batman and I didn't know that I cared about him at the time, I wasn't super invested in whether or not he was winning.  Also in his Liam Neeson fight sequences I knew that he was going to be fine because how else would the movie go on?

Liam Neeson is one of my favorite actors and I thought he did a great job as Henri Ducard although his weird mustache thing drove me insane.

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Once we were back in Gotham City, I really liked the part where Lucius Fox was introduced and started helping Bruce Wayne collect some bat-gear and pretended that he wasn't catching onto the fact that Bruce intended to become Batman.  

I feel like me saying Michael Caine is a good actor in this movie isn't even appropriate since so many people have said he's never put on a bad performance and is one of the greatest actors--and I guess I agree for whatever my opinion's worth!  He has a sweet old-man persona and is kind of like Bruce Wayne's grandpa.

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I've gotta say, I didn't have any background knowledge about Batman before seeing this so in the flashback scene where his parents are shot, I was completely surprised and caught off guard a bit.  I thought that it was just a scene where his parents I dunno, teach him a lesson about criminals or I don't know what I was thinking.  But then they both just got shot!  It was crazy!

Batman becoming Batman and saying "I'm Batman" was my favorite Batman moment of Batman Begins.  ;)

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The most memorable moment in my mind besides "I'm Batman" was when Batman saw the homeless man Bruce Wayne had given a coat to and goes, "nice coat," before like shooting off into the distance.

Those are the cute little one-liners I think Ben Affleck's Batman keeps trying to do, but you can't force moments like that.

Commissioner Gordon was super awesome and a great actor, particularly when it came to seeing him so confused but kind of intrigued by Batman when he first showed up.

Katie Holmes is really pretty in this movie, but when I look back I do notice that everyone was right; her performance was pretty lackluster.  Luckily she doesn't have much of a role in the movie so it doesn't drag it down but it is pretty disappointing.

Scare Crow wasn't mildly scary in my opinion, and at one point I got really confused about what his plan was and started zoning out.  I hope to go back and re-watch all of this soon so I understand what happened more clearly.

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The Dark Knight

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This is my favorite of the three for sure.

The "cold-open" involves these thieves with clown masks covering their faces as the rob a bank's vault.

I knew the Joker was going to be in this Batman because I haven't been living under a rock and I saw the "calling card" that was left at the end of Batman Begins, but I apparently am the least thoughtful person ever because even though the thieves were actually dressed like clowns and stuff, it did not occur to me that the Joker was one of them!

This introduction where each of the members of the heist turns against one another until it's only the Joker left standing with all the cash is a perfect way to introduce the character; he manipulates people and gets them to think they are acting in their own best interest when really they are shooting themselves in the foot.

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I was really sad to see Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel in this movie.  I don't know why, but I just don't like her.  She's not as pretty as Katie Holmes I guess? 

There are so many favorite scenes in this movie all packed into one!

I liked the boat sequence, again showing the Joker's anarchistic ideas where he believes that all the people will vote to blow each other up.  I really like the optimistic moment for humanity when both boats refuse to blow up the other.  This scene also kind of shows the danger of pure democracy or mob rule--everyone voted pragmatically to blow up the other boat, but there has to be some sort of morality guiding the voting populace otherwise you will descend into the Joker's anarchy. Go humanity in this scene!

The interrogation scene is so intense and Batman beating the Joker around yelling "where's Rachel?" in his Batman voice was super gratifying.  As much as I wanted Rachel to not be in the movie anymore because she was bothering me, I didn't really expect her to actually die!  Especially in only the second movie!

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But at least her death had some ramifications for the rest of the film involving Harvey Dent's transformation, and one of Alfred's uses of "the noble lie" that we talked about yesterday where he doesn't tell Bruce that Rachel had decided to go with Dent instead (horrible decision in my opinion but whatevs...)

It would take me eons to discuss everything in this movie, from the "everybody loses their minds" line to "I believe in Harvey Dent", from the flipping of Two-Face's coin to the bat pod.  As much as I love the Batmobile, the bad pod is so sleek, so awesome, so *bursts into flames from sheer epic-ness overload*

The Dark Knight Rises

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So we finally got rid of Rachel and this movie opens up with Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.  For what it's worth, Anne Hathaway does a great job and she does look very sleek as Catwoman.  I just don't like Catwoman a ton because she's been done so horribly in the past with no traits other than "wow look at that spandex" or something dumb like that.  At least this Catwoman kind of had emotions and a character arc at the end of the movie when she came back to help Batman.

Bane is a great villain because he tries to expand a little more on the Joker's idea of anarchy but Bane does it by returning power back to you "the people".  Well, that's what he says at least, but in reality he advocates complete lack of any governance where prisons are emptied, laws are ignored, and people just go insane.

Wayne is in a really horrible place after the events of The Dark Knight and he has to kind of hit rock bottom and build himself back up by climbing out of the Lazarus pit which both aesthetically and thematically calls to mind the well he fell in.  Why do we fall down?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

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So Bruce Wayne re-dons the helm of Batman and with his newfound strength both within and outside, he is able to more or less defeat Bane and his secret-under-cover friend who had ties with Liam Neeson's character and was trying to finish his attempt to destroy Gotham.

So Batman sacrifices himself to take the nuclear bomb out over the ocean as far away from Gotham as possible and let it explode and kill him rather than all of Gotham.  Unfortunately, he claims that his vehicle doesn't have auto-pilot so he has to do it personally.

He spends a lot of time saying goodbye to Catwoman that I feel might have been better used by driving the nuclear bomb as far away as time would allow, but whatever.  Then he reveals his identity to Gordon which was iconic and I like that scene.  At first when he said it, Adam looked at me and was like "do you get it?" and I was like, "um, no?" and then the flashback came and I understood and kicked myself for not recognizing Gordon as that initial police officer in Batman Begins.

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Everyone believes that Batman is dead, but in reality we discover that he had fixed the autopilot and is living it up in this cafe with Catwoman, where he sees Alfred and they acknowledge each other and carry on in a cute way.  I always knew that Bruce Wayne would survive, so I was half-way on the edge of my seat but didn't let myself get too worked up because I was certain he'd be fine...right?

Also you should have seen my face when Joseph Gordon-Levitt was revealed to be Robin.  I just turned my head 90 degrees slowly to stare in the distance and then slowly turned back to the movie.  Look at that crazy slight of hand the movie did there!

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All's well that ends well!

I wonder how the people of Gotham dealt with the fact that Bruce Wayne was gone from Gotham for awhile, then as soon as he returned so did Batman.

Then Batman went on the run for awhile, and Bruce Wayne also stopped interacting with the city in any way.

Then as soon as Batman came back, so did Bruce Wayne.

Then Batman dies and Bruce Wayne also dies with no explanation?  

How have they not caught on!?

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