I was lucky enough to be invited by my friends at Nokia (thanks Leo) to have a sneak peek at The Dark Knight Rises a full week before it hit cinemas officially.
I think it’s safe to say that it’s one of this year’s most anticipated movies, and ranked in my books as 2nd only to The Avengers on my “have to see this movie or I die” list.
So, what did I think?
The Dark Knight Rises is one of those movies that you hope would live up to the hype, because the previous two Nolan movies have, quite literally, set the bar so high that anything short of spectacular just won’t do.
Sadly, though, DKR just misses the mark…but ever so slightly.
Look, that’s not to say that it’s a bad movie. Far from it. It’s a very well-produced movie and, in true Nolan style, it’s a movie that’s loaded with twists, which slowly builds up into an explosion of action.
Nolan handles this ensemble cast beautifully. Anne Hathaway (Catwoman/Selina Kyle) is a visual treat at the best of times, and the performances from Gary Oldman (as Comissioner Gordon), Christian Bale (as Bruce Wayne/Batman) and Joseph Gordon Levitt (as Blake) are as polished as you’d expect.
The story is also fascinating, and an interesting mash-up of the original Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns and No Man’s Land storylines from the comic books of the late 90s and early 2000s.
So, where did it fall short?
Well, for me anyway, Nolan has grounded Batman a little too much. The first two movies were great because he took this comic book character and made his story somewhat believable. You could sit back, look at The Dark Knight and say: “ja, I can imagine a rich guy doing this in real life”.
What bothered me, though, was that Nolan took one of the most “comic-bookey” characters from Batman and made him real. He turned Bane from a psychotic artificially-enhanced mad man to a highly philosophical, politicised terrorist with a socialist agenda. I also didn’t like his voice. Much like every time Mike Tyson opens his mouth, what comes out doesn’t reflect the image.
The Joker (played by Heath Ledger RIP) is still Nolan’s best Batman villain. And probably the best film version of any of Batman’s foes of all time. Hands down.
I don’t know if it was the acoustics in the cinema where we watched the movie, but the sound was horrendous. The musical soundtrack was way too loud, and often drowned out the voices of the actors – especially when Bale used his Batman voice and, well, every time Tom Hardy (Bane) said anything.
I really couldn’t hear what was going on in most of the movie and I’d hazard a guess that I probably missed a good 60% of the dialogue.
You know what? It just occurred to me that it really didn’t matter at the time. Nolan’s quite a masterful filmmaker that, while I didn’t hear much of what was going on, I could still follow the story quite well and ended up feeling the same level of awe come the end of the movie as I did when watching…well, anything else he’s ever made for that matter.
The Dark Knight Rises is definitely re-watchable and I’ll more than likely buy the Blu-ray…if only to hear if they fixed the audio levels and catch up on what Bane and Batman were actually saying in the movie.
Even though it’s not Nolan’s best piece of work, DKR is still a great movie and a fitting end to his Batman trilogy.
And without being too spoilery, it will be interesting to see if Nolan decides to do anything with the ending of the movie or if this is really the end of his involvement in the DC Universe.
The Dark Knight Rises opens in cinemas today.
Wash is our resident uber-geek. He sleeps on a pile of comics, speaks fluent Klingon and spends his weekends unleashing all manner of Hell on the battlefields of his PC. If it’s related to gaming, comics, sci-fi or any other form of geekitude… chances are Wash has his sticky paws all over it.