action, comic book, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: April 4th, 2014 Movie – The Dark Knight Rises

the dark knight rises

So how do you top The Dark Knight. I mean, that is almost comic movie perfection there and it will definitely be a hard task. Well, Christopher Nolan gave it his best shot when he made the third movie in his trilogy. Now when I first started hearing about this movie, the main thing people were talking about was that the main villain would be Bane. Last time we saw him int he movies, he was a joke of a character in the tragic Batman & Robin, so it was obvious that any attempt of rebooting the character would be an improvement. Anyways, Bane’s involvement got me interested but I didn’t get around to actually seeing the movie when it first came out, waiting several months before finally getting around to seeing it. Now, let’s see how well this trilogy ended as I watch The Dark Knight Rises.

The plot: 8 years after the death of Harvey Dent, a CIA agent is at a small airfield in Uzbekistan awaiting an oncoming jeep. When the jeep stops, he greets Dr. Pavel and has him get inside but stops when the military men in the jeep bring out three bound and hooded prisoners. The agent says they don’t have orders for them but when the officer says that they work for Bane, he phones it in to his superiors and agrees to bring them with him. As the plane is leaving the country, the agent opens the back door and tries questioning them about Bane only for it to be revealed that Bane is actually one of the prisoners. As the agent questions Bane, Another plane flies over his and Bane’s men jump out and begin attacking the smaller plane. Attaching cables to the smaller plane, the larger plane is able to take control of it and Bane and his men are able to capture Dr. Pavel, substituting a fake body to die in his stead, and make their escape as the smaller plane crashes. In Gotham City, Mayor Anthony Garcia is giving a speech for the annual Harvey Dent Celebration, which is being held at Wayne Manor. He introduces Commissioner Gordon, who has written a speech detailing what really happened with Dent and Batman, as well as his resignation, but he decides the city is not ready to hear it. As some of the guests wonder about whether Bruce Wayne will make an appearance at the event, rumors swirl as to why he has become a recluse the last several years. Alfred instructs Selena Kyle, one of the waitresses for the event, to take a tray of food to the east drawing room, then he goes and tells Miranda Tate, who had been developing a fusion reactor for Wayne Enterprises before Wayne cancelled the project. , that Wayne won’t see her. John Daggett, a business rival of Wayne’s, asks her why she insists on trying to see him when he failed to develop her idea but she says he wouldn’t understand her interest. Meanwhile, Selina is looking around the drawing room when she encounters Bruce, who comments on the pearl necklace she is wearing and how it looks like the one his mother used to have, which is in the safe that now seems to be open. Selina mock apologizes, then kicks the cane out of Bruce’s hand, causing him to fall, and she jumps out the window, catching a ride in Congressman Bryon Gilley’s car. Later that night, Officer John Blake finds Gordon on the roof of the station and tells him that Gilley’s wife called saying he hasn’t come home yet, then asks him about the night Batman supposedly killed Dent. Meanwhile, Bruce examines the safe and notices that it had been dusted for prints and the next day, Alfred finds him in the Batcave looking up information about Selina. Alfred admonishes Bruce for not moving on with his life but Bruce is interested in why Selina wanted to steal his fingerprints. Elsewhere, Blake arrives at the scene of a dead body and realizes that he recognizes the kid as one of the kids from the orphanage he grew up in. Heading over there, he learns that the orphanage doesn’t have the resources it once did since the Wayne Foundation stopped donating money. He then talks to the victim’s brother to find out why he was down there and the boy says that there is talk of work being down there. That night, Selina takes Gilley with her as she meets with Phillip Stryver, Daggett’s assistant/vice president and the man who hired her to get the prints. Selina hands him the sheet with 4 of the prints but threatens to kill her instead of giving her what she wanted in exchange. Selina has him text her partner, who brings the last print, and after she leaves, Stryver motions to have her killed but Selina informs him points out Gilley and says that the phone he had used was his. The police arrive and a shoot out occurs and Selina is able to escape in the confusion. As more police arrive, the men head into the sewers and Gordon leads 3 men down there after them but the men are killed in an explosion while Gordon is captured. Blake wants to go in after Gordon but Peter Foley, Gordon’s second in command, ignores him and instead tries to get things organized so they can come up with a plan, but Blake has a feeling he knows where Gordon might end up and leaves the scene. In the sewers, Gordon is taken to where Bane is hiding, and he kills one of the men that brought him there for panicking. He orders the other man to search Gordon and he finds the speech and hands it to Bane. As Bane reads the speech, Gordon rolls down into the rushing water and is carried away, but is wounded as Bane’s men shoot at him. Bane orders his men to find him, placing a tracker in the other man who brought Gordon there, then shoots him and shoves him into the water so his men can follow him and find Gordon but Gordon is found by Blake, who went to where the kid was found earlier, and manages to get him to the hospital. The next day, Blake goes to see Bruce and tells him about Gordon being shot, as well as the fact that he knows Bruce was Batman and about Wayne Enterprises no longer funding orphanages and Bruce decided to head in the town to find out some information for himself. Getting a doctor’s appointment at the same hospital Gordon is in, Bruce get’s his own injuries checked on, then sneaks down to Gordon’s room, wearing a ski mask to disguise himself. Gordon tells him about Bane and then laments about how the better life the city has without organized crime was built on such a fragile lie. Bruce then goes to see Lucius and asks him about the stopped donations to the orphanages and Lucius tells him that the donations were tied into the companies projects and since he had sunk all of the money into the reactor but then cancelled it, there was no more money for anything else to be researched. He then invites Bruce to look at some of the other items he has consolidated from various warehouses, as he didn’t want them getting into the wrong hands, and Bruce is amazed by the Bat, a flying craft designed for maneuvering among city skyscrapers but Lucius tells him the auto pilot doesn’t work. That night, Bruce follows Selina to a charity ball, where he ends up being confronted by Miranda about the reactor and he apologizes to her but tells her it was too dangerous as it could easily be weaponized. He then heads down to dance with Selina and the two banter about why she stole his prints before he takes the pearls back from her but she kisses him and steals the keys to his Lamborghini. Bruce heads back to the Batcave and, using a motorized knee brace to help him walk, he prepares to go out into the city again but Alfred warns him about Bane, saying that he was a member of the League of Shadows before he was excommunicated form the group and worries Bruce won’t be able to beat him. The next day, Bane and his men attack the Gotham Stock Exchange and use their online services to make a