Posts Tagged ‘the dark knight rises’

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

December 19, 2016

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Director: Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight)

Bottom Line: It’s taken me nearly four years to come to terms with this film. Back in 2012, leading up to The Dark Knight Rises‘ release, my expectations were through the roof and unrealistic – and yet they weren’t. I had similar feelings about The Dark Knight and somehow Christopher Nolan managed to exceed my impossible expectations by making what is still what I consider to be the best superhero film ever – a film so good it changed how The Oscars approached the Best Picture category, increasing the number of films that could be nominated in the future.

But when I walked out of The Dark Knight Rises all I felt was a tremendous amount of disappointment. I was thrown by the fact the film took place eight years after The Dark Knight. It seemed like Batman was barely in the movie, which was fine in Batman Begins when Bruce Wayne is discovering his calling, but I wanted more Dark Knight in this. I suspected that Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were secretly cast as Talia Al’Ghul and Robin, respectively, long before the film’s release, so even though the Nolans do a good job of misdirecting, I wasn’t surprised in the least when the true identities were revealed. Finally, I hated the fact that Bruce Wayne becomes a shut in because his friend/love interest Rachel died. Let me get this straight: the man that pushes himself to the brink of human capabilities to protect his city from the kind of people that murdered his parents is going to disappear from society and whittle away in his mansion because his girlfriend died? For eight years?! During his peak crime-fighting years?! Uh, no. That’s not Batman. It’s such a departure from the character of Bruce Wayne that it’s difficult to shake.

But it’s been four years since The Dark Knight Rises came out and I’ve seen it a few times since then, including as recently as a week ago and well, it’s not so bad. In fact, it’s quite good. I mean there are some flaws – as previously noted – plus some intense magical rope healing (huh?), but I actually really enjoyed this last viewing of it. It  wraps up Christopher Nolan’s trilogy in great fashion, bringing the League Of Shadows back into the mix and allowing Bruce to move on with his life, while allowing The Batman to remain a symbol of hope in Gotham. I can live with the lack of Batman on screen in the film now too. It fits the story. Christopher Nolan has been more interested in making great films than in making a good superhero movie and he continues to approach his Dark Knight series in that fashion with this movie. It’s an incredibly bleak film, but the big theme is hope – first crushing it and then rising up from the abyss to overcome. Batman doesn’t need to be on screen because he’s retired when the film starts and then he’s beaten to a pulp in the middle of it – and that makes his ultimate return that much more powerful.

I absolutely loved Tom Hardy’s Bane. Heath Ledger’s Joker was always going to be impossible to match, but Bane is a GREAT villain in this film. There are some corny moments, like making Talia Al’Ghul a love interest, but Bane is mostly just awesome. I love the mask. I love the physique.  I love the way Hardy delivers his dialogue – and there’s plenty of great Bane quotes in the movie: “Peace time has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you!” – “Do you feel in charge?” – “Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it.” And many more! He’s smart. He’s ruthless. He’s a physical beast. You believe an out of shape Batman would stand no chance and you wonder how Batman can match him, even when he’s back in peak form. I would have loved to see what Nolan did with The Riddler or even Hugo Strange, but I’m totally satisfied with how he handled Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

Okay, so it wasn’t surprising that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is revealed to be “Robin,” plus the character isn’t Dick Grayson or any other familiar name that takes up the Robin mantle, but Gordon-Levitt’s Detective John Blake was a great addition to this story. When everyone else has given up on Batman, this orphan turned police officer knows his true identity and pushes Bruce back into action. Plus he gets to say some great lines like “We know what’s down there, sir: the police commissioner.” He may not be Dick Grayson and his parents weren’t murdered at the circus, but it’s clear that the Nolans understand the essence of the character.

I listened to Hans Zimmer’s score many times before I saw the movie, which is pretty weird actually. You can sort of paint a picture of how things are going to unfold by listening to the score in sequential order. I mean that’s how obsessed with this movie I was. I just couldn’t resist the temptation. So when I heard the music that was playing during the scene where Batman was flying the bomb out over the bay, you get the feeling that someone important is going to die. It was just a bizarre feeling watching the movie having heard all the music already and having an idea what was going to happen. I won’t ever do it again. With that said, I love the score. Zimmer does a fantastic job of adding adrenaline to the film, especially during Bane’s reign of terror.

A few weeks ago, The Dark Knight Rises was omitted from my top 10 of 2012 list, while films like 21 Jump Street and Skyfall were still ahead of it. Having revisited the movie and deciding I’m actually quite happy with it, it now ranks in my top six of the year. The film has solid acting from its ensemble cast (Bale’s Bat-voice excluded), a great villain, a top notch score, a bunch of dialogue I love, and it looks fantastic – plus it’s a very fitting end to the vision Nolan had for his Bat-franchise. It’s one of the best trilogies of all-time, right up there with The Lord Of The Rings and the original Star Wars movies. When you talk about the best superhero movies ever, Nolan’s Batman movies will always be some of the first ones mentioned, but really, this series has produced multiple great films – not just great for a superhero movie – but some of the best films ever made.

Replay Value: It has grown on me a ton and I can always watch Batman movies.
Sequel Potential: They wrapped this trilogy up just fine, but the Batman character has been revived for DC’s new cinematic universe.
Oscar Potential: The film was totally blanked for both Oscar and Golden Globe noms, which seems a bit unfair as some of the technical aspects and the score are deserving of consideration.

