The Dark Knight Rises...

Generally speaking, I wouldn't consider myself to be a Luddite. Even if I don't exactly keep up with the latest trends in technology, I have accepted its place in my life and I keep as up-to-date as my finances allow. One area in which I remain firmly dedicated to tradition, however, and that is the cinema. When it comes time to catch the latest box office release, I'm all for experiencing the most up-to-date special effects, but I want to do my watching on a standard size screen, in two dimensions.

I've long been opposed to the trend of releasing movies in 3-D, ever since it blossomed in popularity after Avatar came out in 2009. It fail to add much to the cinematic experience, in my opinion, because it is either treated like an afterthought (which in many cases it is, since the films are shot in 2-D and the 3-D effects are added in post-production), or the movie is too focused on it, creating lots of visual gags that draw attention away from the storyline and characters. Plus, I seem to be in the 12% of the population that gets a headache from watching it, so for me, it's definitely not worth the considerable added expense.

Today I discovered another cinematic upgrade of which I am apparently not fond -- IMAX. Ever since The Dark Knight Rises debuted in theaters this summer, Justin has been bugging me to see it in IMAX, with its bigger screen, better image resolution, and improved sound quality. Christopher Nolan actually filmed The Dark Knight Rises specifically to be shown in IMAX, so it was hard for me to argue with him, even though it would cost extra, so I acquiesced. Besides, I'd already vetoed seeing The Amazing Spiderman in 3-D earlier this summer, so I felt like I owed him one.

Within the first few seconds of the previews, I was already scrunched down in my seat with my fingers in my ears. The movie was LOUD. I briefly entertained the idea of going to the customer service desk and reporting that there was something wrong with the sound, but when I looked around at the other patrons in the theater, I realized that nobody else seemed bothered by the staggering volume. Maybe this is the consequence of a generation raised listening to their headphones turned up too high, but my ears were actually hurting not long into the actual film itself. I should have brought ear plugs.

The movie itself was good, if not quite as good as The Dark Knight. In that regard, the quality of the trilogy is distributed like the original Star Wars films: the first film was good, and exciting enough to make you want more; the middle film was the darkest, and the best by far; the third film was better than the first and provided a satisfying way to tie up loose ends, but couldn't really hold a candle to its immediate predecessor. 

Unsurprisingly, I liked Marion Cotillard, and I was thoroughly surprised by the conclusion of her story line. I was more surprised by how much I enjoyed Ann Hathaway's portrayal of Cat Woman, especially considering that I don't think of her as an archetypal sex kitten like previous actress to fill the role, such as Eartha Kitt and Michelle Pfeiffer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was also a pleasant surprise -- though his involvement with the film didn't get much hype, I find him to be a pretty brilliant actor, and I kind of find myself hoping that there will be a spin-off of the franchise starring him. A girl can hope, right?

My only real problem with the film, aside from the insane volume, was Tom Hardy's Bane. Despite how loud the movie was in our theater, I couldn't make out what Bane was saying most of the time. The face mask that costumers elected for him to wear, combined with the accent that Hardy and Nolan chose to go with made him practically indecipherable. Which was unfortunate, because I enjoyed the overall storyline, even if it did have anti-Occupy overtones.

I'm not sure that The Dark Knight Rises was quite the summer blockbuster I was hoping for; despite its non-stop action and incredible special effects, it almost felt too dark and depressing for a summer movie. Still, it was a fitting conclusion to the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, and I'm a little sad that it has now concluded. I know Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan need to move on to other projects, and Batman will have to find a new direction for growth, but I'll still be mourning the loss of this particular franchise. At least there's always Blu-ray, which I can watch at home, as loud, or as quietly as I want.

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