Archive for July, 2012


There has been a lot of movie news this week and there is a lot that I am interested in around directors, casting news, sequel announcements but all of these things come with fans and haters. As such, there have been a few announcements made that I am not too happy about. So let’s start with the bad things:

“But Mr. Jackson, this contract just says two films?”

As we know, Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit has already been split into two parts, the first will hit cinemas this year with the second chapter following in 2013. Fans were already a bit skeptical about this money making move because of the lack of material in Tolkien’s original book but now they are set to be angered even more. Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit, has announced that The Hobbit will be a trilogy with the material from the third film thought to be coming from Tolkien’s appendices (the final chapter) of Return of the King, so not exactly The Hobbit is it? Peter Jackson needs to be careful with his Lord of the Rings treatment otherwise he will become as hated by his own fas as George Lucas by the Star Wars fans.

In 1987 Masters of the Universe was made with Dolph Lundgren. In recent years there have been rumours that the film will be remade and it appears that headway is being made. I would be interested in seeing this as I grew up watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on tele. However, the news that Jon M. Chu is in talks to direct is what has me worried. Chu’s most famous directorial outings to date are Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D; he also directed the absolutely disgusting, despicable, outrageous, vomit inducing concert biography that i’m not even going to mention on here but look it up if you’re interested. He is known for having dance in his movies and says this is because “dancers motivate me the most” but lets hope we don’t see He-Man and his friends breaking into street dancing when fighting Skeletor.

Avatar became one of the highest grossing films of all time when it was released in 2009 and since then James Cameron always said there would be more sequels but it has been delayed and delayed. Some people expected a 2012 release, then it got pushed back to 2013, 2014 and now the latest news has it slated for a 2015 release. Will they ever get made? Will Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana be able to reprise their roles when the sequel eventually moves forward? Let’s hope so.

Avatar is one of the most visually stunning films ever!

And now the good!-

The next instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise has announced its next new cast member after Gina Carano, Luke Evans and Clara Paget have all been added. It has now been confirmed that Joe Taslim will be joining Vin Diesel and company for Fast Six or whatever it ends up being called. Taslim starred in The Raid: Redemption that received great reviews and showcased that Taslim has a talent for action films.

Here is the news that so many film fans have been waiting for. There have been a few comments made by important people this week that could indicate that a sequel is in the works for one of the funniest film series’ I have ever seen one of the most enjoyable action series’ that I have ever seen and introduced one of the on screen duos with so much chemistry that work surprisingly well together. RUSH HOUR 4 may well be on the cards!! That’s right, Rush Hour 4!!

There aren’t enough words to describe how excited I am for a new Rush Hour film!

Earlier this year, Jackie Chan suggested that he would be quitting action movies.. what he  clearly forgot to mention that he has since said is that he does not want to quit until he has made a Rush Hour 4. Chris Tucker is also back on the big screen this year after a five year hiatus and is clearly feeling the time is right for him to get back into the world of acting. Now producer Arthuer Sarkissian has dropped the biggest hints yet that a fourth film will be on the cards. At the Television Critics Association press tour Sarkissian said that he is already working on a fourth film with both Tucker and Chan! He said that he was not too happy with how the third film turned out but what he wanted to do was make a fourth seem more real, put the two characters in a different world (Sarkissian cited Fast Five as a template of how to do this) and also introduce two new characters. Could Chan and Tucker be passing on the franchise to two new actors? For now, who cares?! Let’s just get Rush Hour 4 out right now!!!

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UK Release Date: 3rd August 2012.

Stars: Yimou Zhang (director), Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Zhang Xinyi, Tong Dawei, Shigeo Kobayashi.

Plot: In 1937 China, during the second Sino-Japanese war, a mortician, John arrives at a Catholic church in Nanjing to prepare a priest for burial. Upon arrival he finds himself the lone adult among a group of convent girl students and prostitutes from a nearby brothel. When he finds himself in the unwanted position of protector of both groups from the horrors of the invading Japanese army, he discovers the meaning of sacrifice and honor.

You probably haven’t heard of any members of the cast of The Flowers of War other than Christian Bale but that shouldn’t come as any surprise as this is a huge made-in-China epic. Whilst you may not be familiar with the name of director Yimou Zhang you may be more familiar with a couple of his works; Jet Li’s Hero and the brilliant House of Flying Daggers made him a name to be noticed among the world of cinema in the early noughties.