trade, then take some hostages and head out, using a wireless router attached to a tablet to continue having the program work. As the police give chase, Batman suddenly appears on the Batcycle and takes down two of the crooks. Hearing that Batman showed up, Foley orders all of the cops to ignore the robbers and focus on Batman, much to Blake’s dismay. Meanwhile, Bane and the last crook separate and Bane is able to get away, as Batman continues after the other crook as he still has a hostage. After catching him, he checks the bag the man is carrying and finds that whatever program they had running has finished it’s work but before he can examine it further, the police show up and he is forced to flee from them, making his getaway in the Bat. Meanwhile, Daggett had been watching the news and when Bane contacts him to say that the mission was successful despite Batman’s interference, he decides to celebrate. Heading into his private office, he is confronted by Selina, in her cat burglar outfit that has earned her the nickname of Catwoman, and she asks him about the Clean Slate program that she was promised. When Daggett’s men try to stop her, she takes Daggett hostage and jumps out the window onto a window washer platform. Using it to head to the roof, she asks him again about the program but Daggett tells her that the program doesn’t exist. When Bane’s men suddenly appear on the roof, Selina tells them to stay Back but Batman appears and say they don’t care, then helps her fight them off, stopping Selina when she tries to shoot one of them. When some of the men begin firing at them, Batman and Selina escape in the Bat and he drops her off on a roof top away from Daggett’s office. As she goes to leave, he asks her what she did with Bruce Wayne’s prints and she tells him she sold him to Daggett but doesn’t know what he wanted them for, although he was interested in what happened at the stock exchange. When Batman returns to the Batcave, Alfred chastises him for doing what he did, warning him that he is no match for Bane but Bruce ignores him, focusing on the tablet he collected. He is able to determine that they were using his fingerprints to make some sort of trades and asks Alfred to take it to Lucius to find out what they were. Alfred says he will do this but won’t help any further, and as they argue, Alfred tells him about Rachel’s letter stating that she was going to marry Harvey before quitting. The next morning, Lucius goes to see Bruce and tells him that according to the papers, he traded all of his shares on the futures market and lost everything, essentially making him broke and allowing Daggett the chance to take control of Wayne Enterprises. Bruce is worried about Applied Sciences but Lucius assures him it is off the books and untouchable but everything else isn’t and Bruce reluctantly agrees with Lucius to let Miranda know about the reactor. Lucius takes Miranda to the docks, where a secret chamber underneath the water contains the fully functional reactor. Bruce explains that when Pavel first figured out this type of reactor could be weaponized, he had claimed problems in it’s development but secretly hid it there, where it could be flooded if necessary. While Pavel may be dead, someone else could find a way to turn it into a weapon and he didn’t want to take that risk but now, he would rather trust her and let her use her discretion in whether or not to reveal the reactor to the world than let Daggett get his hands on it. After Lucius and Miranda head to the board meeting, Bruce shows up to attend but Daggett says that since he lost his shares he doesn’t belong there and Lucius reluctantly agrees with him and tells Bruce he has to leave. Bruce heads outside to find his car being repossessed and Blake shows up and offers him a ride so he can escape the reporters. Some time later, Daggett returns to his office, upset at discovering that Miranda had been named CEO of Wayne Enterprises instead of him, and when he sees Bane, he blames him for his failure but Bane says everything is going as planned, then proceeds to kill Daggett. Back in Blake’s car, Blake asks Bruce about why he wore a mask, as he had no family that would be in danger, and Bruce tells him that there is always someone you care about that could be hurt. He asks Blake about how the search for Bane is going and he says not too good, as Foley doesn’t seem too interested in fully searching the sewers. Bruce has Blake drop him off at Selina’s place and he talks to her about what Daggett had offered her, telling her his “friend” can get it for in exchange with a meeting. Meanwhile, Blake heads to Gordon’s hospital room and informs him and Foley about Daggett’s death and how he had signed on for numerous sewer construction jobs and Gordon promotes Blake to work for him and has Foley organize a grid search of the sewers. Bruce returns to Wayne Manor and finds Miranda waiting for them and after talking for a while, they end up sleeping together and afterwards, Miranda suggests they just leave but Bruce says he can’t. That night, Batman meets with Catwoman and says he can offer her the Clean Slate program if she takes him to Bane. Catwoman leads him through the sewers to Bane, which is actually a trap and she apologizes for it. As Bane confronts Batman, he reveals he knows his true identity, which shocks Catwoman, and the two proceed to fight but Bane overpowers Batman, saying that he will finish Ra’s al Ghul’s plans of destroying Gotham. He then shows Batman that his lair is directly underneath the Applied Sciences department, allowing him access to all of the weapons Lucius designed, then breaks Batman’s back. Catwoman leaves and attempts to escape the city but she is caught by Blake, who questions her about Bane and whether or not Bruce is alive and she says she doesn’t know. Bane has Bruce taken to the prison that he lived in and lives him there, saying he wants to break Bruce’s soul and after Gotham is destroyed, he will then come back and kill him. Back in Gotham, Miranda and Lucius are arguing over whether or not Miranda should tell the board about the reactor but when they enter the board room, they find Bane and his men waiting for them. Bane kidnaps Lucius, Miranda, and another board member and takes them into the sewers, where his men have blasted a tunnel to the reactor, then forces them to turn it on so Pavel can weaponize it. When he is done, Bane has his men remove the core and Pavel says if he does that, the core will decay and it will explode in a matter of months, to which Bane says “5 by my calculations”. Foley goes to see Gordon and tells him about Bane and Gordon tells him to send every available cop they can spare into the sewers to flush them out, labeling it a training exercise so they can avoid a panic, while telling Blake to keep checking on the Daggett angle. As Blake keeps checking various sites, he recognizes a cement truck driver as being the same on that was blocking a street at the stock exchange. and realizes that he is working for Bane but when another worker tries to attack him, he ends up killing both of them. Contacting Gordon and reporting what he has found, he realizes that Daggett’s crews were mixing explosives into the concrete for all the jobs they worked and the police were walking into a trap. As the mayor is attending a football game in the city, Bane detonates the explosives, trapping all of the cops underneath the city, as well as killing the mayor in his suite at the stadium, causing destruction all across the city, and collapsing all but one of the bridges out of the city. Bane then steps out onto the remains of the field and addresses the crowd, and the audience watching, including Bruce in the prison, and shows them the bomb and Pavel, whom he kills