The comma (and bracket) filled thoughts of Sam Coleman.

Category Archives: Etc

The Gamechangers

It’s been a while since I posted on here, huh. I just watched the BBC’s somewhat controversial film/documentary/drama The Gamechangers and felt compelled to write something, so here I am.

The Gamechangers (in case you’ve been living under a rock) is about Grand Theft Auto. To be more precise, it’s about two major controversies that arose following the release of Vice City and San Andreas. It primarily focuses on Sam Houser (co-creator of Rockstar Games) and Jack Thompson (a lawyer who is well known for being an anti-video game activist) and tells two stories which intertwine, despite the two never really meeting face-to-face.

If you’re interested in watching it, here’s a link. Be warned though, that’s a link to iPlayer so I have no idea how long it will be up for.

I think writing a complete review is a bit of a waste of time, but the film really intrigued me and I really wanted to get some thoughts down about it. So here you go.

  • The script is awful. I’m not a professional scriptwriter so I might not be in a great position to judge somebody else’s script (I do appreciate that writing ninety minutes of script based around a series of court cases might be difficult), but it’s unbelievably bad in places. My favourite part of the film is when Jack Thompson’s wife Patricia explains what will happen to him in court as though he were a young child. The dialogue is far too heavy with exposition and it misuses so many terms. At one point, Houser discusses the “RPG” within San Andreas as though it were a game inside a game; it’s a throwaway comment in a single scene, but it really annoyed me – the designers of the game seem to have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time.
  • On that point, what exactly did Sam Houser and his team actually do at Rockstar? According to The Gamechangers, very little. They have a lot of meetings about concepts, features and ideas, but they don’t really do that much work. If you’re hoping for some insight into how games are made, turn away now.
  • I thought the two lead actors were actually pretty good, despite the criticism. Daniel Radcliffe as Sam Houser did what he could with a thin script, while Bill Paxton actually manages to convey the complexities of Jack Thompson’s character very well.
  • The film glosses over several important questions, giving them little discussion time. Are video games too violent? Should developers be responsible for the social impact of their games? Should video games be more scrutinised than films, TV and music? All of these questions are featured in the narrative, but no discussion is really made on them. It’s a weird scenario; it’s a film all about ethics and responsibility, yet it never really makes a clear statement on anything. In fact, it kind of uses the real life outcomes of the two court cases to scoot the issue entirely – one of the final scenes talks about the creation of the Family Entertainment Protection Act in an “all’s well that ends well” sort of manner. It doesn’t discuss the issue or offer viewpoints at all; it simply lays the facts out and says “there you go, you solve it.” Weird.
  • Going on from that, some might argue that Jack Thompson is actually portrayed as the hero throughout this film. Shots of Grand Theft Auto are used throughout the film (leading to Rockstar’s lawsuit against the BBC, of course), but they all focus on violence or sexual content. No other element of Grand Theft Auto is featured or even discussed. Sam Houser does occasionally discuss some of the creative ideas that eventually went into San Andreas (the customisation, the realism, the gang warfare focus), but eventually, the film simply focuses on the Hot Coffee scene and how Sam Houser desperately wanted it to feature, even suggesting that he might have left it in the code so it could be found. It doesn’t paint a balanced picture, is basically what I’m trying to say.
  • The scene where Sam Houser bumps into Jack Thompson – lol.
  • The scene where Sam Houser and Jack Thompson are Googling each other – lol.
  • The scene in Compton – double lol.
  • Rockstar Table Tennis makes a guest appearance! That was a surprisingly cool game.
  • The final scene of the film is hilariously awful and it almost ruins anything that the film was trying to say or do. It shows Sam Houser having a fag, carjacking someone (as the real world slowly morphs into something that looks very similar to San Andreas) and killing a few pedestrians before driving off into the virtual sunset with the police chasing him. So, you’re saying that Grand Theft Auto is a murder simulator then? Or are you saying that Sam Houser was actually a maniac who created virtual worlds so he could unleash his evil inner demons upon them? Or (and perhaps worst of all), having roundly criticised the game throughout, are you then using the pedestrian killing and carjacking as a joke to leave people smiling? What a ridiculous final shot it is.

