The Dark Knight Rises Review

I have never been more excited for a movie than I was for The Dark Knight Rises. I loved every single solitary second of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises was the sequel to my favorite movie and the definitive end to what I could easily call my favorite series. My wild expectations were exceeded with the masterpiece that is The Dark Knight Rises, because with this epic Christopher Nolan has crafted the perfect ending for the perfect story.

The endings of both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight offered resolution, but Gotham wasn’t saved the way Bruce Wayne had set out to save it as the symbol for good, Batman. They weren’t happy endings, but they did offer hope for brighter days. Hope is a large undertone of The Dark Knight Rises mainly because all of it is dashed with the emergence of a new threat against Gotham, Bane.

Bane is an intelligent brute force and he is the most intimidating presence I’ve ever seen depicted. He’s a revolutionary tyrant (although there’s more to his agenda), he’s his own General and he’s his own greatest soldier. Bane has never been more appropriately titled than he was in The Dark Knight Rises because what Christopher Nolan and Tom Hardy have created is the bane of Batman’s existence and the good he’s meant to inspire. There is a poetic and constant battle between a symbol for good and a symbol for evil in The Dark Knight, but unlike The Joker, Bane has a plan and it involves destroying Batman and everything he cares for. However, The Dark Knight Rises isn’t just simply about Batman’s struggle against Bane, a story like that had already been told.

Batman Begins told the perfect hero’s journey, it was a tale about one man, Bruce Wayne and his journey to becoming a true hero, Batman. The Dark Knight was about good and evil and the balance the two offer, Batman and The Joker. The Dark Knight Rises, however, is about the beating heart of a city. It is a sweeping epic that utilizes every character we’ve come to know and love and manages to introduce a few more incredibly fundamental pieces to the puzzle in order to tell a story of hope, triumph and the heroism that can only be described as legendary.

The Dark Knight Rises was filled with talent on and off the screen. Tom Hardy who gave a magnificent and very physical performance as Bane wasn’t the only new cast member. There was the always brilliant Marion Cottillard, the extraordinary Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway who offers the flawless performance of what should be considered the greatest and definitive Catwoman. Wally Pfister, again takes to the camera (apparently for the last time) and Hans Zimmer finishes what he started in the first two and with The Dark Knight Rises, Zimmer offers in The Dark Knight Legend the greatest score in film. Every recurring actor offers easily their best performance of the series, including Christian Bale as a Batman past his prime.

The Dark Knight Rises accomplishes the monumental task of beginning flawlessly and only getting better as the film progresses. As the stakes and tension rise so to does your involvement in the story and then the ending is fully realized. The Dark Knight Rises offers nothing short of the greatest ending in film. The word epic was never fully understood until I was able to finish watching The Dark Knight Rises. With this film, you’re being thrust into so many different events and characters it’s almost hard to take it all in, but when put in the hands of a story teller of this caliber, you can’t expect anything less than a miracle.

Christopher Nolan, with the help of his cast and crew, did exactly what he set out to do. He masterfully weaved together what he had done with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and told the ending his story deserved and needed. And that is nothing short of miraculous. The heroic character that Nolan and Bale have slaved over has gone through quite the journey and every journey has to come to an end.

The Dark Knight Rises is that end. Ever since I was able to witness The Dark Knight four years ago, I called it my favorite movie, but upon seeing The Dark Knight Rises I realized that the two are right on par with each other. Batman Begins is just as flawless, but because it is a simple origin story that absolutely needed to be told the exact way it was told it wasn’t able to touch on the complexities, themes and emotions that The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are able to delve into. My favorite word to describe a movie that I love is, and I don’t use it lightly, masterpiece. However, that doesn’t seem like enough for this trilogy. The Dark Knight Legend is not only the greatest movie ever created, it’s the greatest story ever told.

Grade: A+

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Moonrise Kingdom Review

Allow me to preface this review, by saying that I have no insight into the mind of Wes Anderson whatsoever. I have only seen The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and it was a long time ago and I remember being interested, but apparently I was interested enough to watch it again or watch any other Anderson movies, until now. If I were to describe Moonrise Kingdom in one word I think I’d have to say pleasant.