after confirming that he is the only person capable of disarming the bomb. Bane then blackmails the government into keeping out of the city but sending the necessary supplies into it, telling the army that if one person escapes, they will detonate the bomb. Bane then heads to Blackgate prison and reads Gordon’s speech, where Gordon admits that Batman took the fall for Harvey’s crimes, when he had been driven mad by the Joker and killed several people and almost killed Gordon’s son. When Blake hears that, he asks Gordon if it is true and Gordon admits it but tries to rationalize the reason for the lie but Blake doesn’t seem to buy it. Bane then uses the tumblers he stole from Lucius and proceeds to free all of the prisoners from Blackgate and initiates a new order, where everyone is free to do as they please and the criminals end up taking control as Bane places the bomb in a truck and has it constantly moved through the city in order to keep the US Government from interfering with what happens in the city. In the prison, Bruce tries to do a push up but collapses in pain and the former prison doctor, who is himself a prisoner now, tells him his back must be fixed first. Bruce’s cellmate, uses some rope to hoist him up and as he does so, he tells him about the one person to escape from the prison. A child who was born inside the prison, whose parents were a mercenary and the regional warlord’s daughter who had secretly wed, and Bruce believes this was Bane. One Bruce is hoisted up, his cellmate realigns the protruding vertebra in his back and leaves him hanging until he is able to stand on his own. While he is hanging there, Bruce has a vision of Ra’s al Ghul and he realizes that Ra’s was the mercenary and Bane is his child. Once his back is healed so he can walk again, Bruce works on rebuilding his strength and eventually tries to climb out of the prison but fails. Meanwhile, as the month’s have passed in the city, Blake has worked on siphoning off gas and gives it to the father that ran the orphanage, telling him it was just in case they had a chance to escape. Meanwhile, a special forces team, under the guise of delivering supplies, makes it into Gotham and meets with Gordon and what few police officers remain on the surface. As they discuss the situation, Blake tells them that he has been in contact with his partner, who is buried in the sewers, and the men down there are ready to fight once the rubble is cleared from the sewers. Gordon then tells them that the bomb is in one of 3 trucks that gets moved around but the truck’s routes themselves don’t vary much. The captain wants to wait but Gordon says that isn’t an option, then has Blake take the captain and the two men with him to see Lucius and Miranda, who are in another building. Lucius explains about the core deteriorating and that it will explode in 23 days. The captain asks if they can disarm it and Lucius tells him that he could reconnect it to the reactor and stabilize it. The special forces team goes to leave but they are attacked by Bane’s men and killed and left hanging on one of the bridges as a warning to anyone else attempting to stop them. Seeing the bodies hanging on the TV, Bruce gets angry and attempts to climb out again but fails. As he continues building his strength, the prison doctor tells him that he needs to use fear to motivate him to succeed in the climb, telling him to make the climb without the rope. Bruce takes his advise and manages to successfully climb out, and after reaching the top, tosses a rope down for the other prisoners before he heads off to find a way back to Gotham. In Gotham, Gordon tries to rally what men he has left on the surface, as there is now only 18 hours left till the bomb explodes, but when he sees that Foley is missing, he goes to his house to confront him. Miranda offers to help him and he and some men go to tag the truck that is carrying the bomb but are captured after they do so. They are brought before Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, who acts as a sentencing judge and sentences them to death by exile, where they will be forced to walk across the frozen ice, though nobody has made it to shore yet but Bane has Miranda pulled from the group. Meanwhile, Selina encounters Bruce Wayne and is shocked to see him still alive. Bruce offers her the Clean Slate, realizing she wanted it to give herself a fresh start, and asks that she help him get to Lucius Fox. Selina does so by having Bruce captured and taken to where Bane is keeping Lucius, Miranda, and some other people. Bruce asks how much time they have and Lucius tells him about 12 hours but before they can say anything else, Catwoman enters and says Bane wants to speak with Bruce and Lucius. As the guards are escorting them out of the main prison area, Catwoman knocks out the guards then frees Lucius and Bruce before leaving. Bruce and Lucius head to Bruce’s former lair at the docks and as Bruce gets some supplies and a new Batsuit from there, Lucius tells him that he figured the trigger for the bomb must be a microwave transmitter and he could block it with an item from the Bat, so Bruce takes him to where he left it and the remove the necessary part. That night, Gordon and his men are forced out onto the ice but as they get close to a bridge post, Gordon sees a flare on the ice, just as the guards are suddenly rendered unconscious. When he hears a voice saying light it, Gordon smiles as he lights the flare and drops it, where it ignites a fuel trail up the post and forms a giant bat symbol on the bridge. Batman approaches him and asks where Miranda is and Gordon tells him that Bane is holding her at City Hall. Batman hands Gordon the device to block the transmitter, telling him to get it on the truck with the bomb so it can’t be detonated, and prepare for the war that is to come. Meanwhile, Blake heads to the sewer where his partner and lifts the manhole, then helps his partner out but his partner is quickly shot as Bane’s men show up, then drop a grenade down the manhole to disperse or kill the cops below. The question Blake about who he is, then prepare to kill him but Batman shows up and saves him. Telling him again about why the mask is for protecting others, not himself, Batman then helps Blake clear the debris from the tunnel, freeing the police. He then tells Blake to lead an exodus out of the city in case he fails in stopping the bomb. Batman then takes Catwoman to where he stored the Batcycle and asks her to blow a hole in the tunnel so people can escape, then help him deal with Bane and his men but she says she will blow the tunnel but then leave and tries to convince him to come with him, saying he doesn’t owe the people anything and has already given them everything he could. In the morning, Foley joins the newly freed cops and the march on city hall and as Bane’s men prepares to open fire on them, the Bat flies down and disables the Tumblers, causing a cheer to erupt from the police as they surge forward. Hearing the sounds of battle, Catwoman blows a hole in the tunnel to let people escape but she pauses as she decides what she should do. Meanwhile, Blake is helping the father get the kids on the bus, while having some of the older kids go knock on the doors and spread the words to people to escape either over the bridge or through the tunnel. Elsewhere, Gordon and some men move to place the jammer on the truck with the bomb but the truck they think has the bomb is a cecoy so they are forced to look for the other trucks, with Gordon eventually leaping onto the right truck. At City Hall, the fighting continues and Bane and Batman end up facing each other, with Batman eventually getting the upper hand when he disables Bane’s mask. As they make their way into City