Sunday, 5 August 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises - Second Pass (SPOILERS)

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Dark Knight Rises poster

The Dark Knight Rises (Spoilers)
165 mins / Dir. Christopher Nolan

Now a lot has been said, since I first saw The Dark Knight Rises, about the vocal delivery of Mr Tom Hardy. In particular, the filtered, muffled effect of the mask he wears, combined with what some are purporting to be an upper-class British accent (I swear I can hear Dutch in there). I myself had more than a little difficulty making out all of his lines, with many of them only being given context by people's replies and reactions. And apparently this was after the vocals had been ADR'd.

I'm happy to say that the second time around, it wasn't as much of a problem. Nowhere near as much, in fact. Was that because I was already familiar with the nature of what he was saying? Was it because instead of sitting centrally in the cinema, I was beside the wall, and the balance of the surround-speakers was different as a result? Was it because the print running in Screen-1 has a different sound mix to the one running in Screen-5? I honestly couldn't say. Possibly one, possibly all. All I can tell you is, I can see why reports have been mixed, with some people having no problem with making out the speech. There were still one or two lines that whooshed right over my head, but it's no biggie.

Elsewhere, I found tDKR a lot easier to watch the second time. Many of the aspects I had trouble with initially were easier to put into place once I knew where everything was was headed. In other words, I could take my foot off the gas and enjoy the ride without the danger of missing anything. I still don't see the point of holding the stock-exchange at gunpoint to facilitate hacking that could have been performed remotely, and I still don't see the actual need for Selina Kyle to be present (other to provide a happy ending*1 for Wayne). But most pertinently, I still don't see why Bane is the choice "to test Batman mentally as well as physically" *2. Hardy is shorter than Bale to begin with, not withstanding the bat-ears, and while he's bulked up, it's not to inhuman-levels (he's not even the shape he was in Warrior) and it's certainly conceivable that Batman's put down thugs bigger than this guy in the past. I can see why he barges his way through the civilian population of Gotham, but past the Batman? His only advantage seems to be that Wayne is out of practice.

Which leaves his psychological prowess. Now obviously, Bane's no moron in the film, but he's not the mastermind of the operation, he's just the frontman. Talia al Ghul is running the show, here, and Bane is essentially hired-muscle whichever way you look at it. Articulate muscle to be sure, but even that's up for debate given his choice of face-wear. Ultimately, I just didn't see Bane as a credible threat to Batman. He was kinda cool, but not a threat.

Outside of this blog, I've also been discussing Bruce Wayne's ongoing medical issues. In tDKR, he walks with a cane and a limp, and the doctor at the hospital makes a pretty plain case of how shredded his body is, but he doesn't seem to have any trouble winching down to Jim Gordon's room for a chat and back again. He also doesn't have much of a limp when he's dancing with Selena Kyle, but that's by-the-by. I've heard it argued that the x-ray shots the doctor is referring to could be falsified, and that Wayne's battered, failing body is part of his cover-story get him into the hospital, and to distance himself from Gotham's dark saviour. That said, if Batman hasn't been around for eight years, why continue the cover? Because of the approaching storm?

Either way, Bruce does construct himself a leg-brace to wear under the Batsuit, and the only other person who knows it's there is Alfred. There'd be little/no point in keeping up the pretence of limited mobility around his trusty servant, so it's safe to assume he needs some assistance in moving around. So if that's the case, why isn't the leg-brace needed once he escapes The Pit? He's in prison-garb, so clearly someone's stripped him down en-route to his new home, and they wouldn't leave the brace on, would they? If the idea is to restrict his movement and leave him to rot in the nick, they'd be as likely to leave him his utility-belt as they would to let him keep the leg-brace.

And while I'm on the subject, I'm not medically qualified but I really don't think the best treatment for a dislodged vertebrae which has been un-tended for several weeks, is to have Tom Conti string you up under the shoulders with a damp, tatty rope and have him punch-you-better in the spine. Even Conti admitted that it's the guy in the next cell who's the actual doctor. But hey, it could catch on.

All-in-all: It is great, but the points I've mentioned there show no sign of being explained with subsequent viewings, and I still don't think it's as cohesive a film as its two predecessors. It's a great complement to them, but it's not quite on the same level.


While I have no problem with films getting better each time you see them, it certainly shouldn't be a requirement

*1 Not like that, filthy mind.
*2 Chris Nolan quote. (link)
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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