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Bruce Wayne is a sad little guy. His girlfriend is dead. He martyrs his Batman-self so that hope cold be restored to a city. And now he's holed up in his big ol' house not talking to anyone. Meanwhile, another sad little guy with half a Darth Vader mask is coming into town and even without seeing his facial expressions, I can tell he's pissed.
The plot is not important for my review here. Bad guy vs. good guy. Yes, Christopher Nolan wrote a good script, but you should se this even if I had written the script. Nolan directed another top notch action movie, upping the ante even more this time. If the Joker takes over a boat, Bane takes the whole of Gotham. The action is riotous, the direction is breathtaking, the IMAX is √ 1/4ber-Imaximous. But if I gotta compare Rises with the last Batman effort (and let's face it, I do) - I have to downgrade for one reason and one reason only:
Bane is badass. Don't get me wrong. But the Joker, and particulary Ledger's portrayal of the Joker, is so much more compelling. Because while he's batshit crazy and his reasoning may change from left to right in an instant, at the end of the day, it didn't matter that his reason ever had an end game. It was all in the doing. Bane, on the other hand, is stoic and purposeful. Even before the purpose is stated, you understand that he's not just here to get rich. You didn't know what the Joker was going to do next. But you pretty much know where to find Bane. I love Tom Hardy, but as Bane- because of the mask and the nature of the character, it's not emotive villain that Ledger one of the best ever.
Picking up the slack though. Good supporting cast. Joseph Gordan Levitt was excellent as a up-coming rookie cop picking up slack where an older Gary Oldman couldn't hold. And I was totally surprised by Anne Hathaway. The fact that there was a Catwoman at all was a total eyeroller for me. And true, she does get 99% of any quirky chuckly Hollywood tag-lines in this flick. Which could also be distracting. But other than that, she carried strength poise and sexiness. And after five months of Gotham marshall law, she still found time to clean up and find some maybelline stashed away. Good for her.
...and the ending could have been different. (If you ask me)
Without the luxury of getting this in IMAX 3-D, I don't know if I would recommend that you hurry out to see this. The star rating ignores those gimmicks, but it shouldn't be ignored from your ticket-buying choice. This is a beautifully CGI-ed flick. I would say that it's not as fantastic as last year's Avatar from an FX perspective, but it's also not nearly as ridiculous in the dialouge/script/acting side of things.
CGI aside, the film is not bad at all. It has it's flaws, to be sure, but the main plot for the search for the meaning of life has value. Basically, some 100 years into Earth's future, some archaeologists put together some cave dwellings by unrelated sources to show that they were all communicating a common thing. So, some private corporate eccentric funds a huge mission for these guys to travel for three years to another galaxy where an Earth-like planet floats around. They feel like they've been invited to meet the beings that created Earthlings. A foreign species who came down, fucked some monkeys and then deserted us.
Those existential questions are raised here and there but take a backseat to the action of the hostility that the crew starts to endure. The mystery of this new planet is exasperated by the ever-present Ridley Scott staple... the soulless human-like droid. As droided David, Michael Fassbender is clearly the most important part of the movie. He starts running some secret experiments at the expense of the crew's safety. Most of Fassbender's performance is top form, but I don't mind saying that David shows definite remorse when people acknowledge him as a second-class machine. Robots shouldn't have pride. (logic break)
All performances are fine, and the story as a whole holds up fine. The parts that don't work involve every human-relationship reference. This script should have focused on the science, the philosophy and the mystery of the planet. The fact that the two main scientists are lovers has no value whatsoever. And there is a straight-up James-Cameron-level absurd reveal in the third act with Charlize Theron's character which was obvious and stupid. It would have been better for Vickers to remain the cold-blooded queen bitch.
We travel to another galaxy on a city-sized ship and there's 17 people on it? Bullshit. Logically, there would be an army of security on this ship to protect everything that was paid for.
We travel to another galaxy on a city-sized ship and our remote travel are little 4-wheeled ATV's? Aren't we beyond wheels now? Where's the hovering sand-speeder?
We travel to another galaxy on a city-sized ship to a foreign planet and our only weapons are a WWII-era flame-thrower and some 9mm pistols? The ship isn't even equipped with weapons? Bullshit.
You've got a dentist chair that can perform 30-second self-abortions and remove tumors in a sterile environment. So why does one of the scientists wear glasses? Near-sightedness still too tricky in the 22nd century?