Hall. Bane sees Miranda and after dealing with her guard, tells her to watch the door while he asks Bane where the trigger is. Bane asks how Batman escaped the prison, Batman tells him that he climbed out just like he did but Bane tells him that he never escaped the prison and Miranda comes up behind Batman and says she did, just before stabbing him. As Batman looks on in shock, she explains her name is Talia and she was the one to escape, while Bane was her protector inside the prison. After escaping, she found her father, who freed the prison and saved Bane but he had already been disfigured and Ra’s eventually kicked him out of the League as he was a constant reminder of his dead wife. Miranda goes to use the trigger, finishing her father’s work while getting revenge on Batman for killing him but Gordon was able to get the device on the core, preventing her from detonating it. Miranda then leaves with Bane’s men in the Tumblers to safeguard the core and ensure it detonates, shooting through the cops as they leave, killing Foley in the process. After she leaves, Bane moves to kill Batman but he is saved when Catwoman uses the Batcycle to shoot Bane. Meanwhile, Blake leads an exodus of people across the bridge and tries to convince the police and national guard on the other side to let them out before the bomb explodes but the police blow the bridge, trapping them in the city and Blake yells out at them that they just killed them. Batman and Catwoman work on steering the truck towards the reactor, taking out the Tumbler’s that were guarding it. Miranda had gotten into the tuck and tells the driver to keep going but Batman fires on the truck and it ends up crashing. Gordon emerges from the back and heads towards the cab only to find a dying Miranda, who had activated the reactor’s failsafe and flooded the reactor chamber, nearly killing Lucius in the process. Batman grabs a cable and hooks the core to the Bat and prepares to fly it out of there and Catwoman kisses him when she realizes that there isn’t an autopilot so he is sacrificing himself to save everyone. Gordon approaches him before he leaves and says he never needed to know his name but asks if the city should know who there hero is. Batman responds that a hero can be anyone, even someone who simply puts a coat on a young boy’s shoulders and comforts them and as he flies off, Gordon thinks back and realizes that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Batman flies the bomb out of the city and Blake and the children watch him fly past and cheer only to grow quiet as the bomb goes off out over the bay. A private funeral is held for Bruce, with only Gordon, Lucius, Blake, and Alfred attending and after the three men leave, Alfred goes up to the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne and apologizes for failing them. According to Bruce’s will, all of his belongings are sold to account for any remaining debts and the rest is to go to Alfred. Wayne Manor is given to the city, under the condition that it never be destroyed and that it become the new home for at risk children and orphans. A statue is erected to honor Batman for saving the city and Lucius has recovered the Bat and tries to figure out what he could have done to save Bruce but his technicians tell him that the auto pilot had been fixed 6 months ago by Bruce Wayne. Gordon goes back to the police station but as he is looking at some files on the roof, he notices a new Batsignal on the roof. Blake was left a bag in Bruce’s will, under his legal name of Robin, and inside, he finds a note with some GPS coordinates. When he follows them, he finds himself inside the Batcave and realizes that Batman had left him his legacy. Alfred heads to a cafe in Florence that he visits every year and as he orders his drink and looks around, he sees Bruce sitting at a table with Selina and he nods to Alfred, indicating that Alfred got his wish and that Bruce is finally happy.

The Dark Knight Rises met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan’s franchise in spectacular fashion.” At one point, director Christopher Nolan had considered using a combination of deleted scenes from The Dark Knight and CGI in order to have the Joker appear briefly in the movie but ultimately decided against it, feeling it would be disrespectful to Heath Ledger’s memory, as he died after The Dark Knight was completed but before the movie was released. The movie was a smash hit at the box office, earning $1.085 billion off of a $250 million budget, making it not just the highest grossing installment in the Batman franchise, but the highest grossing movie based off of a DC Comic’s property to date.

While it didn’t quite beat out it’s predecessor, this was still a great movie to watch. The acting was good, with the returning characters doing great jobs with their roles. Tom Hardy made for a very good Bane and did a decent job showcasing Bane’s intelligence, but I admit the voice was somewhat annoying. I thought that Anne Hathaway made a great Selina Kyle, really bringing to light her quick wit as well as her self preservation attitude though she does occasionally act against her nature and help others, though usually when it serves her own purpose. I thought that Marion Cotillard was an interesting take on Talia al Ghul while Joseph Gordon-Levitt was equally interesting as Blake. The story was interesting, reminding me a lot of the “No Man’s Land” story line from the comics, in the fact that Gotham was cut off from the rest of the country, in the comics it was due to an earthquake that devastated the city and in the movie, by Bane and his men cutting off the city and holding a nuclear bomb inside it. Of course, there was also the Knightfall arc, where Bane broke Batman’s back and Batman’s subsequent journey back and recovery. I thought they did a good job with everything except for one aspect of the ending. Now, I didn’t have a problem with Bruce faking his death and I thought that his showing up in Florence when Alfred takes his yearly vacation was actually a nice way of revealing to Alfred that he was right and it was time for him to move on and showing that he had. No, the problem I had was the rather cheap bit with Blake’s character, when he went to get the bag that Bruce had left him and the clerk commented on his real name being Robin. That was honestly completely unnecessary and merely a cheap pop at comic book fans to be like “Look, this guy is going to be Robin”. The special effects and fight scenes were very well done and I have to give props to Hans Zimmer as the music throughout the whole trilogy was incredible and whose score with this was as good, if not better, than what he had in The Dark Knight and excellently helped accent the mood of the scenes. A great movie and a good way to end a trilogy of films.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, comic book, crime, drama, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 3rd, 2014 Movie – The Dark Knight

the dark knight

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine asked me what my top 5 comic book movies were and at the time, this was the only movie that starred a “major comic book character”. Years later, with all of the new comic book movies that have come out since this movie’s release, this movie would still be considered one of my top 5 comic book movies. I remember when they showed the first trailer for this movie, and then they showed the first few minutes of the movie as a teaser, I was immediately hooked. I ended up seeing this several times in the theaters and immediately bought it when it came out on DVD, and later upgraded it to Blu-Ray. So let’s try not to get soo serious (sorry, couldn’t resist) and have some fun with today’s movie, The Dark Knight.

