Saturday, July 21, 2012

Okay, So I'll Talk About Dark Knight Rises

For some reason it's hard for me to write a review or an opinion of Dark Knight Rises.  It was easy with Avengers or Amazing Spider-Man, but this one is tough.  I felt very similarly after the Dark Knight came out.  There was so much going on all over the place in the movie, I almost had to let my brain settle before I could sort things out.

If you are a Batman fan, and you can sit through three hours of movie, I certainly recommend it.  I think what makes me reticent to throw out a "go see it now" or "it was okay" is that all of Nolan's Batman movies have been very much an exercise in tone and theme and symbol.  That doesn't make it better than Avengers, by a long shot, but it does mean that it's a lot harder to just sit down and watch.

Once these things get to cable, if I see Avengers on, I'll dead stop and watch it from wherever it's going when I see it.  I've been that way with most of the better Marvel movies.  On the other hand, you almost have to get invested and into the right mindset to watch the Nolan Batman movies.  I watch movies while I'm doing other things a lot of the time.  I can't do that with the Nolan movies.

Nolan's movies remind me of things like Full Metal Jacket and the Passion of the Christ.  They are movies I really like, but I can't casually watch them.  

It's probably just me.  I know plenty of people that can probably jump in on a Scarecrow or Joker scene and just start watching.  There are just certain movies that take up a lot of mental bandwidth for me, not because they are deep, per se, but because they just get tendrils into parts of the brain that I can usually consciously choose to engage or not engage, if that makes any sense.

What's weird is, as much as I enjoy the Nolan movies, and think they are a really interesting, complete saga, and something that a Batman fan is probably well served in watching, I really want something a little more . . . comic book? . . . in tone next time out.  In fact, I was kind of disappointed that the trailer for Man of Steel looks so much like the Nolan Batman movies.  

Watching the Nolan Batman movies, I felt like we knew what the "right things" were going in, but it was an endurance feat to make to the end, to ride out the storm, to hang on and see what needed to be done to it's conclusion.  You felt battered and relieved in the end after all of the pain and tribulation.  You feel tired after the movie, but the good kind of tired.  Worn out from the rollercoaster ride.

It's not a bad thing, but it's not the kind of thing I want to do all of the time.  I think you really need a break between movies with this kind of pacing and tone, and DC should probably tread carefully before deciding that every character in their stable is best served with this same treatment in mind.

I will say, however, that it's very, very nice to get to see Bane as a tactical genius and an all around bad guy, and not just a very poor afterthought thrown into an already bad movie.

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