So, what did you make of the Dark Knight Rises? In the words of Bane - "Let the games begin." But, just before they begin, a reminder that if you haven't seen Dark Knight Rises yet, the following discussion will include spoilers.
So, first things first, I thought Dark Knight Rises was a blast. A fast-moving, slick and action-packed blast. The best description I have heard of the film is "a big clunky awesome thing'' in this video review.
That's pretty spot on. It clunks and heaves at times, but moves with such slick confidence, purpose and vigour that you get swept along. I was reminded of a line from one of Christopher Nolan's earlier films, The Prestige, a cool little film about duelling magicians from 2006. It is the third best film to feature David Bowie after The Man who Fell to Earth and, naturally, Labyrinth.
But, anyway, here's the line:
"Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because, of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled."
Dark Knight and its sequel both remind me of this line. Both films are like conjuring tricks - enchanting and thrilling at the time, but they start to unravel slightly if you think about them too much or subject them to a second viewing.
The conjuring trick is pulled off with great acting, superb cinematography, multi-stranded narratives, slick direction and a driving plot. It is all delivered with such precision, polish and finesse that you don't have time to think too much.
These are like the magician's flourishes to keep your eyes away from the hand that is secretly palming your chosen card or frantically bundling a rabbit into a top hat.
Dark Knight Rises may nod to zeitgeisty issues like Occupy Wall Street and societal collapse, but these just provide the backdrop for a superhero action movie that is slightly more thoughtful than normal, but not as thoughtful as it appears.
But I don't care, I want to be fooled. If I hadn't fallen for the illusion, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the thrills.
And what thrills. Bane was a mesmerising standout for me. He hummed with menace and was genuinely creepy. What a fantastic voice. He sounded like an Eton-educated Darth Vader. And what physicality.
But, however badass, Bane eventually fell prey to "Boba Fett Syndrome". This is a syndrome where a really cool baddie is dispensed with in an undignified and jokey way.
Here is the original instance of Boba Fett Syndrome in action:
Bane and Boba deserved more than that.
But, overall I couldn't help but be rigorously entertained by Dark Knight Rises. I was happy not to let light in on magic and just go along for the ride.
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