It seems strange that Christian Bale is in a film with a load of Chinese people just because we are used to seeing him in American or British films but it becomes clear from reading some interviews that he found the experience very educational and entertaining and could help him bring another level to his acting ability. The Flowers of War, at an estimated budget of $90 million, is the most expensive production to ever come out of China.

The Flowers of War has already been released among many nations and is coming to the UK a little late. The film was actually shot before The Dark Knight Rises and perhaps they want to try and make money off the back of Bale’s popularity as Batman. Despite holding a 7.6 rating on IMDB The Flowers of War didn’t go down well with critics but was still nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Film (it didn’t win). Go see it and make your own mind up though.

Christopher Nolan is an absolute genius. I love him as a director and a storyteller; every single one of his films, be it Memento, Inception or The Dark Knight trilogy are wonderful masterpieces of cinema and The Prestige is no different. Released in 2006, The Prestige is based on the 1995 novel of the same name written by Christopher Priest, the novel was adapted into a screenplay by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan.

The Prestige is a very complicated telling of a very complex professional and personal rivalry of two magicians. As young aspiring magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) were friends and colleagues until a trick went wrong and Angier’s wife was killed. Angier blamed Borden for this as he suspects Borden tied an unbreakable knot around his wife’s wrists before a drowning trick. This leads to a rivalry that becomes an obsession for the both of them; each man obsesses with what the other man is doing and how he is doing it, both men sabotaging each other’s tricks in attempts to discredit or even murder their opponents. It is a deadly rivalry revolving around the greatest trick of all time: Borden’s Transported Man.

Jackman and Bale lead the cast brilliantly. Bale is somewhat of an enigma to me where his acting skills are concerned, despite always putting in a solid performance I often feel as if he has more to give and that he is holding something back but as we move forward through The Prestige it becomes clear that Bale is giving his best. Scarlett Johansson is the lead female playing the beautiful assistant to Angier, then Borden, Olivia Wenscombe who becomes both a pawn and a player within their games. I think that Olivia is an example of Nolan not really knowing entirely what to do with female characters as she seems to lack the motivation the two male leads are given and she often comes across as just a lovesick blonde. The remaining supporting cast consists of Michael Caine, Andy Serkis and David Bowie who perform very well as you would expect (maybe not of Bowie but he proves he has a talent for this).

Alfred Borden and Robert Angier are wonderful characters. They are both completely believable and Nolan does a great job of blurring the lines of morality between the two; neither are wholly good or wholly bad and I believe that the audience can choose which side to take (perhaps only after sitting through multiple viewings though). The Prestige is told in a non-linear fashion and shoots back and forth between the present day and the past as the characters attempt to discover each other’s secrets through reading their diaries. The plots then come together and once they do the film really draws to a perfect finale. The final act, or ‘the prestige’, of Nolan’s phenomenal film has more twists than a bag of pretzels, each one being more significant than the last.

The rewatchability factor of The Prestige is right up there. Watching over and over again you see more and more clues that give away the ending which you don’t see the first time round because “you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled”. The whole film is layered in foreshadowing, clue after clue to what the ending is working towards but if you don’t know then you won’t see it coming, you won’t work it out no matter how much you let your mind run wild yet it is so simple.

The Prestige may get forgotten about among Nolan’s works next to the originality of Memento and Inception and the hype around The Dark Knight but seriously, this is a perfect example of a story being told to the best it can be. Nolan proves himself to be a true magician behind the camera with this film carved into his very own magic trick: the Pledge, the Turn and finally, the hardest part of all, the Prestige.

My Rating: 10/10

Cloud Atlas is getting noticed more and more this week as a few days ago a number of images were released onto the net from the film and now we have an incredible six minute trailer showcasing the vast scope that this story takes on. Here are a number of reasons as to why Cloud Atlas has no choice but to be an absolutely incredible film.

Cloud Atlas is based on the novel of the same name that was released back in 2004. The novel was written by British author David Mitchell (not the comedian). To this date Mitchell has written five novels, two of which have been nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize. Mitchell has received huge praise throughout his career for his work. Cloud Atlas is one of the novels that was nominated for the Booker Prize as well as being nominated also for the Nebula Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award among many others as well as actually winning the Literary Fiction Award at the British Books Award. The novel is clearly held in very very high regard and so turning it into a film will have a huge pressure on it, especially because of the nature of the story which itself is an intriguing piece of imagination.