The plot: 5 men wearing clown masks split up into two teams, two men on the roof and three going in the front door, and proceed to hold up a bank in Gotham. On the roof, the man tasked with cutting the alarm is killed once his job is complete, then his partner heads down to crack open the vault. Meanwhile, the bank manager, who happens to work for the mob that owns the bank, grabs a shotgun and kills one of the robbers that came in the front door but when he runs out of shells, he is shot in the leg and incapacitated. One of the men heads down to the vault and takes out the safe cracker once he is done. He loads up all of the money into some bags and carries it out front, then pulls his gun on the remaining robber, asking if he was supposed to kill him. The robber replies that he is supposed to kill the bus driver, then steps aside as a school bus backs into the building, slamming into the robber. As the driver helps load the bags and asks about the other, the remaining robber shoots him then prepares to leave when the bank manager taunts him. The robber approaches him and stuffs a gas grenade in the man’s mouth, then takes off the mask to reveal himself to be the Joker, then gets in the school bus, trailing some string tied to the grenade’s pin as he does, and drives off, causing the pin to be pulled as Joker merges in with the other school buses driving down the road. That night, a meeting between the Chechen, head of the Russian mafia, and the Scarecrow and his men is interrupted by a group of vigilantes inspired by Batman and dressing like him. When the real Batman shows up, Scarecrow tries to escape as Batman deals with both the Russians and the vigilantes, but Batman is able to catch him before he escapes. The next day, Gordon heads over to the bank that was robbed and is soon met by Batman, where it is revealed that Batman had been providing the police with irradiated bills to use for tracking drug money. This bank, plus 4 others, appear to be the last sources of mob money in the city and Gordon tells Batman that they will have to bring the new D.A. in on this. Harvey Dent, the new D.A. is working on trying to bring down the remnants of the Falcone crime family, and also happens to be dating Rachel Dawes. After a court hearing where he punches a mobster who tries to kill him, Dent meets up with Gordon and after arguing with Gordon over some of the men in his unit, as he investigated them for being dirty back when he worked in Internal Affairs, he agrees to issue the warrants for Gordon, but tells him he wants to meet with Batman. Meanwhile, Wayne Enterprises is in talks with a Hong Kong company, represented by Mr. Lau, but while most of the board like the idea for the merger, Lucius Fox thinks some of Lau’s revenue is dirty as his company continues to show more growth than can be explained. Bruce says to cancel the deal, as he had figured Lau was crooked but wanted to look at his books to confirm it, then starts talking to Lucius about some alterations for the Batsuit. That night, Bruce runs into Rachel and Dent as they are having dinner and he and his join them. As they are talking, Bruce feels like Dent might be the person Gotham needs to deal with the criminals and allow him to stop being Batman so he tells Dent that he will throw him a fundraiser, stating that a fundraiser with his circle would mean he wouldn’t need to raise another cent for any of his reelection campaigns. The next day, Sal Maroni, the Chechen, and Gambol, the three largest crime bosses in the city, are holding a meeting where Lau joins in via video conference. Lau informs them about the police locating their banks and, since he was the only money launderer left in the city, he felt it prudent to take their money and leave the city before the police could raid the banks and seizing their funds. Lau says he is going to Hong Kong, where the Chinese would be reluctant to extradite one of their own countrymen back to the U.S. Suddenly, the Joker appears and tells them that Batman has no jurisdiction and would find Lau and bring him back to Gotham. As Lau ends his video call, Maroni asks what Joker is proposing and Joker tells them he will kill Batman for half of their money. An enraged Gambol wants to kill Joker for stealing form them but when Joker reveals that he is armed with some grenades prepared to explode if he dies, then Gambol opts to put a hit out on him instead. That night, Dent uses the Batsignal to summon Batman and when he gets there, tells them that they need Lau back or else they won’t be able to make a case against the mob and Batman agrees to get him back. Meanwhile, some men claim to have killed Joker and bring the body to Gambol’s home to collect the reward but it was a trick as Joker reveals that he is still alive and kills Gambol, then tells his men that there is room for one more man in his crew and makes them fight to the death to decide who gets it. The next day, Bruce is talking with Lucius about Lau leaving the city and makes plans for Lucius to head to Hong Kong to tell Lau in person that the deal is off. He then works with Lucius and Alfred on figuring out a way for him to get Lau out of his office and onto a plane without the plane landing before heading off himself, under cover of his taking the visiting Russian Ballet on a “love cruise”. In Hong Kong, Lucius meets with Lau to tell him the deal is off and after he leaves, he reveals to Bruce that he left a phone in the building that will act as a sonar to allow him to see everything going on in the building. That night, Batman breaks into the building and is able to get Lau out of there, using some smugglers flying a skyhook plane, and drops him off at police headquarters. The next day, Rachel is trying to get Lau to turn on the mafia and when Lau says that he handled all of their money as one giant pot, Dent realizes that he can charge everyone in the mafia under the Rico Act. Gordon and the police proceed to arrest Maroni, the Chechen, and all of their men, but are unaware that the Chechen had already hired the Joker to take out Lau and the Batman. The mayor speaks with Dent about his actions and warns him that everybody will be gunning for him now when a body dressed like Batman suddenly appears outside the window, with a video from Joker saying that he will kill people everyday until Batman reveals his true identity and turns himself in. That night at the fundraiser Bruce is throwing, he gives his speech praising Harvey for the good work he has done and says he believes in him. Afterwards, Rachel catches Bruce alone and thinks he was making fun of Harvey but Bruce says he is serious, stating that he feels Dent is the man that will let him stop being Batman. Rachel says he can’t put all his hopes on her but before they can say anything else, Dent shows up and asks to speak to Rachel alone. Meanwhile, the police discover DNA from Dent, Police Commissioner Loeb, and Judge Surrillo on the card pinned to the fake Batman’s body and Gordon realizes that they are the Joker’s targets. He sends men to place Surrillo and Dent into protective custody while he goes to guard Loeb but crooked cops end up killing Surrillo while Loeb is poisoned when he drinks