Well, that turned out to be a lot longer than I was expecting. Overall, I think the film is entertaining, but it really fails on several levels, much of which comes down to the woeful script. It’s well worth a watch though. I’m no expert, so I’m not entirely sure how accurate it all is (Rockstar, of course, have said it’s all complete nonsense), but it offers up the basic details of Grand Theft Auto’s two biggest controversies and that was enough to intrigue me.


Chappie

The pitfalls, dangers and misadventures of creating artificial intelligence have been common themes in film for years – for this reason, perhaps, Chappie completely forgoes those perils and decides to look at the positives instead. Witnessing the birth of an AI and watching it learn, develop and grow (both in intellect and character) is utterly fascinating – this basic concept provides some great groundwork for Neill Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi blockbuster.

At the heart of it is the titular hero – the innocent and almost painfully cute Chappie. Undoubtedly, some will find the robot’s childlike mindset annoying (or maybe even frustrating?) but there’s no denying the appeal – seeing Chappie copy He-Man’s sword wielding exploits is unashamedly heartwarming. Sharlto Copley’s skill in bringing the character to life will probably be overlooked by many (he provided voice and motion capture for Chappie); it really shouldn’t be.

Built around the character is a plot which rarely thrills or offends – it’s fairly standard sci-fi fare. Deon Wilson’s (Dev Patel) fleet of police robots has helped restore order to the crime-ridden streets of Johannesburg and his employers Tetravaal are experiencing phenomenal growth as a result. Rather than complain about the fact he doesn’t have his own office though, Deon simply goes home everyday to work on his AI project; not long into the movie, he succeeds and bids to insert his finished experiment into one of his police droids.

On the way though, he’s kidnapped by the band Die Antwoord, who apparently enjoy indulging in criminal activities when off tour – that might sound like a joke but bizarrely, they really do seem to be playing fictionalised versions of themselves. Anyway, they need money so they plan to steal some money but they need to shut the police robots off first so they can steal the money and so they kidnap the guy who made the robots and so it goes on; the pair have their moments but for the most part, their side of the story is impressively uninteresting.

Hugh Jackman’s role in the film is spectacularly disappointing too. As Vincent, he’s the main villain of the piece (hardly surprising – have you seen the mullet he’s rocking?) but he’s awfully one-dimensional and rather petulant too; much of his anger towards Deon simply stems from his robot being inferior to the police scouts. The film gives no background to the character and there seems to be little reason for his deep loathing towards Deon and his prized AI; it vaguely states that Vincent used to be a soldier at one point, like that’s an excuse to be a complete arsehole.

The plot’s a bit thin then but it does convey some great messages and themes. Blomkamp’s District 9 was highly acclaimed for its depiction of xenophobia and social segregation and some of those themes are lurking in the background of Chappie too. The film never directly confronts them (perhaps for the best) but it frequently dives into the murky crime underworld of Johannesburg, offering glimpses of the struggles people face in the city.

Violence is used beautifully by the film to illustrate just how unwelcoming this world can be. Chappie’s police scout body gets him into a spot of trouble with a gang of youths and Blomkamp effectively utilises slow-motion to really shock the viewer – the audience might view Chappie as an innocent, loveable child but the people of Johannesburg definitely don’t.

This also ties into the visual pleasures that the film provides; the Vodacom-advertising Ponte City Apartments (already a popular filming spot) provide several interesting scenes and Ninja’s hideout is awash with neon colour – Die Antwoord’s influence on the film must have been an inspiration here.

