Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Director: Christopher Nolan

Certificate: 12A

Rating: 8/10

Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Following the final seconds of Christopher Nolan’s hugely successful film The Dark Knight, people have been eagerly anticipating another caped crusader film to hit cinemas. On the July 20th 2012, four years after the Joker unleashed anarchy onto the streets of Gotham, the dreams of many were fulfilled in the concluding chapter of the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. The speculation and hype surrounding the final Batman film has been unlike any other, with fans creating their own teaser trailers on YouTube and mocking up posters to tease fellow enthusiasts about possible plot threads or villains that may or may not be playing a part in the conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy. The question therefore is this: did it pay off?

Eight years have passed since the events of the previous film, where we saw Batman taking the blame for the murders and chaos caused by Harvey Dent – this lead to Dent being regarded as a hero throughout Gotham, while Batman was labelled as a murderer and forced into hiding. Now, Gotham faces a new threat in the form of the formidable mercenary Bane (Tom Hardy). Unlike the Joker – a man you revelled in chaos – Bane is a figure who is methodical and precise in his actions, plotting to hit Gotham where it hurts the most and raise it to the ground. Along with Bane, the gorgeous Selina Kyle, played by Anne Hathaway, is the sexy femme fatale figure who flirts her way through difficult situations and comes out looking just as good as ever. Her relationship with Batman and Bruce Wayne is intriguing, with their love/hate relationship becoming one of the key elements of the film’s success. Whereas Bane if the brute force that seeks to destroy the city, Selina Kyle is the female antithesis and parallel of Batman: she could be good, but she chooses not to. Her selfishness separates her from the side of good, but her vulnerability is brought into focus by Batman. However, more importantly: Hathaway is so, so sexy. Along with the leading villains, the familiar characters all play their parts perfectly. It was nice to see more of Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox; however, the absence of Michael Caine as Alfred in the majority of the second half of the film was noticeable. Gary Oldman remains an excellent Commissioner Gordon, while Christian Bale is still brilliant as the enigmatic and damaged Bruce Wayne.

Overall, the film felt like a conclusion, an epic finale that finished the Bruce Wayne story perfectly. For me, the film did not have the same impact as when I saw The Dark Knight, but the story is very different to anything we have seen before. I know for a fact that there will be people out there who if asked what their favourite film in the trilogy was, all three instalments would receive high reviews. What you get at the end is three brilliant films that tell very different stories – a trilogy that is greater than the sum of its parts. The other question is this: Is it as good as The Avengers? In terms the story, then yes The Dark Knight Rises has far more depth to it. With regards to effects and spectacle, then The Avengers may slightly top it. The Avengers is a superb popcorn flick, a summer blockbuster, a film that generated a level of excitement that hasn’t been seen in cinemas for a long time, whereas The Dark Knight Rises becomes the better film the longer you have time to think about it. You will be leaving the cinema unsure whether it was better than The Dark Knight, but then when you get home you with say to yourself: ‘actually that was pretty amazing’. Yea, it is a bit over serious in comparison to The Avengers and even The Amazing Spider-Man, but a fun and epic adventure nonetheless.

As I finished writing this review on a film that I have looked forward to for many years, I feel excited and content I have seen it and was pleased with the result. However, I also feel somewhat upset that it is all over, and that I will never see the film again for the first time or experience another Batman film from Christopher Nolan. But in the words of Dr Seuss: I must not cry because it is over, I must smile because it happened.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Doctor who: Asylum of the Daleks

So the new series of Doctor Who is fast approaching, with rumours circulating concerning what is in store for the Doctor, Amy and Rory in 2012. It has been announced that Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill will be leaving the TARDIS after the first half of series 7, making way for the new, unnamed companion played by Jenna Louise Coleman. There final battle will see them tackling the Weeping Angels, a fan favourite monster that has captured the imagination of the most recent generation of Whovians. However, another foe is set to reappear in the first episode of the series. I am of course referring to the Doctor’s ultimate enemies: the Daleks.

The last time we saw the pepper-pots on our screen was back in Victory of the Daleks, when we saw them posing as the creation of Edwin Bracewell’s, the “Ironsides” in World War II London with Winston Churchill. Head writer Steven Moffat decided to rest the Daleks, with the demonic dustbins making sideline appearances in The Pandorica opens and The Big Bang, along with a very brief cameo in The Wedding of River Song. Moffat expressed his attitude towards the Daleks before series 6 was released. He said: "There's a problem with the Daleks. They are the most famous of the Doctor's adversaries and the most frequent, which means they are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe."

Their return is scheduled to be in the opening episode of series seven, with the title 
Asylum of the Daleks. It has been reported that not only the newly designed and 2005 style Daleks will make an appearance, but every single Dalek throughout the history of the show, including iconic designs such as the Special Weapons Dalek! As you can guess, this is exciting news, but will it pay off? If it works, this is billed to be the most elaborate and boldest Dalek episode ever, but if it doesn’t, it may appear to be just an idea that was thrown together for the sake of trying to bring back the Doctor’s greatest adversaries after a long hiatus. However, I personally cannot wait, and think that the fan concerns and criticisms regarding the Daleks recent incarnation – such as the Power Ranger style designs – will be put to bed forever. Moffat has rarely (well, never thinking about it) let us down, and I don’t think he will do any time soon!

So what do you think about the Daleks returning? Is there another foe of the Doctor that you would like to see return at some point? Let me know below or via twitter!