Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Quick Thoughts

In short, it was awesome and amazing. I don't think it will displace The Dark Knight as my favorite movie ever, nor do I think it will displace Avengers as the best movie of the year. But, fantastic nonetheless, a fitting end for the Nolan trilogy. Though, I would not in any way be averse to another sequel.

I want to see it again. Hopefully sometime this next week.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight - Thoughts and Reflections

The awesome hosts at Now Playing Podcast reviewed The Dark Knight this week, in anticipation of The Dark Knight Rises. I'm a huge fan of the podcast, and watched The Dark Knight last night for the podcast and TDKR last night. And I had a few thoughts that I shared on the forum, but since it ended up being a novella-length post I thought I might as well post it here. So here it is, in case anybody cares. Mainly I address the climax of the film, as the hosts mostly felt that it wasn't as strong as the earlier action scenes.

Wow, there is just so much I could say about this film. I listened to most of the podcast yesterday, didn't get to finish it before I had time to sit and watch the movie, and have just finished up the podcast this morning.

I was running late, I've been trying to pull my bedtime back from 2:30-3am to a slightly more reasonable 2-2:30, but I started the movie late, forgetting it was 2.5 hours, not 2. 2 came around and I half-heartedly started looking for places to stop, but THERE IS NO PLACE TO STOP in this film. There's no lowering of the tension, not break in the movement, at least not of the last hour, maybe there was earlier, I don't remember. I pretty quickly gave up clock watching and sat there entranced till the very last moment.

I really like the climax. I can understand some not finding it to quite be on the same level as the highway chase, with the amazing semi-flipping (and the video on how they did that is awesome), but for me the tension is higher at that point, so even though the action is less, I'm more involved in it. No, we don't know who the people are on either boat, but so what? They're still people; and trust me, this is weird for me to say, because in general I feel nothing for people I don't know, they're almost not even human beings to me. And I FEEL the fear and tension on those boats, and the indecision and moral dilemma, 'do we, as law abiding citizens have the right to execute those lawfully being punished for crimes'?

And believe you me, I would totally vote for blowing up the other boat. And I would totally be the guy that stands up to push the button. I relate to that old guy who stands up and says he'll do it, when he does that. I've often thought that I could totally kill some one to defend my wife or kids, and not have a second thought about it afterwards, because it was the right thing to do at the time. But then, the film grabs me and says, 'Wait, think about it. Could you REALLY kill people to save your own life, and others?" And I contemplate that, and I can see this dude on screen contemplating it. And it's hard for him, he doesn't get to see the innocent people on the other boat like we do, the guards, the ferry operators. Is it right to condemn those people along side the evil people they have to guard. Do the needs of the many truly outweigh the needs of the few, and are you willing to make that choice.

And I have always thought, and even decided last night again, that yes, I would do that.  And then the hosts bring up the point I had never considered: Was the detonator really for the OTHER boat, or was it really for their own boat. And talk about a shocking moment of clarity in my mind when you said that. Because, hell yes, the Joker gave them their own detonator. No, it's never said that for sure he did, but when the detonator is discovered that's the first question asked, "Why would he give us the detonator to our bomb?" It is COMPLETELY in keeping with what the Joker has done in this film, switching the street addresses of Harvey and Rachel, switching the doctors and the clowns. I have no doubt the Joker intended to blow up the people who were willing to blow up the other people, and that is super chilling to me, because I was willing to blow up the other people.

And that leads me back to the SWAT assault on the building with the doctors and clowns. That scene is awesome and tense for me, and I might name it my favorite scene, if I was to have to pick a favorite of my children. I completely understand that the SWAT team is ready to go in and kill the clowns to save the hostages, and they are right to do so, it's their job, and the moral thing to do, in my mind. And yet when we discover the hostages have been disguised as the criminal, so the snipers are lined up to blow 3 (or 5?) of them away immediately, it was the most chilling moment of my viewing last night. Even though I knew it was coming.

I love that Joker inadvertently turned Batman into the bad guy at that point, because he has to take out the SWAT team before they kill any hostages (and imagine for a moment, being a SWAT member and discovering that you'd shot a hostage instead of the hostage-taker). And of course, the best part is him tangling the cables up around the guys, and the almost casual way he kicks the one off the building, and they all one by one get yoinked out the window. F-ing amazing. And the looks on the other guys' faces when it happens, priceless.

In the interrogation room the Joker told Batman he would have to break his one rule in order to defeat him. And he was right, though maybe not in the way he originally meant. You talked that he did it when he killed Harvey, I look at that more in a Ra's al Ghul-I-don't-have-to-save-you kind of way, or that Harvey isn't dead and they're covering it up. But that he takes the fall for the people that Harvey killed. He didn't really break his rule, but he lets people think he did, so that Harvey can remain untainted in the public eye. And the way the music is, and the slow-mo and Gordon's voice breaking as he explains to his son that they have to chase him, and the words he uses, the way they're spoken. I don't tear up often, I am just not that emotional, but this ending really gets me.

I know nobody is going to read this because it's so freaking long, but there's one quick thing I want to point out that I noticed last night. What happens to Lao?  When listening to the podcast before watching the film you guys say that Joker escapes so he can get Lao, and you never mention him again, and I thought back to my last viewing and didn't remember seeing him after that scene, so I assumed that it was indicated that Joker killed him in the jail. But no, he took him alive from jail. What happened to him?

He's sitting tied up on top of the big pile of money, that JOKER SETS ON FIRE. :o

Some people throw hyperbolic phrases around so often that they're meaningless (my boss says 'that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard' AT LEAST once a day), I strive to not do so, so I mean it when I say, The Dark Knight is best movie I have ever seen. For as much as I love the Original Star Wars Trilogy, Hellboy, Blade 2, Terminator, Predator, The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight just blows them all away. Like the podcast kept saying, the story is so dense, yet so tight and coherent, it's amazing just how fantastically great this movie is. It perfectly captures everything I get out of Batman comics, and everything I WANT out of Batman comics. It is the greatest movie in existence.

After Avengers this summer, I didn't know if I could still say that. I loved Avengers so much, it was one of those rare movies I saw more than once in the theater, it's one of those rare ones I'll buy on DVD the moment it is release. It was the best comic book movie, capturing the fantasy feel of the comic book world, and so much FUN, which TDK isn't, and TDKR won't be. But after last night's viewing, I can confidently again say that TDK is still, to me, the greatest film ever made. And I doubt anything will ever top it. They may come close, like Avengers, but this movie is the most perfect film for me that exists.

I almost find it scary just how much I'm anticipating The Dark Knight Rises. The only other movies I can think of that I was this hyped and excited for are Avengers and The Dark Knight, and both movies far exceeded my expectations, so I'm finding it very hard to keep my expectations under control. I'm somewhat fearful that TDKR can't possibly live up to my expectations, especially since it features the two characters have been the mostly royally screwed over in previous films (Gah! Batman and Robin SUCKS SO MUCH!), it can't possibly be as good as TDK, I certainly don't expect it to be better than TDK, or to be as financially successful as Avengers (but it would be awesome if it is, and I'll do what I can to help it out) but I truly thought that about TDK vs Batman Begins. So we'll see. I have tickets for 12:05 am tonight, first showing in my little town, and I cannot wait.

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