Unfortunately, in the final half an hour or so, the film falls apart. It stumbles from one far-fetched event to the next, throwing every loose plot thread into the mix in a vague hope that the end result will satisfy all; sadly, it fails. Most disappointing of all, though, is Blomkamp’s decision to suddenly allow ultra-violent influences to creep in; the film hypocritically begins to revel in the bloody violence that it seemingly condemned earlier, as though it desperately needs something exciting to keep the action movie fans happy. Even putting aside the divisive final plot events, the ending is a bitter disappointment.

Thankfully, the earlier, more intriguing moments of Chappie are strong enough to prevent the movie from turning into a total dud. There’s a real heart to the film and a lot can be excused as a result – the ending really does push that to the test though. It’ll be interesting to see if the same applies for Blomkamp’s next project – the forthcoming fifth installment in the Alien franchise.


Nightcrawler (2014)

Lou Bloom is not a nice man – the very first scene of Nightcrawler (which depicts Lou attempting to steal from a construction site, attacking a security guard and stealing his watch) tells us this fairly bluntly. Yet somehow, there’s an oddly engaging and charismatic appeal to the character – an intangible sort of quality which sets the tone for the dark but appealing Nightcrawler well.

Lou’s journey into the murky, brutal and competitive world of crime journalism is far more exciting than it really has any right to be, thanks to a great script and an acting masterclass from Jake Gyllenhaal. Slimy, eccentric and downright weird, in the hands of many actors, the conflicting appeal of Lou Bloom would have been lost. Happily though, Gyllenhaal dives right in to inject a thrilling mixture of dark amusement and terrifying fervour into an increasingly bleak world.

Lou’s antics are unforgivable (stealing a racing bike then trading it at a pawn shop for film equipment, all while mischievously riding around the shop) yet the purpose behind his grisly actions is kept at the forefront by a tightly written script which rarely wastes a line, let alone an entire scene.

Gyllenhaal is obviously the stand-out then but Nightcrawler features some great break-out performances from the supporting cast too. Riz Ahmed (probably most recognisable from cult comedy Four Lions) definitely deserves a mention for his role as Rick, Lou’s somewhat reluctant assistant. He serves as a balancing act to the whole thing – as Lou’s actions grow increasingly disturbing, Rick acts as the ignored shoulder angel; watching him dig his heels in as the narrative rolls on is immensely engrossing.

All this serves as a platform to build an enthralling tale about the growing dearth of ethics in TV journalism – the exploration of these elements is almost satirical. Lou’s commissioning editor Nina Romina (Rene Russo) sums it up neatly – “to capture the spirit of what we air, think of our news cast as a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut”. This underlying scrutiny of seedy television production is immensely thought-provoking and it constantly finds new layers to confront.

All of this would be impressive for an experienced, well-versed director – the fact that Nightcrawler serves as the directorial debut for Dan Gilroy is staggering. The slick neo-noir elements suit the film’s content well with the subtle, mystical, synth-driven soundtrack perfectly capturing the mood. Light and shadow are used beautifully throughout, effectively conveying or contrasting the increasingly erratic swings of Lou’s mind; fans of top quality cinematography will find plenty to pour over here.

A tense, exhilarating thriller which manages to be effortlessly dark and disturbing, Nightcrawler is an absolute must-watch on several levels – Gyllenhaal’s performance will rightfully be lauded for years to come but it’s the more subtle elements which really impress. The script is engaging, conflicting and sprinkles humorous lines in at the opportune moments, allowing Gilroy to craft a film that will undoubtedly be tagged as a cult classic soon enough.


I’ve spent all day playing Dark Souls II and I’m finally at my wits end. I’ve just started my New Game Plus runthrough today and it was going pretty well.

Lost Sinner? No problem.

The Rotten? Childs play.

Duke’s Dear Freja? Easy.

Then we arrive in the hell on Drangleic that is Iron Keep.

I’ve spent about three hours easily beating three Great Soul bosses and all that’s left in the first section of the game is the Old Iron King. Problem is, I just can’t get to him.

