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The Dark Knight Rises [Blu-ray]
The Dark Knight Rises [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Christian Bale
Price: $8.96
178 used & new from $3.93

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let my user name fool you, October 8, 2012
I was probably more excited for this film than any other I've ever seen (with the possible exception of its predecessor, the Dark Knight), and it did not disappoint. TDKR was a more-than-fitting conclusion to what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.

Performances were stellar across the board:

- Christian Bale's portrayal of a grief-ridden/nigh-broken, yet genuinely heroic Bruce Wayne only further solidifies my view of him as the best Batman to ever grace the big screen. Those who take issue with his heavily gruff "Batman voice" will find no comfort in Rises (no surprise), but, as someone who embraces that aspect of Bale's spin on the character and appreciates his understanding of what Batman is ultimately about, I'm more than pleased with the Caped Crusader.

- Tom Hardy was a brilliant Bane. Nolan did well not to follow the comics too closely with this character (TDKR's Bane is close enough to his comic book version to maintain adequate familiarity, but not ridiculously so). Furthermore, while I can understand the complaints about Bane's mask sometimes muffling his voice, I was highly, highly fascinated and entertained nearly every time he spoke. In that regard, I believe that Hardy made the character his own - turning in a performance that reflected enough of both our world AND the spirit of the comics to please a wide array of audiences. One thing I love to sense about a film's villain is a great presence, and that's something I felt each time Bane made an appearance. It's not the easiest thing to explain, but all of the villians in this trilogy had it. There was little-to-no wasted screen time with Scarecrow, Ra's Al Ghul, or the Joker in previous installments, and Bane is no exception here.

- I was probably in the minority with Anne Hathaway; I expected her to do well. Even so, I was surprised by just how well she did. She captures Catwoman's ethical ambiguity and strong personality beautifully. Never does she seem overmatched or out of place in scenes alongside Bruce Wayne or Batman, and, like Hardy, she fits rather seamlessly into Nolan's film-world overall. Though the internal conflict she struggles with isn't something I haven't seen before with characters of her type, she expresses it in such a way to make it worth caring about. Great stuff.

- Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt also leave their marks on the film in a very good way, albeit in smaller roles (or so it would seem). Gordon-Levitt especially shines as police officer John Blake, who's genuine desire to serve and protect is much like Commissioner Gordon's. Also like Gordon, Blake is a largely unheralded, yet courageously dedicated combatant in the raging battle between good and evil on Gotham's streets. Don't confuse goodness with cheesiness here though; the air of innocence surrounding Blake is as engaging as the corruption for which Gotham's finest is mostly known. Marion Cotillard (or Miranda Tate, as she's known in the movie) probably had the least to work with of any major player as it pertains to character development. Still, she was more than interesting enough to keep me wondering about her true role in the plot. Great twist involving her character.

- Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman are all brilliant as usual. No more need be said about them.

The performances above also contribute to some of the movie's best scenes. One in particular - Batman's first meeting with Bane and the developments which ensued - might be my favorite of the entire trilogy. Hardy was brilliant here at capturing that combination of genius and cold, calculating physicality which makes Bane one of Batman's deadliest enemies. Gordon-Levitt, Hathaway, Oldman and Caine also come to mind when I think of the movie's best moments. No need to narrow it down though; the Dark Knight Rises itself is a masterpiece.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2012 9:29 PM PDT

The Amazing Spider-Man (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
The Amazing Spider-Man (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Andrew Garfield
Price: $19.99
54 used & new from $7.00

14 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At least rent it first, September 29, 2012
This film disappointed me. I went to the theater expecting a film better than the Avengers (which I liked alot, but didn't love) - a film second only to the Dark Knight Rises of all the summer blockbusters. Instead, I saw Peter Parker zipping around on his skateboard and looking like a cross between a teenaged X-Games reject and a goth, a giant talking Lizard with an accent (the accent wasn't a problem; the portrayal of the character as a whole was), and - SPOILER ALERT - Peter becoming Spiderman without having first found his uncle's killer. I understand that the retelling of a story already so familiar to so many usually calls for tweaks here and there, but how exactly am I supposed to believe that Peter Parker is fully invested in this whole "superhero" thing when the aforementioned pivotal moment is ommitted from his development? Does it just happen?

Don't get me wrong; I understand that this movie is most likely just the beginning of a series, and the many questions raised by it could be answered in films to come (and satisfyingly so). This may mean that fans like myself can expect a great, full-bodied sequel(s). However, such an approach can be overdone, as I believe it was here. This film left a bit too much to be desired. Andrew Garfield is a good actor - however, the material with which he had to work left me a little lost on his journey to becoming Spiderman. I wasn't buying his motivation for becoming a true, self-sacrificing crimefighter, nor was I moved by his and Emma Stone's (Gwen Stacy's) relationship. All of that, and I was kind of annoyed by the overuse of "awkward teenager"-stylized dialogue that both characters stammered through in their talks with each other.

Emma Stone's was another case of good acting with lacking material, but I'm not sure if I can make said excuse for Rhys Ifans. The Lizard was just bland; a case of poor execution without a hint of true menace to his look (not the most impressive CGI job to say the least). Add all of that to the fact that the Lizard - not Dr. Connors, but the LIZARD - could talk, and you're left with man-lizard sized cheesiness. And if you're expecting compensation for all of this in the form of knock-down, drag-out fight scenes between the Lizard and Spiderman, think again. I certainly wasn't pleased with Spiderman's overuse of webbing and acrobatics against the monster. Call me old-fashioned, but I wanted to see more fist-fighting and better displays of both characters' physical strength. The fight scenes (all of them, not just the ones involving the Lizard) looked too much like dancing. Pretty boring, frustrating stuff to watch.

In a word, this movie felt incomplete. Whether with regards to character development or the plot itself, the Amazing Spiderman seemed too much like the setup for something better. The good news about that comes in the form of much potential for a great sequel, but the bad news is - until said sequel is made - all we have is this.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2012 10:50 AM PDT

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