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Friday, March 2, 2012

Will DARK KNIGHT RISES break the Trilogy Curse?

Christopher Nolan's sequel to THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) which was itself a sequel to BATMAN BEGINS (2005) hits theaters this summer with the third installment of his Batman Trilogy.  

I don't remember what I wrote at the time but I certainly can nit-pick anything to death so I'm sure for BATMAN BEGINS I wrote something like Gary Oldman is great as detective James Gordon, Christian Bale makes the first really believable Bruce Wayne since he's actually in great shape, but I could do without the fake Batman voice and the rubber suit, and Katie Holmes is awful as Rachel Dawes, the made up childhood girlfriend/love interest of Bruce's that modern film-makers seem obsessed to fit into superhero films.

It's a cliche that has always driven me crazy; the villain has no idea who our hero is under that mask of his, but somehow he manages to kidnap his girlfriend anyway, whether said girlfriend is Lois Lane, Vicki Vale, Mary Jane Watson, The Girl in the Hulk or Captain America movies (and I'm guessing even THOR although I didn't see it) the girl gets herself into peril and our hero has to save her.

I think IRON MAN didn't follow this formula but I don't remember for sure.

So BATMAN BEGINS was really good, needed a stronger villain.  Both Ra's Ah Ghul and The Scarecrow are interesting, but they aren't marquee villains.  Nolan said he didn't want to use a top liner like The Joker because that had been done, which made sense.

For the sequel, he brought in The Joker.  And he cast Heath Ledger in the role which had the fanboys crying but Ledger delivered a performance that earned him an Oscar which was mostly deserved.  In fact Ledger was the absolute best part of the movie, and on reviewings I tend to fast forward to his scenes.

Many folks said THE DARK KNIGHT was the best comic book movie ever, and I would give that title to SPIDER-MAN 2, but THE DARK KNIGHT was a pretty good movie even if the writer in me cringes at some of the dialogue especially the whole 'fortune cookie dialogue' delivered by Harvey Dent "If you don't die a hero you'll live to be a villain" or some other nonsense like that.  Fortune Cookie Dialogue is the stuff of B-Films like THE WOLF-MAN (1941) in which a character delivers a piece of dialogue that is totally out of context for the scene but will come back and make sense at the end.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES hits theaters this July and it has a low pole to jump.  SPIDER-MAN 3, RETURN OF THE JEDI and SUPERMAN III were sequel's to hugely popular sequels that were set off hugely popular Blockbusters that really, well, sucked.  And even though sucked is pretty harsh, they actually were pretty outright bad.  Had these third installments been the first installments we never would have had any sequels in the first place.

Nolan stated early on, No Catwoman, No Penguin in his Batman movies, because they didn't fit what he was going for.  Obviously something changed his mind because now Anne Hathaway is playing the Rachel Dawes part as Catwoman.  In fact I'd cast Hathaway as Dawes, she would have been a good choice.  Bubbly and girl next door-ish.  I've always thought Catwoman should be more exotic, but what do I know.  I've only read EVERY SINGLE BATMAN Comic book since #1 which was released in 1940.

But Nolan didn't call me, so he's on his own.  I personally hope the movie is good, but I've been burned too many times not to go into it with one eye on the exit.

We'll see.