Remember when The Dark Knight got snubbed for Best Picture, even though Christopher Nolan’ received a DGA nomination and the film received a PGA nomination, not to mention a win for Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor at The Academy Awards? Well, the third and final installment to Nolan’s Batman franchise has come and gone and now the question is whether The Academy will finally reward the trilogy with a Best Picture nomination? Or maybe finally acknowledge Christopher Nolan for Best Director?
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
If there were great expectations for the sequel to “Batman Begins,” there are even greater expectations for the sequel to the superior film, “The Dark Knight.” Christopher Nolan and gang have returned to conclude the Batman series that will go down as the best superhero trilogy of all-time and simply one of the best trilogies of any genre. The Dark Knight Rises raises its stakes and pushes the envelope to epic proportions, with a 164 minute running time, a heinous villain, and obstacles that seem impossible to overcome.
In typical comic-book fashion, there is good versus evil but here it’s really polarizing, which isn’t a strength of the film. Bruce Wayne is retired and is in hiding from the public, but is forced out of his mansion when Bane appears. Preaching to return the power to the people, Bane releases Hell on Gotham, targeting Wayne Industries and the police force for his own gain. With a growing number of supporters behind him, his army takes the city by storm and the world allows Gotham to fall. Where is the Batman?
With almost three hours to allow the story to play out, it almost seems that the plot was rushed. Bane is a very intriguing character, but his story doesn’t get the time-of-day because of a surprising reveal towards the end of the film. With The Joker, the villainous clown was developed throughout the entire film and we understood his deceiving influence, but Bane’s scenes were only of carnage and chaos with little explaining his anger. Nonetheless, Bane certainly inflicted an ungodly amount of terror physically and emotionally, destroying anything in his sight with an intimidating physique and a frightening mask.
There are a handful of new faces in The Dark Knight Rises, including three co-stars from Nolan’s “Inception.” Bane is played by Tom Hardy, Miranda Tate is played by Marion Cotillard, and the hot-shot Gotham cop John Blake is played by Joseph Gordon Levitt. There is also Anne Hathaway who plays Catwoman, a dangerous yet fragile thief who is always on the run. Inserting so many new characters weighed down the film a bit, but gave it a depth that didn’t exist in the first two films.
Without a doubt, The Dark Knight Rises is the boldest and biggest film of the trilogy. The action sequences rumble through the theater and the stakes are at its highest. Also, the superb cast elevates every aspect of the film, and though Bale and Hardy have lead roles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the bright spot of all the actors.
While the conclusion of the film wraps things up in a tidy manner compared to the previous two, one has to view the entire trilogy as a whole to fully appreciate what Nolan has done to the franchise. He has injected intelligence, respect, and justice to one of the best superheroes ever created. Nolan is also to thank for the number of new fans he has brought to the Batman series. If there is one thing Nolan has done wrong, it is constructing ridiculous expectations and comparisons for the next attempt at the Batman franchise. It’s unknown who’s going to have the tenacity to take on that challenge, but whoever decides to do so will need more than all of Batman’s gadgets to concoct something as magical.
We can all agree that the year 2011 wasn’t the best for films. It definitely had plenty of solid films, but it certainly lacked the handful of great films where we can think back and say “2011 was a fantastic year for films.” This is why I’m looking forward to 2012, where Hollywood hopes to recover from disappointment. Here are the films to look out for:
One of my favorite directors, Paul Thomas Anderson, returns with his first movie in five years. It’s uncertain if this film will see a 2012 or a 2013 release, but I’m sure hoping to see this film sooner than later. Boasting an incredible cast including the return of Joaquin Phoenix, I am sure PTA will not disappoint.
The Hunger Games (3/23/12)
Studios are always looking for the “next big franchise” to release onto the big screen. Since Harry Potter has wrapped up and Twilight is coming to an end, The Hunger Games trilogy is the next highly anticipated series that has fans jumping with excitement and studio executives nervously praying they have hit the jackpot. As for me, I’ve read the novels and look forward to how Gary Ross will adapt them. Oh, and I believe Jennifer Lawrence will absolutely become a star these films.