Jack is a bastard of a radio talk show host. One day he says the wrong thing to the wrong guy. Said guy unloads a rifle and shoots up a local bar, and that quick- Jack's ruined. Cut to three years later, Jack is a drunk living as log's lump with the last woman who can tolerate him. Finally, in a suicide attempt, he is nearly murdered, but then saved by a nearby bum. That bum happens to be the husband of a woman killed in the aforementioned shooting.
There is hardly an actor in the Hills ho can play down-and-out drunk better than Jeff Bridges. As a delusional schizophrenic, Robin Williiams is just as amazing. With his new friend, Jack sees a road to redemption. If he can help Parry in some way, then maybe he can overcome his guilt for his homicidal inspiration. Unfortunately, the help that is requested is to help steal the Holy Grail from a billionaire's mansion. Without a perfect plan there, instead the two form a bond over trying to win the heart of the girl that Parry pines for.
Friendship, love, commitment, redemption. The values are magically portrayed by the performances of the actors and the direction of Terry Gilliam. The fact that Thelma & Louise stole the screenplay Oscar from Richard LaGravenese is a travesty. Better Oscar manners gave Mercedes Rhuel proper dues. Her portrayal of Anne is a perfect combination of a strong, no-bullshit broad and a frail girl falling for another flawed man.
Drink from the cup of human kindness. Waltz in a train station. Lay naked in a field. Defeat the Red Knight. Tell her you love her.
I am not a big proponent of comic book movies. Not that I read and respect comics, but those who do put a lot value in the commitment put into their characters. The movie versions turn out to be little more than taking the pretty colors off the page and 3-D'ing them.
This film has that. I mean, it's certainly visually spectacular. It's a shame that Joss Whedon is going to get all the credit for that, when I'm sure he has a team of genius carrying that end. (His best stuff is tv, right?) What Whedon does get definite kudos from me about is the screenplay and the pacing. There's six Avengers, not counting Nick Fury. I love the fact that their introductions are not belabored with some drawn out flashbacks of how they got to where they are. Their personalities come out in snippets, often funny. And always takes a backseat to the action.
Acting is not something that is going to be a big part of a film like this, and most of the performances are steady. The two that carry the most heavy lifting here are of course Iron Man and the Hulk. Robert Downey, Jr. has already proven his mettle here and needless to say he brings everything good about Tony Stark to this film as well. But this is Mark Ruffalo's first turn at David Banner. His performance is full of a nervous calm that seems very true to a guy who really can't afford to lose his cool.
My slight is only really with the villain Loki. Of course, the real danger is the misplaced power source, but still, I think that after the brillance of Ledger's Joker, we should be able to serve up more than a snivelling turd who's main motivation is daddy issues.
It's a tired, clich√ (C)d story. Boy meets girl at a basement bar cricket-eating contest.... and then it gets weird.
Milly is clearly impetuous. Does anything that's dared her. Woodrow has a more timid demeanor. But Milly is beautiful, fun and cool as hell. When they form their bond, she warns him. "I'll hurt you." "You won't hurt me." A man who could see the future would still have a hard time turning her away.
Jobs are never discussed. And while everyone is living no better than mattress-on-floor California rentals; Woodrow and his bestie Aiden spend the bulk of their time building a flamethrower and a flame-throwing muscle car in anticipation of being Mad Max heroes of the apocalypse.
A key scene has Woodrow leaving for some outing (work? who knows?). Milly is clearly disappointed that he's leaving and the elongated time that she'll be without him. When he says, "I love you." Milly immediately snaps and gives disappointed sigh, as if that expression changed everything. As Milly, Jessie Wiseman is a perfect combination of danger, fun and sex. Expect her to be a Bond girl. She will be huge.
Well, Milly does end up hurting Woodrow. And in a motorcycle raging-away moment, Woody gets hit by a car. Returning bruised, battered and somewhat brain-damaged, Woody loses focus. Aiden continues to support him with auto-construction. But Woody still finds selfish solace with Milly's best friend-slash-Aiden's one-time interest. The frustration builds as Woody and Milly one-up some revenges upon each other to the film's conclusion. In the end, the audience is left to wonder if what we want to do is really what we choose to do. While I left the film feeling safe that I am not in a relationship, but also regretting any acrimony that led me to distance myself from anyone I've ever loved.
While the script and direction are top-notch, the main accolades are coming from the cinematography side. Joel Hodge colors the film with beautiful frames of blurred-to-shimmering images. He used a camera apparently designed by Evan Glodell, who also wrote/directed/edited this movie, as well as starring in the lead role. If I were to discredit anything about this movie, it would be Evan's acting. His shyboy routine is too precious to be accurate. And when things turn dark, his moodiness is simply one-note. But it sounds like he'll be able to practice and perfect that skill as well.