some scotch he keeps in his desk. At Wayne’s party, Dent proposes to Rachel but when she doesn’t answer, he takes it as a no and asks if it is Bruce when Bruce suddenly comes up behind him and knocks him out. As Rachel questions what he is doing, he tells her that Joker is coming for Dent and tells her to hide, while he heads to a panic room to change clothes. Joker arrives and starts asking for Dent and when he starts threatening the guests, Rachel confronts him and when the Joker moves towards her, Batman appears and begins fighting him and his men. Joker manages to grab Rachel and threatens to kill her, then throws her out the window, forcing Batman to leap out after her in order to save her. The next night, Gordon is called to a murder scene, where the victims’ last names are Harvey and Dent. Batman grabs the remains of a bullet that was shot into the wall and Gordon tells him whatever he is doing, he should make it quick as Joker has targeted the mayor next. At Wayne Enterprises, Coleman Reese, one of Wayne’s lawyers, goes up to Lucius and reveals his theory that Bruce is Batman and tries to blackmail him into giving him $10 million for life but Lucius questions his reasoning for it. Later, Lucius helps Bruce digitally reconstruct the bullet in order to get the thumbprint and as he prints a copy for Bruce, asks him about his use of R&D, which Reese had brought up, and Bruce tells him it is something he is playing it close to the vest. Bruce is able to figure out the address for the print from the bullet and when he heads there, he finds a group of men bound and gagged. Questioning them, he realizes that they are the police honor guard and during the 21 gun salute, the Joker and his men, who had taken their uniforms, turn and fire at the mayor. Gordon saves the mayor but is killed instead and as Harvey sends Rachel to safety, he goes to question one of the men who was captured, only to see Rachel’s name listed on his name tag. Batman pays a visit to Maroni and questions him about the Joker but Maroni tells him that he has no idea where the Joker can be found. Meanwhile, Dent calls Rachel, who tells him that she is at Major Crimes and Dent tells her to get somewhere safe and she tells him that Bruce’s penthouse is the safest place for her so she heads there. Dent, having kidnapped the suspect in custody, attempts to scare him into talking when Batman stops him, saying if the city found out about this all the work he has done would be erased. Batman agrees to turn himself in in order to prevent further blood shed and tells Dent to hold a press conference for it but when the press conference is held, Dent claims he is the Batman and asks to be taken into custody. Rachel, having watched what happened on TV, questions Alfred as to why Bruce let Harvey do that and he tells her that perhaps Dent and Bruce both felt Batman was still needed to deal with the Joker. Rachel leaves Alfred a letter to give to Bruce when the time is right, then heads to the station to try and talk Harvey out of his plan but he kisses her and gets into the S.W.A.T. transport. As the convoy moves through the city, they find the road blocked by a burning fire engine and are forced onto the lower sections of the streets, where Joker and his men proceed to ambush them. Batman shows up in the Tumbler to stop them but when Joker attempts to shoot the van carrying Dent with an RPG, he drives the Tumbler in the rocket’s path to save it. The van makes it back onto the street so they can get some air support but the Joker’s men fire some wires that ensnare the police helicopter’s rotors and cause it to crash. Meanwhile, Batman ejects out of the Tumbler, with two of the wheels forming a modified motorcycle, and he takes off after the Joker and causes the semi he is driving to crash. As Joker gets out of the wreckage and goes to face Batman, who is barreling towards him, Batman swerves at the last minute and ends up crashing. Joker approaches Batman and prepares to kill him but the van’s driver, revealed to be Gordon, stops and arrests him. As they take Joker to his cell for booking, the Mayor approaches Gordon and tells him that he has been named the new Commissioner. However, shortly after Gordon goes home to let his wife and son know he is still alive, he is called back to the station. He begins interrogating Joker as to where Dent is, as he did not show up at the safe house, and Gordon mocks him by asking if he left Dent with his men or Maroni’s. Gordon exits the room, revealing Batman to be in there and he begins interrogating Joker, who reveals that he had captured both Dent and Rachel, as he realized Batman was in love with her, and says he can only save one of them. Batman heads out to save Rachel while Gordon and his men go to get Dent. Elsewhere, Dent comes to and hears Rachel speaking through a speakerphone and when she tells him that she overheard them say only one of them is going to survive, Dent begins struggling at his bonds to try and get free ending up spilling some of the fuel that he is surrounded by when he falls onto his side. Back at the station, one of Joker’s men begins complaining of chest pains and when he collapses, they find a contusion underneath his skin. Meanwhile, Joker taunts the cop that is guarding him and he is able to grab him and use him as a hostage, saying that he wants to make a phone call. When they hand him a cell phone, Joker places a call, which activates the phone bomb that was inside his henchman, causing it to explode. As everyone is recovering from the blast, Joker is able to free his men, then grab Lau and escape the station. Meanwhile, Dent continues to try and get free as Rachel says that she will marry him when Batman shows up and realizes that Joker lied and he had arrived at the location Dent was being held at. Batman manages to grab Dent and get him out of the building before it explodes but the blast ignites the fuel covering part of his face, severely burning it. Meanwhile, Gordon and his men are too late to save Rachel and when he learns that Joker escaped, he realizes that Joker had outsmarted them and wanted to get caught in order to get to Lau. Alfred reads Rachel’s letter to Bruce, explaining that she is going to marry Harvey, but chooses not to give it to him just then, as Bruce mistakenly thought she was going to marry him if he stopped being Batman and he didn’t want to disillusion him in his grief. Gordon pays a visit to Dent in the hospital and tries to ask Dent who in his force he can still trust but Dent, enraged at what he has lost, refuses to tell him. AS Gordon leaves, he sees Maroni outside the room and, tired of the craziness that has taken over the city, he tells Gordon where Joker will be. In a cargo container on the docks, Joker is sitting on a large pile of money, with Lau on top as well, and as he jumps down and approaches the Chechen, he proceeds to burn it, along with Lau, then has the Chechen killed. Elsewhere, Reese goes on TV and says he plans on revealing who Batman is but Joker calls in and says that he doesn’t want Batman unmasked. Claiming he wants the rest of Gotham to join in the game, he says that unless Reese is killed in the next 60 minutes, he