Last Update: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

REVIEW- Batman Series Ends As Epic Letdown PDF Print E-mail
Written by Christy Lemire AP Movie Critic   
Thursday, 19 July 2012 01:57

RON PHILLIPS/WARNER BROS. PICTURES/AP PHOTO

This undated film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, left, and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises."

Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy in typically spectacular, ambitious fashion with "The Dark Knight Rises," but the feeling of frustration and disappointment is unshakable.

Maybe that was inevitable. Maybe nothing could have met the expectations established by 2008's "The Dark Knight," which revolutionized and set the standard for films based on comic books by being both highminded and crowd-pleasing. With Christian Bale as his tortured superhero starting from 2005's "Batman Begins," Nolan has explored the complicated and conflicting motivations of man as well as the possibility of greatness and redemption within society.

Here, as director and co-writer, he's unrelenting in hammering home the dread, the sorrow, the sense of detachment and futility of a city on the brink of collapse with no savior in sight. Gotham is under siege in ways that tonally and visually recall 9/11; what is obviously the island of Manhattan gets cut off from the outside world at one point. Rather than seeming exploitative, it's just one of many examples of the script from Nolan and his usual collaborator, his brother Jonathan, making the franchise feel like a relevant reflection of our times. Identity theft, economic collapse and an uprising of the disgruntled, disenfranchised have-nots against the smug, comfy haves also come into play.

There's so much going on here, though, with so many new characters who are all meant to function in significant ways that "The Dark Knight Rises" feels overloaded, and sadly lacking the spark that gave 2008's "The Dark Knight" such vibrancy. The absence of Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the anarchic and truly frightening Joker, is really obvious here. It retrospect, it makes you realize how crucial Ledger's performance was in making that Batman movie fly.

By comparison, "The Dark Knight Rises" is plot-heavy, obsessed with process, laden with expository dialogue and flashbacks that bog down the momentum and - dare I say it? - just flat-out boring at times. Yes, the Batman world through Nolan's eyes is supposed to be moody and introspective; you've got to admire the fact that he is willing to challenge us this way when summer blockbusters so often feel flashy and hollow. And yet at the same time, it takes some giant leaps with its characters which either make no sense, haven't earned the emotions they're seeking, or both.

"The Dark Knight Rises" does feature the kind of impeccable production values we've come to expect from Nolan's films; many members of his core team are back, including cinematographer Wally Pfister, editor Lee Smith and production designers Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh. "The Dark Knight Rises" feels weighty and substantive - and, thankfully, isn't in 3-D - but it takes on an even grittier look than its predecessors as Gotham City devolves into desperation and ruin. But Nolan's approach is so coldly cerebral that it's a detriment to the film's emotional core. It's all doom and gloom and no heart. There is no reason to care about these characters, who function more as cogs in an elaborate, chaotic machine than as real people whose souls are at stake.

It's been four years since "The Dark Knight" came out but eight years have passed in terms of story. Bale's Bruce Wayne suffers in self-imposed exile, sulking about Wayne Manor, mourning the loss of his darling Rachel and carrying the burden of blame for the death of District Attorney Harvey Dent. His goal of a peaceful Gotham has been achieved, but he's left as a man without a purpose. Michael Caine, as the ever-loyal valet Alfred, brings dignity and eloquence to the film as he begs Bruce to carve out his own form of happiness. Fellow veterans Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman as gadget guru Lucius Fox are their usual dignified selves, but they don't register the way they should because the film is so overstuffed.

Several new characters manage to draw Bruce out of his funk in various ways. Anne Hathaway brings some much needed zest to the proceedings as Selina Kyle, otherwise known as Catwoman in the Batman universe, a slinky thief who punctures Bruce's bubble when she lifts his fingerprints from his safe, along with a beloved pearl necklace. She's selfish and cynical, only looking out for herself, but at least she goes about her crimes with some verve and style. They never call her Catwoman by name, and she's never as campy as Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry were in previous film incarnations of the role, but she's always fun to watch.

The other woman in Bruce's life, however, is woefully underdeveloped - which is a real problem because she plays a key role in the film's climactic revelations. Marion Cotillard (one of many alumni from Nolan's "Inception") co-stars as Miranda Tate, a wealthy philanthropist who hopes to work with Wayne Enterprises on developing clean, sustainable energy. The romance that develops between her and Bruce is utterly unbelievable.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt adds a youthful presence as John Blake, an up-and-coming member of the police force who inspires Bruce to revisit his own childhood as an orphan. Gordon- Levitt as solid as always but there's not much to his character aside from earnestness.

