TF Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Whilst I have been excited about this release for a long time now I never quite realised how hotly anticipated this third and final part in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy was. Sadly the opening weekend release in the United States was one of terrible tragedy with regards to the Colorado cinema shooting where 12 people were killed and 58 were injured.

  

Here in Japan we only had to wait another week for it to come out and though I couldn’t see it on the opening day I was there the following day to see if it could possibly live up to its hype. Having sat through all the Batman films in the last month (not just the last two!) I was never really expecting it to be better than ‘The Dark Knight‘ (2008) or my personal favourite ‘Batman Begins‘ (2005). I managed to avoid all trailers, previews, reviews and news stories relating to it as I wanted the end of the trilogy to be a complete surprise.

The Dark Knight Rises‘ is set eight years after the events of its predecessor with Batman no more, Wayne Enterprises crumbling and Bruce Wayne having not moved on to anything else in life. Whilst he is moping around Commissioner Gordon is also feeling guilty about ‘hero’ Harvey Dent’s crimes being kept under wraps and wants to set the record straight but decided his speech is not quite ready to be relayed to the Gotham public. Naturally it falls into the hands of the main villain Bane who I can’t say I took to in any way and it really is difficult to hear his dialogue through the mask. Obviously Bain is a far more physical antagonist compared to The Joker but is rather single dimensional and lacking the charisma him and Ra’s al Ghul (who does appear in this film too) had in the last two films.

  

You really do need to have seen the previous two films I think but then again why would you be watching this one if you hadn’t! There are lots of little flashbacks and dream sequences with a slight nod to ‘Inception‘ I guess and ultimately one particular dream has a massive bearing on what we see at the end…..or does it?! If I can be so vague without giving away any spoilers that is open to ones own interpretation.

It takes a while to see Bruce Wayne actually back in the Bat suit having been persuaded to come out of retirement by Gordon and Officer Blake. That does open up the chance for Christian Bale to put in more of an acting performance than is needed when he’s just wearing the suit. Michael Caine puts in a fine supporting role as you’d expect from an actor of his fine reputation and the emotional content of the film is driven by the stories involving his character Alfred. All the other characters – Tate, Blake, Selina and so on – are efficient enough but nothing exceptional as, for me, they are there just to help move the story on and so there is not so much in the way of background or expansion of their characters.

If I’m to be perhaps overcritical there are a few things which suspend belief such as 3000 cops being buried underground for three months and then getting out clean, healthy and basically ready to fight a mass of fully armed baddies by just charging them down.

At a very lengthy 165 minutes I felt it did lag a bit in the middle third due in part to my tiredness and the fact that about three stories were going on at once and I wasn’t quite sure what exactly was happening but unlike some viewers I’ve never been too worried about such a thing. The final part of the film is great albeit a bit over the top but more than satisfactory with all the ends more-or-less tied up but leaving it slightly open for another director to take over the reins sometime in the future. In fact, by that stage I could have actually watched a bit more of this movie.

  

Tokyo Fox Rating 8/10

London Filming Locations: The Italian Job (1969)

Think of Michael Caine’s classic portrayal of Charlie Croker in the original ‘Italian Job’ film and you no doubt think of the city of Turin where the ‘job’ is done using three Mini Coopers, a Jaguar and a bus amid the chaos of the Italian streets. However, much of the film was actually made in England and believe it or not it was actually Coventry in the West Midlands that was used for the sewer scene with the Mini’s driving through them. This 1969 film sees Croker released (below left) from Wormwood Scrubs Prison (below right) on Ducane Road which is a lot further away from BBC Television Centre than I thought when I looked at the map and concluded that it was just round the corner!

 

The Royal Lancaster Hotel (below) is where Croker has his party to celebrate his release from Prison. It is on Lancaster Terrace and is perhaps ironically located across the road from the Italian Gardens in Hyde Park.

 

Croker’s actual home is at 18 Denbigh Close (below left) off Portobello Road in Notting Hill.

 

The Canada Gates part of Crystal Palace Park (above right) is where the films most famous line was delivered. ”You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” is uttered by Caine as they watch the car get blown to smithereens.

Peninsula Heights is the block off flats (below left) next to the River Thames close to Vauxhall Bridge where the plan to do the bank job in Turin is put into place.

 

Harley Street’s sign (above right) can be seen when Noel Coward goes for a check-up somewhere in that area of Westminster.