While watching this unique film there were many moments where it was hard not to just smile at all the wonder and oddities. It was simple enough tale, but with wit and whimsy a love story unfolds seemingly through the eyes and innocence of a child, which is very fitting because at the heart of this tale is the blossoming love between two children, Sam and Suzy.

Moonrise Kingdom is actually at times a very real story and some of the undertones can be very serious at times, but because of the way it’s told it always feels as though we’re in one of the magical worlds in one of the books Suzy reads throughout. It makes choices and sticks with them. It’s very consistent and quite funny, but you laugh for all kinds of different reasons than you would had you been watching the average comedy that comes out these days.

Moonrise Kingdom cared more about its characters and the story it was telling and at the same time it was a funny story so the laughs just came naturally. For the most part, everything just worked and fell right into place. The casting was great especially the two main characters played by Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman. Bruce Willis was another standout in a very different role for him. All and all, behind the screen and in front of the screen, everyone was doing their job well because they created something here that is completely pleasant.

Grade: A

Ted Review

Upon first hearing the premise of Ted, I was very intrigued. Just based on the idea, I felt as though it could be enjoyable and I was very interested to see where they would go with it. Fortunately, Family Guy creator didn’t get too repulsive of vulgar with the story he was telling and actually surprisingly enough seemed to care about the story almost as much as the jokes he was making. All around there were some dry spots, but it was an alright film.

Ted tells the story of a boy who wishes his teddy bear to life and the friendship that has lasted even into adulthood. The idea is that the main character, John (played by Mark Wahlberg) is getting too old for his teddy bear and he should move on with his lovely girlfriend (played by Mila ¬†Kunis). This is supposed to make for some type of drama as he’s always choosing between the girlfriend and Ted.

The storyline doesn’t make much sense to me because I don’t see why someone can’t have a best friend and a girlfriend, but it is what it is. There is more to the story as a creepy father and son who are obsessed with the talking teddy bear get involved. It is first and foremost a comedy and there are a good amount of laughs, but it certainly left you wishing there had been more antics thrown in involving this sleazy, talking teddy bear.

It attempts to pull at your heart strings, but at the end of the day I don’t know what you could’ve done with this story, but they choose the comedy route and it felt as though it was missing some comedy in place for a alright story that was very inconsistent at times. It was as if the story was fighting the comedy when most good comedies find a balance between the two. It wasn’t a bad movie. It did its job for the most part, I just easily could’ve seen it being done better.

Grade: C+

Brave Review

There are animated movies and there are Pixar movies and unlike Pixar’s last venture, Cars 2, Brave is a Pixar movie. Cars 2 was the only Pixar movie that didn’t reach that level for me and I was happy to see they’re back on track with their newest movie, Brave. The animation was beautiful as ever, the story kept you involved and it’s rich in themes (something Pixar movies manage every time).

There was something about Brave that made me very excited. Seemingly, Pixar was making a fantasy movie whose protagonist was a strong female hero with a Scottish accent. Not long into Brave I realized it was so much more and just a little less. Of course I won’t give anything away, but it did not involve much adventuring and there was magic, but it just wasn’t that magical. The film really didn’t offer the amazing escapism you’d expect from the creative minds behind Pixar working to tell a fantasy story.

The always enjoyable Kelly Macdonald plays the young princess, Merida. She is quite the archer and is at the heart of the film. Her choices are what drive the film to the unexpected places it goes and along the way some characters are met (not as many as you’d expect), challenges are overcome and lessons are learned. The film was quite good and rather enjoyable, but it felt a bit small.

Small isn’t all bad though, it was also simple but in no way was it clich√©. It was a very different story and it had its ideals fully realized in Brave, ideals about family and the things you can accomplish with the people you love. Pixar has done better and Brave could easily have been done better. Brave was no perfect movie, but it was certainly a pretty enjoyable one worth seeing.

Grade: B