Then there's Bane, a muscular mass of pure evil who orchestrates an elaborate takeover of Gotham City. The role is a huge waste of what Tom Hardy can do; his character is so onedimensional and poorly defined, he's never so much a fearsome figure as a large and hulking one. It doesn't help matters that it's often difficult to make out what he's saying beneath the cage-like muzzle that covers his nose and mouth and alters his voice. Hardy can be sexy and charismatic (as he proved in "Inception") but also a dangerous and unpredictable figure. None of that is on display here. He's all brute force.

But he is the instigator of the film's dazzling opening sequence, worthy of the best of James Bond: a daring aerial maneuver in which Bane kidnaps a scientist by hijacking his plane from the skies above. That's probably the most effective of the many set pieces Nolan stages here, although the collapse of Heinz Field during a packed football game also has an urgent, visceral quality, with thrills that recall the most imaginative moments of "Inception."

This is the problem when you're an exceptional, visionary filmmaker. When you give people something extraordinary, they expect it every time. Anything short of that feels like a letdown.

"The Dark Knight Rises," a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language. Running time: 164 minutes. Two stars out of four.

Share
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 01:59
 






Team members care for thousands of the region's sickest children with heart conditions, including fetuses, newborns, infants, children, adolescents, and adult, long-term patients with pediatric cardiovascular conditions. At Children's families experience coordinated, next-generation care, delivered by a compassionate, multidisciplinary team of leaders in the pediatric cardiology field. One of the largest pediatric cardiovascular programs in the region. Studies have shown that high volumes are associated with high quality and better outcomes, because experience is a major factor in quality of care. Wort was traditionally prescribed in parts of Europe for depression (in addition to use as a general-purpose tea), and Chinese medicine developed elaborate lists of herbs and preparations. With the scientific revolution in Europe and the United States, the use of traditional herbal remedies fell out of favor with the mainstream medical establishment, although a few people continued to use and maintain knowledge of traditional European herblore. In the early 20th century, scientists began reassessing this rejection of traditional herbs in medicine. Vorzüge eines intakten und lebendigen Gemeinschaftslebens bewahren. Dafür sorgen nicht zuletzt gut 120 lokale Vereine. Als wichtiger Faktor im Kulturleben haben sich die zahlreichen Museen und einige Kunstgalerien erwiesen. Descriptive and quantitative transcriptome analyses are important for interpreting the functional elements of the genome and revealing the molecular constituents of cells and tissues. It is known that sperm function can be affected by ASG proteins, including the processes of capacitation and the acrosome reaction, as well as canadian pharmacy accutane sperm motility, DNA integrity and interaction with the oocyte. BSPs (bovine seminal plasma protein, unigene 64,588 and unigene 69,768), fertilin (unigene 17,270 and unigene 27,136), ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme, unigene 7,164 and unigene 21,069), GPX5 (glutathione peroxidase, epididymal secretory glutathione peroxidase, unigene15860), Spermadhesin-1 (Acidic seminal fluid protein, aSFP). The reproduction-related transcripts identified in the ASG and testis transcritptomes in E. This interaction of PDC-109 with the sperm cell membrane results in an efflux of cholesterol and choline phospholipids, that appears to be important for capacitation. The main changes in spermatozoa that occur during epididymal maturation are the ability to move, recognize and bind to the ZP, and to fuse with the plasma membrane of the oocyte.. Oct 2004, Adelaide, Australia. Ziaian T, Augostinos, M. Relationship Between Acculturation and Mental Well-being Among Young Persian Women Living in Australia. Paper presented at the Educational Research conference, 18th November 2004, Adelaide, Australia. Ziaian T, Stress Management: an introduction of holistic coping strategies. A Four day Course for the higher degree students. Targeted molecular therapy for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. Minimally invasive surgery for gynecological cancer. Pharmaceutical Sciences from Shizuoka College of Pharmacy (1976, Japan). He has completed his B. Prophylactic removal of nevi without clinically worrisome characteristics is not recommended. The reasons for this are practical: many individuals in these families have a large number of nevi, and complete removal of them all is not feasible, since new atypical nevi continue to develop. In addition, individuals with increased susceptibility to melanoma may have cancer arise de novo, without a precursor lesion such as a nevus. The disadvantages of screening include the limitations of available noninvasive testing methods and the risks associated with invasive screening procedures. ERCP is the gold standard for http://www.jerseycanada.com/jerseyatlantic/fnt/ultramer.php identifying early cancers and precancerous lesions in the pancreas..