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The Dark Knight Rises

It was either late April or early May that I started staking out the Jordan's website. Checking every day for the IMAX ticket calendar to update and show that The Dark Knight Rises tickets were on sale. Like I did with that other superhero movie earlier this month, I snatched up as many tickets as I could fit people in a Zipcar the minute they went on sale. Day of, I made the rounds collecting the group and we got there about an hour early, and found ourselves in the front row of the packed auditorium. There was some trivia fun and freebie posters and then the movie started.

As plugged into pop culture as I am, I really didnt know a whole heck of a lot of what to expect. I knew the major players, but not the expected plot other than there's-bad-guys-and-Bastman-tries-to-save-Gotham. What I did know was that the bar was set impossibly high from The Dark Knight, and I'd really hafta keep my expectations in check. My perspective packed assessment? For most of it, I felt like something was lacking. I wasn't wow-ed. However, read above re: impossibly high bar. Compared to other superhero movies, we're looking at the favorable end of the average side of the bell curve. Looking just at DC movies, and you're waaaaay ahead of the game. But even though most of the film felt slightly subpar (again, by comparison), I knew that the end would be worthwhile. And it was. C'mon now, you know I know better than to go into spoiltacular specifics. I'm just saying that the end was absolutely and completely satisfying. Things wrapped up well, beautifully even. I left happy and content. Christopher Nolan did the franchise justice, and walking away at this point is the smart move (even if there's one open to interpertation loose end that I would LOVE to see him expand on).

Now, think about The Dark Knight, and what made it such an amazing beyond all reason movie. First answer that comes to mind, in a word or two, why was it awesome. Did you say Heath Ledger or The Joker? Yeah, you prolly did. No secret that was the movie's biggest strength, but I'll take it a step further and say it wasn't just Heath but the supporting cast in general. Bruce Wayne had his time in the first movie, so the real meat of the second was in the surrounding characters. Same deal this time around.

A lot of the buzz was around Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman. And yes, she was absolutely amazing. She has come a long way from awkward little princess to sultry sex kitten, and it's just so effortless. It's fascinating to watch her work her magic, and you find yourself wanting to be seduced by her. I feel like the entire audience was hanging on her every last word. While I was stoked to see this femme fatale feline, I was actually kinda excited about Tom Hardy's Bane. Both for Hardy and for Bane. I'm sure you've noticed that Hardy's name has been showing up more and more on this blog, and for good reason. His joining the cast excited me, just because it meant that I'd get to see him again. Bane excited me because he's a character I knew next to nothing about, and I could not wait to hear his story through Christopher Nolan's POV.

However, for me, the real MVP of the movie was Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, Commissioner Gordon's protege of sorts. Sure this has been mentioned before, but I've been a fan of JGL since I was 10, anxiously awaiting each new episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun. With all the expected awesome planned for TDKR, I kept on forgetting that he was in this. His unknown character was shadowed by the bigger names, fictional and non-fictional, involved that each time he'd be mentioned in an article, I had one of those "oh yeah, that's right" moments. I loved everything about his character and portrayal. The first time he spoke, he had this more gruff and macho tone that we haven't heard before from the boy, and my entire posse swooned on the spot. But he was also compassionate and driven and just had my complete undivided anytime he was on the screen. You have no idea how happy it makes me that he has another two movies coming out in the next few weeks.

I've always thought of Christopher Nolan as a brilliant filmmaker and he really proved it with this movie. His one offs are phenomenal (Memento, Inception, The Prestige) but he also succeeded in doing what few are capable of: he put together an impeccable trilogy. There isn't a bad one in the lot, the thru-story is consistent and coherent, and they all feel original. You never get the sense that he's repeating himself or trying too hard. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you build a successful superhero franchise.

The Dark Knight Rises - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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