The Cabin in the Woods (4/13/12)
I guess 2012 must really be the end of the world because I’m actually pumped up to see a horror movie. But let me explain myself. Joss Whedon co-wrote the film and this is Drew Goddard’s debut in directing (his credentials include writing and producing TV-shows like Lost and Alias). Everyone is being incredibly hush-hush about this project, which makes me even more stoked to see it. What kind of things could possibly happen to these five friends stranded in a cabin in the woods?
The Avengers (5/4/12)
We’ve all seen our fair share of superhero films before, but not anything like the potential of this super, superhero movie. Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk and Nick Fury all in one movie?! Okay, I have my concerns about screen-time and a muddled plot, but come on! With Joss Whedon as co-writer and director, I can’t imagine not enjoying this film.
Ridley Scott returning to the sci-fi thriller? If that isn’t all you need to be completely stoked, then I don’t know how to excite you for one of the most anticipated movies of the year. What will Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) have in store for us with Prometheus? Is it an Alien prequel? Who cares! Another plus to be excited about this film, two budding stars in the making: Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender.
Here’s something you’ve never heard in your lifetime: Pixar is looking to bounce back from a bad movie. Cars 2 was the studio’s first major disappointment and they’re trying to get back on track with Brave, an ambitious, magical film with Pixar’s first female lead. I am slightly concerned to how this film will be received by the public, but from the clips and trailers they have released, I’m sure Brave is going to be a film that everyone can enjoy.
The Dark Knight Rises (7/20/12)
There are a lot of big movie franchises releasing films this year, but none compares to the anticipation of the third and last installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It’s going to be a very difficult task to keep up with his incredible resume thus far, but I have all the faith that Nolan still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. The additions of Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard can only mean a better movie from its predecessors, right?
If you haven’t heard anything about this film yet, well then you can thank me later on in the year. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, this is an Alfonso Cuaron sci-fi thriller that is highly being discussed for Cuaron’s innovative film-making tactics. Guillermo del Toro said this about the film, “the same way that he pushed the narrative in Children of Men…[they] are absolutely pushing a new boundary in film-making, completely mind-blowing. And they way they’re making [Gravity] will, I think, forever change certain types of productions.” Quite high praise from an incredible visionary himself.
Les Miserables (12/7/12)
My favorite Broadway musical is coming to the big screen starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen just to name a few. With one of the hottest directors, Tom Hooper, who is fresh off of taking the awards ceremonies by storm (The King’s Speech, John Adams), the sky is the limit for this film. One of my questions is, who’s going to play the heart-breaking role of Eponine? I’m praying it’s not going to be Taylor Swift.
UPDATE: Taylor Swift has been offered the role for Eponine. That decision in itself almost made me remove Les Miserables off my list of films to watch, but still, Hooper and the rest of the cast should make up for the obvious ploy to attract the young demographic.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12/14/12)
Look who’s back, surrounded by Hobbits and another magical adventure? Peter Jackson has returned to the Lord of the Rings franchise and the level of excitement I have for this film is unmatched. If The Hobbit prequels are anything close to the quality of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, then keep them coming!
This is Forty (12/21/12)
Remember that hilarious and underrated film Knocked Up? Well, Judd Apatow is back with a new chapter of the bickering married couple of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann). This is sure to be just like any other Apatow production, which means I cannot wait to see what kind of shenanigans he’ll present to us. Also adding Jason Segel to the mix can’t hurt.
The Great Gatsby (12/25/12)
Am I dreaming? Is this film FINALLY being released? After studio changes and Baz Luhrmann’s uncertainty about the project, The Great Gatsby is finally coming out. Taking one of the greatest American novels of all-time and then casting Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as leads, I have very high hopes for this movie, even though I’m not a great Luhrmann fan.
Django Unchained (12/25/12)
There aren’t too many directors who have a bigger following than Quentin Tarantino. He’s one of a few directors who express their style and love for film-making in every one of their films. Django Unchained should be no different. Also, check out this male-dominant cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christph Waltz, Kurt Russell, and Jamie Foxx. I promise you that we’re in for something special.