It would seem that the Alonne Knights that populate the zone are my kryptonite. They plagued me in my first runthrough too but never quite to this extent; they don’t stagger, they dish out loads of damage and there’s loads of them. Like a human bull, the red phantom versions incite something in me and I die and die and die again.

“Of course you died, it’s Dark Souls!” I hear you cry. Believe me, I’m well aware of Dark Souls’ bloodlust but Iron Keep is on a whole new level for me. The two red phantom captains in the furnace? They’ve probably killed me more than any other enemy in either Dark Souls game and it’s frustrating me to no end. Their attacks are, quite frankly, impossible to judge; seemingly inch-perfect dodges still result in me getting clattered around the back of the head. It’s infuriating.

Yet I keep going. I can feel blisters on my left hand from aiming the bow endlessly yet I just can’t stop playing. Not until I finally make it to the Egyil’s Idol bonfire, from which I can finally make my assault on the final Primal Bonfire. I was mere inches from it too, only for the game to stick a massive middle finger up at me and put a surprise red phantom in between the two ladders who promptly beat me mercilessly with his hammer.

It’s really quite amazing that I can be failing so hard at a game yet all I want to do is keep playing; to conquer that which is proving to be my downfall.

Does this mean I can call myself ‘persistent’ on my CV?


Amazing-spider-man-2-statue-liberte-nycity

Hopefully at some point in his fictional life, Peter Parker will actually catch a break. An orphan whose foster father/uncle is also killed through his own error; calling Peter a tragic hero is an understatement. Even having amazing (pun intended) spider powers fails to improve his life dramatically; after all, with great power comes great responsibility.

It’s fair to say that with Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of the webbed wonder, we found amusement in his constant failings. With Andrew Garfield’s younger turn as Parker, the whole thing is slightly more emotionally draining. In this sequel to 2012’s reboot, his relationship with Gwen Stacy is put through the ringer by visions of her recently deceased father, serving as a constant reminder of Peter’s promise to stay away from her; Sam Raimi’s film trilogy never dealt with the psychological effects of playing the hero like this.

This sort of exploration is exactly why Mark Webb’s Amazing reboot has been so thoroughly enjoyable. The focus on the man behind the Spider mask results in less action scenes than any other superhero focused film but it also leads to a stronger set of characters who we actually want to see succeed. That sort of emotional attachment works wonders on a character like Peter Parker and Amazing Spider-Man 2 succeeds simply by continuing down that path. It’s especially good to see that whenever Spider-Man goes toe-to-toe with his super-powered foes, the civilians of New York City still come first in his mind as he zips, swings and flips to keep them safe at all costs. It’s a lesson that a lot of other superheroes could learn from (I’m looking at you Superman and your building destroying ways).

The biggest success story of this reboot though is Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Equal parts brain and beauty, she’s never content to sit idly by and let Peter take all the heroic plaudits. In doing so, she’s arguably one of the best superhero sidekicks around; she certainly carries a lot more interest than your typical damsel in distress. Her relationship with Peter is so important to this franchise that it dominates the early scenes of the film though it never borders on tedious; their lovey-dovey banter may be a bit cringe worthy from the outside looking in but isn’t that the case with most relationships?

Even the main villain gets enough care and attention to create an entertaining story, to begin with anyway. Jamie Foxx was always a bizarre casting as Electro but Mark Webb seems to have embraced that by handing him the most bizarre supervillain origin you’re likely to ever see. Amazing Spider-Man 2’s main villainous star begins life as Max Dillon, a nerdy but quiet Ozcorp worker who one day avoids death by car thanks to Spider-Man’s timely interference. Dillon soon turns Spider-crazy, turning his apartment into a shrine for New York’s finest and every scene featuring him is laugh out loud entertaining.