Grade: 7.5/10 (highly enjoyable/must see)

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The Dark Knight Rises: An Epic Month Of Gambling

February 2, 2012

“Allow me to reintroduce myself: my name is…”

When filmmaker Christopher Nolan revealed the final installment in his Batman trilogy was going to be called The Dark Knight Rises I wasn’t an instant fan of the name. Several months later, I can’t imagine a better one now that I’ve adopted his film’s title as my own personal mantra for 2012. For whatever reason–the girl I was recently dating would say ego–I felt like I needed a poker nickname. I mean, all the top notch card pros have one, right? What if I blow up someday? Make a TV final table? Are people going to know me as Mike Coombs? My friends in real life don’t even call me that. Maccent? Retired. Mac? Not good enough! So I made it a goal in December to figure out a proper nickname, even going as far as asking for help on Facebook. Bat-Mac? Cute, Mom, but this is grown man business. Birdcage? LOOOOOOOOOL. Nice needle, Ethan. The Serial Killer? Kinda dark, bro. How about Mac The Ripper then? Why yes…excellent. I actually ran with that for a couple weeks and even had a few people referring to me by it. Looking back, I can’t help but think what a tragic mistake that would have been. Then my buddy Vince started calling me The Dark Knight and after some initial resistance on my part, it all started to make perfect sense. My obsession with all things Batman is well-known, as is my complete inability to sleep at night, mostly due to a tireless work ethic when it comes to playing cards; much like Bruce Wayne constantly sacrifices his own personal well-being for the sake of Gotham City, I put my poker career before anything else, even my own health. No, seriously, I played over 220 hours of poker last month. Holy mackarel, Batman, I AM THE DARK KNIGHT.

The designation couldn’t have come at a better time. I was fresh off my first Royal Flush Jackpot and had completely turned my life around, a story you can read in this post. Since officially donning the cape and the cowl, I’ve been on the most ridiculous heater of my life. January 2012 was easily the best month of gambling I’ve had since summer of 2005 and quite possibly my most lucrative month of all-time. To put things in perspective, I had a solid 2011; for someone that had a good day job most of the year and only played small stakes poker, I turned a pretty serious gambling profit for the year. I made $348 less in January alone than I did all of last year combined. If you include the wages I get paid for propping the poker game at All-Star Lanes (and I don’t), then I’ve already made more money gambling in 2012 than I did in 2011. Sick.

I previously noted my life-changing turning point in the post I linked in that last paragraph. The run I’ve been on since that day has been completely absurd. I don’t know if the day’s events lit a fire under my ass or if karma has been rewarding me for having to put up with a bunch of nonsense, but I’ve been CRUSHING ever since. I hit that Royal Flush Jackpot on the 7th, then between January 13th and January 21st, I finished 2nd or better in 5 of 8 tournaments for a $1043 profit, including a 6-way chop @ Freddie’s $110 buy-in tournament that I had to share with a backer (45%) and my running partner (10%). I started propping for All-Star Lanes on January 13th and demolished the game all month long. In 100 hours, I profited $2,476 and that doesn’t include my hourly wage. I decided not to clock on one night so that I could earn hours for their freeroll and hit the All-Star Strike for $375, a jackpot I would not have been eligible for if I was working. I finished the month with seven straight winning sessions. I won $812 in match play bets on the black jack table. I randomly decided to play a day session on the last day of the month (I always play at night) and crushed the game for +$500. I hit every draw I had and I made it hurt. Everything just seemed to be going my way in January.

Well… almost everything. I’m sure some people were getting pretty sick of my run good and I can’t say it hasn’t been getting to my head. I mean, I’ve felt like I could walk on water and do no wrong at times, but I can assure you, I did not have a perfect month. I played my first $8-$16 session of the year at Parkers this past month and had my worst losing day in well over a year (-$636). To make matters worse, I usually sell half my action in that game, but that night I decided to take a shot and I felted over three racks without ever winning a hand. BRUTAL. This past week, I got shutout in Clearwater’s Poker Series. I lost almost $960 in buy-ins, despite having respectable finishes of 9th in the $250 NLHE event and 12th in the $250 H.O.R.S.E. event. A decent showing, but with such a pathetic turnout for the series I didn’t make any money for my performance. In the one event that was worth going deep in, the $460 NLHE Main Event, I busted out just shy of making it to Day 2. Fortunately (for myself), I had solid backing for all those events and only lost about $400 of my own money. But the series left me still waiting for that first big event cash. I have now whiffed the six events total at the Pendleton Round-Up and the Clearwater Series in the past few months and it has me feeling like I have something serious to prove. I haven’t been to Clearwater in years and it’s kind of weird for me to go into a local card room and not have everyone know who I am. While anonymity can be to one’s advantage when it comes to poker, fuck it, I like the recognition. I don’t want to fly under the radar; fear and respect me or figure it out the hard way.

Despite those setbacks, January was an incredible month. That kind of success is unsustainable, but if I can maintain even half that win rate in the All-Star Lanes game, I’m going to have a monster 2012. It didn’t take long into February for me to be humbled. I was worried that as soon as the calendar flipped so might my doom switch and today was a spectacularly bad day. Not only did I run bad, but I admittedly played like shit and lost more than was necessary. Oh well, challenge accepted: I now have a decent-sized hole to dig myself out of for the month, but The Dark Knight always seems to find his way out of sticky situations. Will he turn this rough start into another profitable month or is this the start of the end? Stay tuned next month. Same Bat-Time, same Bat-channel.