The official synopsis of the film is thus: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. This sounds fascinating itself but when you learn of the structure it becomes even more compelling. Cloud Atlas tells six nested stories, all of which are being read or observed by a character in the next story; it then mirrors itself as the second half to each story is revealed one after the other. This means that the cast are playing a number of characters through each time line and this structure is sure to make for a very exciting journey for the cast and audience, but it is going to take one hell of a good cast to make this work.

And a pretty good cast is what they have got for Cloud Atlas. Here we go: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Jim Broadbent and James D’Arcy.  The cast is a wide range of careers as you have people like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry who are already accomplished actors and you have the wonderful Ben Whishaw who I am a huge fan of and really hoping his career takes off (he will also be playing Q in Skyfall).

Whishaw is destined to become a huge Hollywood property.

The budget is around $100 million and clearly a lot of that has gone to ensure that a cast capable of playing a number of characters over different times and places is gathered and it certainly looks like an ensemble to be excited about!

To direct a film with such a huge scope and with so much pressure with such a talented cast is no easy thing that’s for sure and Cloud Atlas has three directors! Will it be a case of the old proverb “too many cooks…” or will it work perfectly? I suspect the latter. Each of the three directors (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski) combined to write the screenplay and they clearly have a lot of passion for the project. Because of the size of the project two units were needed to make sure the film was created to the best it could be: Tykwer directed one unit and the Wachowski siblings directed the other. Tykwer has experience with films with a number of narratives as he has previously directed the fantastic German film Run Lola Run. The Wachowski brothers directed The Matrix and it’s sequels so they can handle this vein of films very well too.

 

The six minute trailer is absolutely fantastic. It manages to give an idea of the film, bring together the themes and characters that Cloud Atlas will explore but does not give away any major plot details or spoilers and so it can really be enjoyed for its visual beauty. It is obvious that nothing has been held back as the special effects look absolutely stunning and the actors look as though they will be putting in a shift and a half. Not many people will know about this film yet but now they will have to; it is definitely going to be a big deal. If this is done right it could become known to be one of the greatest films of all time. It is a huge project but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end.

Hanks and Berry in one of their many guises.

I, for one, am very very excited for the arrival of Cloud Atlas. It is set to be released in October of this year however no specific date has been slated yet. The sooner it comes round the better!

This week the first trailer for Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel was released. In the starring role is British actor Henry Cavill. The role of Clark Kent and Superman is always going to be a huge one as he is one of the most famous and iconic characters ever created; the fact that the film is being produced by Christopher Nolan perhaps adds even more pressure onto the film itself too after his success with Batman. This film could make or break Cavill’s career: if it goes well Cavill will be leading a worldwide franchise and will have work set for the next few years, but if it goes wrong he could easily be thrown back into the pool of obscurity.

Henry Cavill is relatively new to this acting lark having really only made a name for himself in 2007. He starred in the films Tristan & Isolde and Stardust in this year but he was far from the leading man. It was in fact on television where Cavill got his big break, in British television drama The Tudors. Cavill starred in The Tudors up until 2010 and then went back to the world of movies full time. Last year he starred in Immortals which was deemed pretty average on all floors and this year he appeared in The Cold Light of Day alongside Bruce Willis so his career certainly seemed to be on the up before he was plucked from nowhere and chosen to don the tights and cape of Superman. It is a huge, very quick leap to the top that Cavill has made but this has not come without his fair share of bad luck and near misses that could have seen his career pan out very very differently.

Back in 2004 the Superman franchise saw an unsuccessful return to the big screen with Superman Returns. The film was eventually directed by Bryan Singer who dropped out of a third X-Men film in favour of the job. However, originally Superman was to be rebooted with Supernatural producer McG at the helm and when that was the case Henry Cavill was set to star as Superman, but when Singer dropped out so did Cavill and Brandon Routh replaced him. This was probably a lucky escape for Cavill because, well, where is Brandon Routh now?

Henry Cavill and his following probably aren’t huge fans of Robert Pattinson because of what happened next. In 2005, Cavill was the subject of a write-in effort made by Harry Potter fans in an attempt to get their man Cavill cast in the fourth instalment of the franchise Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as Cedric Diggory. As Potter fans will know Diggory has a huge part to play in Goblet of Fire and the success of these films surely would have helped boost Cavill’s profile. In 2008, Twilight was released. The author of these vampire romance books, Stephanie Meyer, claimed that Henry Cavill would be the “perfect Edward [Cullen]” and showed her preference to Cavill being cast in the lead male role. By the time production of the film began Cavill was deemed too old to play the part and lost out to Robert Pattinson once again who has gone on to become a world famous actor (despite his acting skills not being that good).