Even his inevitable demise and literal fall comes as a result of his own goofiness but it’s after this transformation that the character suddenly falls flat. Turned into a walking insectocutor, Dillon suddenly finds all eyes on him for the first time and he loves it… Until Spider-Man shows up and the attention returns to him. It’s plausible but the switch from adoration to hatred is too sudden and it honestly feels overly dramatic. Then again, Electro really isn’t given enough time to develop his villainous side properly as the pre-release worries start to rear their ugly head.

If you know anything about Spider-Man’s comic book adventures, you’ll see the ending coming a mile off but impressively, it still manages to shock. It’s the film’s greatest achievement; the emotionally charged finale only comes courtesy of all that came before it and it pays off dramatically well.

Unfortunately though, Amazing Spider-Man 2 simply introduces too many new character and story arcs to be contained in one film. Many are left unfinished (the introduction of several future villains, like B.J Novak as Alistair Smythe, will pass most people by) and those that receive some sort of closure never really satisfy. Harry Osborn’s descent into madness is rushed and as a result, Green Goblin receives minimal screen time (although he’s the most impactful villain on the film in that short timeframe) and Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, who was featured heavily on pre-release materials, plays a cameo role. Worst of all, it pushes several of the series’ major characters to one side; Aunt May has little impact on the story, despite some entertaining scenes, and Uncle Ben is barely mentioned.

One long lingering story arc is brought to the fore-front in this sequel too with Mary and Richard Parker’s final moments shown in the opening scene. Again though, despite spending more time with these two characters, we’re almost none the wiser on who they were actually running from, leaving little doubt that their story will again be shifted over to the third film. It might seem an odd complaint to criticise a film for extending its story lines but forcing so many together in such a short space of time (the film clocks in over two hours but thankfully doesn’t ever drag) means we end up hopping from story to story for a bit. The movie even ends in the middle of a fight scene, a decision that might seem anti-climactic to some.

Ultimately, the movie spends too long building up to future instalments; the newly announced Sinister Six movie especially. As a stand-alone movie, there’s plenty to enjoy in Amazing Spider-Man 2; there’s just enough action to satisfy your average cinema goer and there’s still a great sense of humour running throughout. The bigger problems arise when you look to the future and see that Columbia Pictures have already announced a further four films for the series; it would be such a shame to see the quality of the films compromised by a desire to cash in.

Long story short…

Amazing Spider-Man 2 continues where the first film left off and betters the previous trilogy again with interesting characters and a real sense of what makes Spider-Man so Amazing in the first place. Too much time is spent building up the Sinister Six spin-off but it never fully detracts from the thrilling yet emotional experience.


Cap_TWS-1

There’s a delicious irony in seeing Captain America triumph over adversity to become a big screen superstar; after all, nobody overcomes the odds better than Steve Rodgers. Often derided as the most uninteresting hero in Marvel’s stellar roster, Captain America: The First Avenger went someway to establishing Steve as a bona fide action superstar; can follow-up The Winter Soldier propel the character even further?

In a word, yes. Pretty much from the get go, The Winter Soldier throws Cap into a morally ambiguous world where his 1940’s views are unwelcome. Following the attack on New York, Shield has collectively decided to create a pre-emptive attack on those who would do the Earth harm, creating three helicarriers which can pinpoint targets and eliminate them before they’ve even lifted a finger against the world. “I thought the punishment came after the crime” remarks Cap, placing himself as the firm moral compass for the film. Immediately, The Winter Soldier deals in real-life issues such as national security, making its mark as a political critique to begin with.

Juxtaposed to that is Steve Rodgers himself, still not completely over his seventy year spell in the ice. He still bleeds red, white and blue but he finds himself at odds with his new world – he’s great at cleaning up the various messes that Shield gets itself into but he’s struggling to find a reason to do so; “this isn’t what I signed up for” is a line that no doubt rings true with many people. It’s this sort of character depth that makes Steve Rodgers a far more engaging character; Tony Stark may have the ego and Thor the hair but neither are as human as Captain America.