will blow up a hospital. Hearing the broadcast, Gordon orders every hospital to be evacuated, giving priority to the one Dent is in, while he and some men head over to try and keep Reese safe. At the same time, Bruce tells Alfred to research Gordon’s men and see if any of them have family in the hospital, in case one of them decides to kill him. At Gotham General, the evacuation is underway but Joker, disguised as a nurse, kills his guards, then talks with Dent, telling him he had nothing to do with his and Rachel’s abduction, then places a gun in Dent’s hand and places the barrel against his head. Dent shows him his two-headed coin, with one side scarred much like his face, and tells him good side, he lives, bad side, he dies, causing the Joker to smile. Meanwhile, Gordon, receiving information from Alfred about the officer in the car with him, is able to keep him from killing Reese while Bruce drives his car into the path of an oncoming truck, saving him. Joker is shown to still be alive and he blows up the hospital and Gordon, after learning about 50 people are missing, feels that Joker has Dent and tries to get some help with the situation. Later, Joker sends a video message saying that he still plans on continuing his game and the city will be doing things by his rules by nightfall, with details to come later. At Wayne Enterprises, Lucius gets word of a break in at R&D and when he heads down there, he finds that Batman had adapted his sonar technology to work with every cell phone in the city in order to try and track the Joker. Lucius is appalled by what Bruce has done but Bruce says that it is encoded to work only for Lucius, as he felt Lucius would be able make the right decision regarding it and Lucius agrees to help but says that so long as that machine is there, he won’t be. As people are attempting to evacuate the city by nightfall, one of the ferries contains the prisoners arrested during Dent’s Rico case against Maroni and the others. Meanwhile, Dent confronts Detective Wuertz, who was the one that turned him over to the mob, and after learning that he doesn’t know who the other man in Gordon’s unit is, Dent flips the coin and kills him when it lands bad side up. Dent then ambushes Maroni, who tells him that Ramirez was the other cop and Dent spares his life but shoots his driver, causing the car they are in to crash. Dent then uses Ramirez to call Gordon’s family and have them meet him somewhere, then knocks her out. Back out on the water, the ferry with the criminals and a ferry containing regular citizens suddenly stop dead in the water. As the crew search for the problem, they find explosives in the lower decks and a detonator. Suddenly, the Joker’s voice is heard over the speakers and he tells them that each boat has the detonator for the explosives on the other ship. At midnight, or if anyone tries to escape, he will blow both ships up but if one ship chooses to blow up the other one, the one that doesn’t explode will live. Lucius is able to figure out where Joker is and tells Batman, who informs Gordon. Gordon and his men set up on the roof across the street and wonder why the Joker and his men chose the building they were in but Batman says that nothing is simple with the Joker. He asks for 5 minutes to go in ahead of them but Gordon refuses, feeling responsible for what happened to Dent but Batman goes anyways and Gordon tells his men to give him 2 minutes. Before the start their assault, Gordon receives a call from his wife saying they are in trouble, and she is replaced by Dent, who tells Gordon to meet him where Rachel died. As he reaches the building, Batman realizes that the hostages have been disguised as clowns, while Joker’s men are pretending to be the hostages and he is forced to fight the police in order to save the hostages until they realize the situation. As midnight draws closer, one of the prisoners approaches the man with the detonator and tells him to hand it to him so he can do what must be done and when he does, the prisoner throws it out the window and sits back down. On the other ferry, everyone is arguing and decide to have a vote on what to do. When they vote to use the detonator, the captain refuses, as the other boat hasn’t blown them up yet, and one man decides he is to afraid and grabs the detonator and prepares to use it but he finds that he can’t do it either. Batman makes it up to the Joker and they start fighting but Joker is able to get the upper hand, then pins him down so they can watch his experiment unfold. When neither ferry explodes, Joker goes to detonate the ferries himself but Batman is able to stop him and throw him out of the building, then uses his grapple to catch him. As he brings Joker back up to him, Joker comments about how Batman couldn’t kill him and taunts him that he will still break the city once they learn what Harvey did. As Batman stares in horror, Joker tells him that he brought Dent down to their level and turned him loose as his ace in the hole and Batman rushes off, leaving Joker laughing as the police move to collect him. At the site where Rachel died, Dent knocks Gordon down and then threatens to kill his son to make Gordon feel the same pain he felt. Batman shows up and tells Dent it wasn’t Joker’s fault or the mob’s, but their fault, as they were the ones who chose to walk that path. When Dent asks why he was the one who lost everything, Batman says it was because he was the best of them. Dent says that they should all pay then starts flipping his coin; shooting Batman after the first flip but sparing his own life. As he goes to flip the coin a third time, Batman rushes him and knocks himself, Dent, and Gordon’s son over the edge. Dent falls to his death but Batman is able to save Gordon’s son and Gordon is able to pull him to safety before Batman falls himself. Gordon rushes down to check on him and finds Batman is still alive, then laments about how all the work Dent did is gone now. Batman says it doesn’t have to be and says he will take the blame for what Dent did, and Gordon tries to talk him out of it but Batman says it is what he must do. As he rushes off, with the police now chasing after him, it is shown later that Gordon destroys the Batsignal, Alfred burns Rachel’s letter, while Lucius smiles as he discovers Bruce had built in a self destruct to the system so that it was destroyed after he was done using it.

The Dark Knight met with almost universal praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Dark, complex and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.” The massive success at the box office, earning $1.005 billion off of a $185 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the franchise at the time as well as the first comic book movie to reach the $1 billion mark, and would go on to receive 8 Academy Award nominations, breaking the record for a comic book based movie that had been previously held by Dick Tracy. Heath Ledger’s posthumously winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar capped a sweeping list of awards his portrayal of the Joker garnered him, as he also won the SAG Award, the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA Award as well.