Cavill still has his eyes on the James Bond role once Daniel Craig leaves.

In 2005 MGM were looking for the man who was going to become the next James Bond for 2006’s Casino Royale. There was reportedly a list of 200 possible people to replace the outoging Pierce Brosnan. The man who eventually landed the life changing role was Daniel Craig, who actually turned down the job after the first offer but upon reading the script decided to change his mind. It was later revealed by Martin Campbell, director of Casino Royale, that the only other actor in serious contention was Henry Cavill, however he was only 22 years old and this time was deemed too young for the role!

Despite all of this bad luck for Henry Cavill it could have been even worse. There are rumours that Cavill auditioned for and almost got the job of Batman before Christian Bale won it but Cavill himself has debunked this rumour and said there was absolutely no truth behind it. With all of those near misses in his career it is really good to see that Cavill has now landed what is sure to be the most iconic role of his career. Man of Steel is in the safe hands of Snyder and Nolan and will surely springboard Cavill’s film career into action making his first option for so many more films in the future!

UK Release Date: 21st December 2012.

Stars: Ang Lee (director), Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tobey Maguire, Gerard Depardieu.

Plot: The story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper’s son who finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

Life of Pi is an upcoming fantasy adventure film based on the award winning novel written by Yann Martel which is also the character that Tobey Maguire will be playing in this film but this is just one of the things that confuses me about this trailer.

There is lots to enjoy really if you’re into animals perhaps; I mean there is a zebra, a tiger, a whale, meerkats and more so that’s good I guess? I think the problem with this trailer is that it is made for people who have read the book. I have not read it. Therefore I am left confused by the trailer and to be honest I think by next week I will have forgotten all about it. However, upon reading people’s opinions over the internet there does seem to be an air of positive feeling and anticipation surrounding the film from fans of the original book. Unfortunately, the movie industry is worth a hell of a lot more money than the world of literature so if you’re going to make a big budget film based on a book you have to make it appeal to everyone, not just the readers of that book or else that’s one huge loss you’ll be making.

Footage of this film was shown at CinemaCon and went down really well as one of the highlights of the event so there must be something to it. Unfortunately I don’t have the slightest interest in this film at the minute; the trailer was boring, it wasn’t very good and didn’t peak my interest in the slightest. Who knows, maybe I’ll read the book and come to understand the trailer more but for now that’s what I think.

The three biggest action stars in the world… ever.

During the eighties and nineties the action genre was the place to be and many action stars were born. Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren all made careers out of being action heroes. Their films were, most of the time, nothing more than a simple storyline where a hero just got to kick ass and the audience would have fun cheering the hero on while he did so, eg. Die Hard, Rambo. Nowadays you won’t really find that among the big Hollywood films, the genre has evolved over time and action films seemed to get more serious, genres started to merge and the days of the real action genre and action heroes are behind us, I think.

While people like the actors mentioned above are still making films I do believe that the only real action hero we have left is the English born Jason Statham. He is most famous for the Transporter trilogy and his films continue to get a cinema release whereas the likes of Lundgren, Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme do not, so why is this? I think it is because Statham does have a real talent for acting whereas a lot of action heroes are just there because of their size and physique; Statham has shown before he can manage the acting as well as the action, he seems like a really nice guy which audiences always like and he is still relatively new in his career, having only started out in 1998. It’s been 14 years sure, but actors these days go for a lot longer than that!

The Expendables 2 is coming out later this year and back in 2010 we saw a return to the sole action genre with the original film directed and written by Sylvester Stallone himself. The idea was to bring together a great ensemble cast of action heroes to bring the genre back to the forefront of blockbuster cinema. The cast included Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren as well as a scene that features three stars synonymous with the action genre: Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. The sequel retains this cast and expands with Van Damme and Chuck Norris. The idea to revive the big action block buster was a good one in theory and went down well with fans as the film opened to huge commercial success across the globe but critics were less favourable as the film received mixed to negative reviews. Despite this, a third film is rumoured to happen and Steven Seagal says he has been offered a part. But it does seem as though the only way to get a big action film back on the big screen is to bring together an ensemble, otherwise audiences are not going to be grabbed.