Still, one brooding Captain probably wouldn’t provide enough entertainment for a two hour long blockbuster, so it’s lucky he has a great supporting cast to back him up. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow finally gets the screen time necessary to become a proper character and she’s the main source of wit and humour within the film; constantly ribbing Steve for his old-fashioned ways while trying to set him up with the various women of the Shield office. The romantic elements of this new relationship seem a little forced though and it will be interesting to see how it carries over (or if it even will) into the other Marvel films.

Nick Fury gets more of a grab at the limelight too, throwing up some intriguing questions about his personal past and his future in the Cinematic Universe. Fury’s investigation into a datastick filled with Shield information launches a plot which deals with deception and corruption within Shield itself, revealing that even Fury himself can miss what’s right in front of his one good eye. The titular Winter Soldier is added to the mix at this point, providing a shadowy adversary for Cap to hurl his shield at. Cap’s various fights with the Winter Soldier actually turn out to be quite refreshing, mainly keeping to personal hand-to-hand combat scenes; Marvel films have a slight tendency to turn into massively scaled battles where lazers and rockets decimate everything in sight. Keeping it grounded actually benefits the skillset of Captain America and the film feels all the better for it.

There are still plenty of over-the-top moments though, thanks mainly to the introduction of Sam Wilson aka the Falcon. His mechanical wings allow him to soar and swoop to dodge anti-air turrets during the finale, providing The Winter Soldier with the blockbuster moments to fill trailers with. There’s also a ridiculously silly scene where Cap destroys a Shield chopper with only his shield and his agility; it honestly feels unnecessary when compared to the rest of the film, especially the tense final brawl with the Winter Soldier.

Happily though, Captain America: The Winter Soldier doesn’t disappoint; the film’s greatest achievement is feeling short at 136 minutes long. It successfully establishes Cap as the moral hero of the Marvel Universe and shows that you don’t need excessive CGI to make an exhilarating film. Excitingly, it does all this while offering some interesting looks at the future of the Marvel Universe, introducing two well-known characters in a mid-credit scene and setting our heroes on differing paths and stories that we’re desperate to see explored. If you aren’t on board with Captain America yet, this film will set you straight.


(Note: I would suggest seeing the Dark Knight Rises for yourself first before reading this; as I would any other film. I would hate for anybody to accuse me of spoiling the film for them, so take this as a disclaimer.)

This is it people. This is the one we’ve all been waiting to see. Honestly, can you name a film as anticipated as this? Christopher Nolan has turned Batman from a camp 70s icon into the biggest fictional bad-ass on the planet. Dark Knight Rises brings the trilogy to an end before Nolan goes to help Zack Snyder reboot Superman… But does it leave you wanting more or much, much more?

+ Positives

+ Selina Kyle

The Bat family is arguably as important to Batman stories as Batman himself. Robin is as much of an icon as Batman is and characters like Nightwing and Batgirl in recent times have become just as important. It’s odd then that Nolan hasn’t used any of Bats’ supporting cast until the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. Now you see that ‘saving the best for last’ isn’t just an expression. She steals pretty much any scene that she’s in. A lot has been made of how women are portrayed in films and games recently;  nobody can accuse Nolan of misogyny. There was some outcry about Hathaway’s casting as such a vital character but all of it was misplaced. She’s witty, sexy, determined, scheming and a whole number of other adjectives every time she appears. Borrowing character elements from Frank Miller’s Year One has brought Catwoman to life, making her appearance one of the high points.

+ Joseph Gordon-Levitt

As Officer Blake, Gordon-Levitt would probably have stolen the show if not for Catwoman. His character’s destiny is obvious from the moment he steps onto the screen but he adds the humanity that Bruce Wayne often lacks. Having been an orphan in Gotham, he is the hothead that drives the middle section of the movie, giving us a ground-eye view of the city. It’s kind of a shame that the character wasn’t introduced earlier – he really could have become as important to the trilogy as Batman. They really should have just named the character Dick Grayson or Tim Drake though.

