Dark Knight – the rise of Robin?

joseph gordon levitt dark knight rises

ImageFair play to Joseph Gordon Levitt (hereafter known as JGL), his career has been incredibly interesting. He has only recently started to appear in proper blockbuster type films, most of those with Chris Nolan.

I remember him from his Third Rock from the Sun days. If you watch the early episodes you realise how young he was when he started. He sort of vanished off the scene – at least in my mind – for a while, until he began popping up in various indie films, which did his career no harm at all. I keep re-watching Brick, it’s so multi-layered and intriguing. Worth revisiting if you have the time, if you’ve not then what are you waiting for? Also really liked him in 500 Days of Summer. He showed a comic side, but also an emotional vulnerability. It was also a great rom com for guys to watch, if you can call it that.

joseph gordon levitt dark knight risesAnyway, back to the subject of this post. I wanted to discuss his role in The Dark Knight Rises. It seems as though Gary Oldman (aka Jim Gordon) took a back seat in this one, getting shot early on and spending half the film in hospital. He quickly promoted JGL to Detective and sent him all over town chasing Bane. It seems from Inception to Dark Knight, JGL has made giant leaps in bigger roles in bigger films. His character in Dark Knight had a sort of deep, insightful take on the world and seemed to convey authority as a young rookie cop.

The scene where he tells Bruce Wayne he knows his identity was nicely done. JGL played it perfectly. I assume the studio asked Nolan if they could leave the ending open for a follow up. Hence JGL’s tiny, throwaway scene near the end, where a woman says he should use his real name ‘Robin’.

I admit I cringed a little at that one. Introducing Catwoman into Nolan’s world of Batman was ambitious enough, but Robin? I suppose, like everyone else I am casting my mind back to Chris O’Donnell’s Robin – it’s hard to get him out of your head to be honest. It’s like some sort of horrific accident, you feel compelled to look. Or in this case, unfortunately compelled to remember.

Anyway, if Nolan – or another brave Director – does take up the mantle for a future film, Robin could be an interesting character if JGL took the role. Not sure what sort of enemies he’d be able to hold his own against? Bane? Joker? Hmmm, dont’ think he would stand a chance. Either way, it would be interesting to see a ‘dark’ version of Robin, no campness, no frivolity. Gritty all the way!

What do you guys think? What I do know is that his career is on the up. Indeed, he’s currently flavour of the month in Hollywood, playing the lead in two films currently out at the moment, Looper and Premium Rush. The former, playing a young version of Bruce Willis.

Looper has reunited JGL with the Director of Brick, Rian Johnson, so I’m expecting big things. It’s already been very well received by critics so I’m itching to see it.

Until next time…

Mikey P

Bane vs Catwoman – scene stealers!

Ok, for my very first blog I thought I’d offer my take on the latest Batman film. For the purposes of this blog I’ll assume that you, the reader, has a fair idea what the film is about and the films that have gone before it. I am going to assume a certain level of knowledge on your part in terms of film history, the Batman franchise and so on. Got that? Good.

Now we’re on the same page, lets chat Bat! From the title of this post, you’ll have noticed I want to focus my comments on the new characters. Or at least, in the case of Catwoman, the new actress playing the part. For Bane, he’s new to the Nolan Bat universe, so we’ll deal with him second.

Firstly, Ms Hathaway, did she steal the show? I would say yes and no. Perhaps a cop out of an answer but there it is. I think she was a great take on the character. I am a fan of her anyway so it wasn’t a hard sell for me. She brought across the vulnerability that she showed in Love and Other Drugs (which is well worth a watch if you’ve not seen it – aptly described by some as a rom-com guys would want to watch). She also had that sexy, confident quality demonstrated in the latter half of Devil Wears Prada.

In many ways I would have liked to have seen more of her sparking off of Bale’s Batman, especially if he was channeling his inner Patrick Bateman, something he did in Begins when he kicked guests out of his party. I suppose though, it would not have been appropriate in this film, where Bruce Wayne was more the wounded soul. I remember reading that Nolan was unsure how Catwoman would fit into his version of Batman. I can understand that. I think they managed this issue well however, and I say this as a fan of Hathaway, did they really need her character in the film? Did she really add to the story or was she just another character to entice the audience in to see the film? Cynical perhaps, but just something I thought I should raise.

So, on to Bane. Hardy was awesome, inasmuch as you can be when you’re acting with some sort of Predator-esque mask on. If you want a crash course on intense Hardy, go watch Bronson. I really hope he gets to work with Nicholas Winding Refn again. Considering his love affair with the 80s, particularly synth music during key scenes, it would be great to see them team up again. Perhaps even with Gosling on board, now that would be special. Anyway, I digress.

Bane, in some ways, was a funny character. His opening scene in the plane, was outstanding. It was reminiscent of Dark Knight’s opening bank robbery scene, introducing the new villain, setting the standard, how ruthless he is etc. What I could not get to grips with was his voice. I suppose the cultured thespian lends intelligence and gravitas, to what otherwise could have seemed brute-ish. Thinking about it though, it was not a million miles off Brian Blessed, which would have thrown the film’s tone out entirely! I wonder how much input Nolan had in terms of voices of the Joker and Bane, or was the voice driven by the actor? I remember reading that Heath Ledger spent a fair while perfecting his Joker voice, which was spot on. I can see what they were trying to do with Bane’s voice, but I wonder, was it menacing enough?

tom hardy

In terms of Bane’s character, as the plot develops, you begin to feel sympathy for him and his plight. Or at least I did. It was good that Nolan added layers to Bane in the final act of the film, he could have otherwise seemed a touch one-dimensional. That said, even if he was shown to be just as much as blunt instrument as an intelligent bad guy, his two, major fight scenes with Batman were outstanding and perfectly pitched. Did he steal the film? I would say he stole a lot of scenes he was in, and rightly so. Even a scene where Batman and Catwoman realise they are outnumbered and have to flee via The Bat (Batman’s flying machine), Bane’s entrance to that scene is mesmerising. He doesn’t do much other than saunter towards them, almost bemused. Hats off to Tom Hardy for infusing him with such as threatening presence.

Anyway, to round off my first post as it’s getting late, I think both Bane and Catwoman stole most of the scenes they were in, leaving poor old Batman to scrap for the rest, despite the focus of the story being on him. That said, I think they were both strong characters and complemented Batman’s journey well. I want to discuss other characters that also stole the film in their own way, but I’ll leave that for another post.

So, there’s my first post! I hope it made sense and you found it informative, perhaps even witty and thought-provoking? To be fair, that’s going too far. I just hope you enjoyed it and there will be more to come.

All the best

Mikey P