Asian cinema still features a lot of action films and the very successful The Raid (originally titled Serbuan Maut) was even released in British cinemas earlier this year and went down very well with critics so maybe it is just Hollywood that can’t get it right? I suppose that the nearest thing we have to a pure action film these days is the Fast & Furious franchise but you could hardly say that Paul Walker is an action hero or that even Vin Diesel is (come on, he was in The Pacifier) no matter how much he really likes to think he is himself. The Bourne films are marketed as action films and I guess they could be described as such but this is still an evolution from real action films as it features more in crime and even political genres, however the action does feature a lot. And Matt Damon would not consider himself an action hero I don’t think. Liam Neeson isn’t particularly an action hero yet his film Taken is probably the most successful action movie of recent times and is the only really really good one that I can think of right now.

I would argue that the nearest thing we have to real action films now are the superhero movies. The action heroes have been replaced with those of the comic book world as they appear on the big screen and clearly define the theme of good versus evil and the hero goes on to kick some ass very much like Rambo, John McClane or Frank Martin would do. All the time, trying to keep it fun for audiences.

Over time all genres do evolve as audiences crave something new, something that will break boundaries or challenge them to put the pieces together themselves but I, for one, would like to see more old school action films being made. But none of these rubbish straight to DVD films, I want real action blockbusters with real action heroes in them. All it will take is for one new action hero to step out of the shadows and then a flurry of them will follow as it did for he superhero movies and for the fairy tale films too. So whoever he is, he better step up quick.

UK Release Date: 14th June 2013.

Stars: Zack Snyder (director), Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane.

Plot: A child sent to Earth from a dying planet is adopted by a couple in rural Kansas. Posing as a journalist, he uses his extraordinary powers to protect his new home from an insidious evil.

With The Dark Knight Rises now out in cinemas and Christopher Nolan’s brilliant The Dark Knight trilogy coming to a close, Warner Bros. are keen to promote their newest superhero project, Man of Steel. This will be a reboot of the Superman story with another Brit, Henry Cavill, in the lead role of one of arguably the most iconic, yet most boring, superhero of them all, however, with Christopher Nolan in place as co-writer and producer, the signs should be good for Superman.

The teaser is pretty boring to be honest and compared to reports of what the comic con trailer consisted of, this one sounds a lot worse. Here we just get lots of miserable shots of an adult Clark Kent trying to find himself on a road, or on a fishing boat, or at the docks, and these shots are intersected with shots of a child wearing a cape who we presume to be a young Clark Kent. The final shot we get is a full costumed Superman flying through the sky, but this shot is a bit distant and really does nothing to peak interest in the character.

The comic con trailer included shots of Russell Crowe in costume, of Krypton, of Superman in handcuffs with the police and scenes all over the city of Superman or Clark Kent fighting people or saving people. No doubt as the release date draws nearer, especially next year, the general public will get to see this too. Until then, we’re stuck with this boring 90 second effort.

Fanboys exist in all walks of life however it is a term most often seen associated with fans of comic books and comic book movies and this should come as no surprise as this group, despite being still looked down upon as nerds or geeks by a large number of people, are one of the most vocal about expectations of a film, especially on internet forums. This arises out of fear: fear of one of their most beloved characters or teams from the comic books that they have read for decades (Batman, X-Men, Incredible Hulk) will be ruined by a big screen adaptation because the wrong actors/actresses will be cast, the writer won’t know the source material or because things in the movie won’t be EXACTLY the same as they appear in the comic books. I would willingly describe myself as a fanboy, I kicked off (and still do) that in X-Men: The Last Stand Beast’s blue fur is part of his mutation, that Juggernaut is a mutant, that Juggernaut is not Professor X’s brother among many other things but I am not as extreme as some fans. An example being when Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine there was outrage because Hugh Jackman is a good foot taller than Wolverine’s comic book height; Wolverine went on to become synonymous with the X-men movie franchise and is, to date, Jackman’s most iconic film role. But that doesn’t mean that everything fanboys do is negative.

It is because of fanboys that these huge blockbuster films are possible; if the comic books never achieved a following in the first place then the characters would never have become known to mainstream audiences and would never have turned in to icons of the silver screen like they have done today. The characters owe their movie adaptations to these very fanboys. It is also these fanboys that will go and see films like The Dark Knight and The Avengers five, six or even as many as ten times! They’re passionate about what they love but if you do it right then you can win fanboys over forever, do it wrong and you will most likely be demonised and thought of as the spawn of Satan himself every time your name is mentioned.

