The Dark Knight Rises

Batman has always been one of my favorite superheros, since he (along with Ironman) has to use other means of fighting than actual super powers. Batman uses training and technology, mostly, in his drive to ride Gotham of evil-doers.

I was wondering how Nolan would wrap up his Batman trilogy, since The Dark Knight Rises was billed as the “epic conclusion.” There were many rumors about the outcome, but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it.

One thing I noticed were the allusions to and use of themes from Dickens A Tale of Two Cities. It was an interesting and powerful idea, especially the illustration of what a modern-day French revolution might look like. Frightening and horrific.

The Dark Knight Rises is an example of what can be done to make a movie both an excellent action movie and a movie with plot and character development. The movie showcases many of the previous stars–obviously Bale as Wayne/Batman–but also Gary Oldman as Gordon, Michael Caine as Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. Some excellent new additions were Anne Hathaway as Sabrina Kyle/Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Officer Blake, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate. And then, of course, there was Tom Hardy as Bane. He was the opposite kind of creepy from Ledger’s Joker–he was quiet and powerful instead of loquacious and sly.

The Dark Knight Rises was an excellent way to wrap up the trilogy. The conclusion was done well–it wasn’t sloppy, quick, or easy, but rather thoughtful and intriguing. It is well worth watching, even if you haven’t seen the others.

Christopher Nolan’s Inception

Christopher Nolan has become quite popular in recent years, and much of this is due to Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  The Prestige was a hit as well, although I personally think that Neil Burger’s The Illusionist, which was released the same year, is better.

I’ve heard from a number of people that Inception is the movie they are most looking forward to this summer.  So, as with most eagerly-anticipated movies, the first question is, Did it stand up to the hype?

The main premise of Inception is that people can be motivated to give up secrets in their dreams.  Certain people, trained as extractors, can enter the dreams of others and steal their secrets.  The tough part is convincing the people being "hacked" that they’re not dreaming, otherwise the whole scenario falls apart.  One things that makes Inception interesting is how a dreamscape can be changed and manipulated.  But perhaps even more interesting is the manipulation of the mind while the body is asleep, and how many different layers one mind can operate in at the same time.  It makes for a very intense movie.

Inception is stylistically quite fascinating, and the acting is quite good.  The cast is rounded out by a few relative unknowns, some rising stars, and a number of well-known actors.  I thought Tom Hardy was particularly good as Eames, and Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer, Jr.  I was disappointed that Michael Caine wasn’t in more of the movie, but he only has to appear on screen to make a movie that much better.

I was, however, somewhat disappointed at the way Inception ended.  Not only was it a bit ambiguous, I found it to be a predictable ending for that type of movie.  Frankly, it was a bit of a let-down.  The movie is enjoyable, though, and I would recommend watching in theaters in order to get the full effect.