+ It’s Batman.

There are just things that make a Batman film better than any other film. Beating ten guys in hand to hand combat simultaneously. Driving really fast in a Lamborghini. Using a range of gadgets that you can’t even begin to imagine in reality. Heath Ledger has rightfully taken much of the praise for the success of The Dark Knight, but the style of Nolan’s films are evident in all three. You kinda hate Bruce Wayne but you really, really like him. Jim Gordon would have retired years ago if he existed but his perseverance lets him roll back the years. You pay your ticket price to see Batman get overwhelmed but inevitably rise (see what I did there?) from the ashes: this is why Christopher Nolan is so celebrated for this trilogy. Batman used to wear spandex and have a stupid theme song –  Nolan has made him into everybody’s favourite hero. When Batman is riding around on his motorbike shooting rockets and evading the police, it’s hard for anybody not to be enjoying it.

– Mixed

– Bane

Overall, Bane’s a threatening villain. He differs hugely from the venom riddled monster from the comics but it suits the overall tone of the movie. However, it sacrifices so much of what makes the character unique. You could replace Bane with any typical thug and little would change. Large portions of his character are stripped away by the plot twist near the end and he pretty much becomes a sideshow. For a trilogy that’s put so much emphasis on building its central villains (Ra’s Al Ghul, The Joker, Two Face), it’s almost remarkable how bland Bane is.  Good in places, but expect no Best Supporting Actor awards for Tom Hardy I’m afraid.

– Plot

I read a comment just after watching the film and it basically summed up the direction for me perfectly. It said that the Dark Knight Rises should have been named Gotham City (although I would say Gotham City Rises would be much better overall). Obviously the film would never have been called GC, but the point remains: this isn’t a film about Batman. Of course, without Batman there is no film but in no way is he the only focus of this movie. Commissioner Gordon has been a vital character throughout the trilogy, but new characters Miranda Tate and Officer Blake also take pivotal roles within the story. It’s not a bad thing; it just leads to a lot of jumping around, particularly in the latter stages of the film where the film darts around to wrap everything up.  Apart from this the plot is pretty good, with classic stories Year One and Knightfall clear influences, particularly with Catwoman and Bane. It’s just a shame that a 2 and a half  hour film can feel rushed.

– Negative

The Ending

I’m going to attempt to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. The cynic in me always struggles to feel completely satisfied at the end of a movie but I felt flat-out letdown by the Dark Knight Rises’ final ten or so minutes. The plot twist arrives from seemingly nowhere to introduce a classic Batman character. Bane is built as the masterful villain until the new character arrives to unceremoniously push him aside. There’s no real feeling of a Batman triumph and it kills any sort of momentum towards the finale. The ending scenes were so predictable (in particular, one involving Alfred’s holiday) that it was hard to feel shocked or surprised. As a cliffhanger for a sequel, it would suffice. As the end to a trilogy, its barely satisfactory. A certain character’s discovery at the end makes it evident that this world will be revisited – so it’s hardly a goodbye at all. Perhaps it will all lead to a Dark Knight Returns-esque storyline, but for now, I feel a little disappointed.

There’s little doubt in my mind that this is the worst film in the trilogy, although not by much. Of course, it is still a damn good movie. It just couldn’t live up to the expectations put upon it. My problems with Bane may not ruin the movie, but a stronger villain would have been a benefit to the film. Largely it’s the final act that annoys me so much about the Dark Knight Rises. Admittedly, I’m a cynic that has perhaps read too many comics, but I just find it hard to believe that the predictable conclusion was deemed the best one. A great movie then; it just could have been so much more.

(Edit – Jonathan Crane makes an awesome cameo in this movie and it is by far my favourite part.)

Agree? Disagree? Tweet me – @colemansa.