Fans had every right to kick off when the might Galactus was represented as nothing more than a cloud in Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Among the majority of Batman films Christopher Nolan is held up as a God. He took their beloved Bruce Wayne and transferred his persona to the screen with all these very fine similarities to his comic book character without sticking directly to the source material. And if Christopher Nolan is God then Joel Schumacher is surely the devil; his camped up Batman & Robin with the infamous bat-nipples are often thought of a the worst comic book movies ever made. Other films to incur the wrath of the fanboy include X-Men: The Last Stand (as mentioned earlier), X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hulk, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and one of the worst movies I have ever seen, Catwoman. Get them wrong and they can be really really horrible creations but if handled in the correct way a masterpiece can be achieved (see Iron Man, Batman Begins).

Whilst fanboys have their good parts as well as their bad points the real thing that annoys me about them is the rivalry between DC fans and Marvel fans. Of course, most of these people will watch films made by both companies and enjoy the characters. I read mainly Marvel comic books but I can sit and enjoy the Batman films more than some of the Marvel ones because I am a film fan most of all. But a minority of fans (we’re talking hardcore ‘Nolanites’ and ‘Whedonites’) will only see DC films or Marvel films (whichever they read) and will go out of their way to boycott the rival films, meaning that some pour souls out there have limited themselves to only seeing one of either The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers which are two of the best films I have ever seen, let alone of this year.

Two examples of internet memes created by Whedonites and Nolanites.

The extent of the rivalry should be put aside in favour of the huge spectacles that are brought to the big screen and while sometimes the fanboy community can go over the top in it’s dislike for a film, their passion should not be simply dismissed.

It is one of the most anticipated films of all time and how well it is received will determine how Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is seen by future generations; whether it really is one of the greatest film trilogies of all time or whether it burns out over two films and disappears without a trace after a poor final chapter. After watching Batman Begins and The Dark Knight yesterday, I was ready for whatever Christopher Nolan had to throw at me with The Dark Knight Rises…or at least I thought I was.

The previous two films opened wonderfully: Batman Begins brought us Bruce Wayne’s origin as a child (or at least part of it) and his place in the real world at present day, The Dark Knight brought us one of the best opening sequences of all time with the Jokers bank robbery. ‘Rises‘ introduces the audience to a new world, eight years after the last confirmed sighting of Batman, Harvey Dent is still celebrated as a hero and Gotham’s streets are free of crime thanks to a police department headed up by Commissioner Gordon (the role reprised once more by the brilliant Gary Oldman). We are introduced early on to new characters in the franchise; Bane, John Blake, Miranda Tate and Selina Kyle aka. Catwoman.

Of these newcomers it was Blake who I looked forward to seeing the most because the stature of his character struck my curiosity and he is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is one of my favourite actors. However, it was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman that really stole the show for me. Nolan has proved doubters wrong by writing a strong conflicted female character who is more than a match for Bruce Wayne himself. In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight I felt that the only places the films really lost points was in the fight scenes; I never found Batman’s fight scenes as exciting or thrilling as I should have because it always felt a little too staged, too jarred but when Catwoman kicks ass in The Dark Knight Rises she really goes for it and the choreography is excellent, the fights are seamless and exciting, they are really incredible sequences. The eventual final climatic fight between Batman and Bane (played by another brilliant English actor Tom Hardy) is better than any fight scenes of the previous two instalments as well.

The plot can be condensed into a simple sentence: Batman has to stop the city of Gotham being blown up by Bane. Replace the two character names and the name of the city and that plot could fit any generic action movie. But to do this, to try and explain the plot of The Dark Knight Rises in one sentence is to do yourself and the film a massive injustice. There are enough twists and turns, revelations and red herrings to keep the audience interested and invested in the story and it moves at the perfect pace; you can tell it’s a long film but everything, every tiny piece of detail and dialogue is needed and it is well worth sitting through!

The Dark Knight Rises is a brilliantly written film, it is directed beautifully and every single member of the cast, young and old, performs excellently to make this wonderful masterpiece. With a cast that boasts so many big names (Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Juno Temple, Cillian Murphy, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson and Matthew Modine) it would have been just as easy to let them run riot and it still would have been brilliant to watch but with Christopher Nolan at the helm this pool of talent brought their very best to the table to make one of the best films of all time and bring the final curtain on a trilogy that will define the superhero genre but the whole face of cinema for years to come.

My Rating: 10/10