This probably goes without saying but this is a fantastic movie. The acting was great, with Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman doing great jobs reprising their roles of Batman, Gordon, Alfred, and Lucius respectively. Aaron Eckhart was great as Harvey Dent and while I still didn’t particularly care for the character, I thought that Maggie Gyllenhaal did a good job as Rachel. As for the man of the hour, I though Heath Ledger stole the show as Joker and honestly, I don’t think the movie would have been as good if they had someone else in the role, or a different character in general as the villain. I have had discussions about which Joker was better, Ledger or Nicholson, and I have always argued that it isn’t a fair comparison because both actors portrayed Joker as he was in the comics at the time but while he was always a sociopathic killer, much like Nicholson’s portrayal, by the time The Dark Knight came around, the Joker had evolved into a truly mad and psychotic character, which fit more into Ledger’s portrayal. The story was great, kind of picking up where Batman Begins left off in regards to his early exploits while mixing in some aspects of “The Killing Joke” to it, simply substituting Harvey Dent instead of Gordon for the subject of Joker’s attentions. The special effects were incredible, particularly the effects used to give Harvey Dent his post accident look. I also loved the cinematography and filming that was used, especially the portions shot using the Imax cameras. A great movie and definitely one of the top comic book movies out there.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 2nd, 2014 Movie – Batman Begins

batman begins

8 years after the last dismal movie, comic book movies were still making lots of money at the box office. However, the difference was that this time around, Marvel Comics seemed to be the ones ruling the box office. But that all changed in 2005, as DC decided to bring back one of their big movie earning properties. This time though, they decided to forgo the somewhat cartoonish and jokey nature of the previous films and make it a more serious and darker movie, hoping to take advantage of the new resurgence in the genre. When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I will admit that my interest was piqued and I was willing to give it a shot, as it definitely looked different than the previous movies. Now, let’s see if that hope paid off or was crushed to oblivion as I watch today’s movie, Batman Begins.

The plot: After waking from a dream about a childhood incident where he is playing with his childhood friend Rachel Dawes when he falls down a well and was attacked by some bats, Bruce Wayne, who is in a prison in Bhutan, heads out into the yard for breakfast when he is attacked by some of the prisoners. Bruce manages to deal with his attackers but is placed in solitary, for the other prisoners’s protection according to the guards. While in solitary, Bruce finds himself confronted by a man named Henri Ducard, who knows who Bruce is and says he can help him find the sense of purpose that he is looking for. He tells Bruce that when his sentence is up, to find a rare flower and bring it to the top of a mountain, where the League of Shadows is said to reside. When he is released from prison, Bruce does as Ducard says, noting the fearful looks of the villagers as he makes his way up the mountain. Reaching the top, he finds the mountain villa and heads inside, where Ducard introduces Bruce to Ra’s al Ghul, the leader of the League of Shadows. After asking what Bruce is looking for, Ducard suddenly attacks Bruce, saying that to strike fear into other, you must first conquer your own fears. Ducard renders Bruce unconscious and his dreams go back to the incident in his youth. Bruce’s father Thomas rescues him from the well and sets his bone. Some time later, Bruce and his parents go to the opera but during the performance, some of the actors are masquerading as bats, frightening Bruce and he asks if they can leave early. Thomas agrees and they head out the side door, walking down the alley to reach the train station. Suddenly, a man points a gun at them, asking for their money and jewelry. Thomas hands the man his wallet but when the man points his gun at Martha, demanding her pearl necklace, Thomas steps in front of her and ends up getting shot. Martha screams out but the man shoots her as he grabs her necklace and runs, leaving Bruce standing there in shock as his parents lay dying. At the police station, a young beat cop named James Gordon tries to comfort Bruce until Alfred arrives to pick him up and the police commissioner tells Bruce that they caught the killer. At the funeral, Bruce is approached by William Earle, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, who tells Bruce that his company will be in good hands until he is ready to take control. Later, Bruce tells Alfred that it’s his fault that his parents died but Alfred consoles him and says that it wasn’t his fault and there was nothing he could have done. In the present, Ducard works on training Bruce in the ways of the ninja and the League of Shadows. During the training, he taunts Bruce over the fact that his father is to blame for his parent’s death, then asks why he never avenged his parents. Bruce has a flashback to 14 years after the death of his parents, when he returned to Wayne Manor after studying abroad and learns from Rachel that Chill, the man who killed his parents, is getting paroled as part of a plea deal through the D.A. in exchange for his testimony against Carmine Falcone. Bruce heads to the hearing, with the intention of killing Chill, but as Chill is being escorted out of there, he is killed by someone working for Falcone. Rachel takes Bruce out of there and as they argue about Bruce’s desire for revenge instead of justice, Bruce reveals the gun he had and his plan to kill Chill, causing Rachel to slap him and tell him that his father would be ashamed of him. Bruce gets out of his car and as she drives away, he heads towards the restaurant that Falcone is at and confronts him. Falcone taunts him by saying that he could kill him right there and nothing would come of it, despite two cops and a judge sitting there, then has his men kick Bruce out of there. Deciding some of the things Falcone said was right, Bruce gives his money and jacket to a homeless person, then heads off on a freight shipment that is leaving the country. Back in the present, Ducard takes the flower that Bruce had brought up the mountain and after crushing it up into a powder, burns it and tells Bruce to inhale the smoke. The smoke induces a mild hallucinogen and while Bruce is under it’s influence, Ducard faces him as he hides behind rows of the League of Shadows’ ninjas but Bruce is able to outwit him and best him. Ra’s al Ghul applauds Bruce’s victory and tells him there is one last test he must do. A villager who had murdered his neighbor is brought forward and Bruce is told to kill him. When Bruce argues against killing him, Ra’s al Ghul says he must in order to lead his men into Gotham and destroy it, as a symbol of the corrupt society. Hearing their plans, Bruce chooses to turn against the League, knocking Ducard unconscious and fighting with Ra’s al Ghul. During the fight, the League’s explosive powder is ignited and Ra’s al Ghul is killed by some falling debris. Bruce and Ducard are thrown from the building and Bruce manages to save Ducard from falling off the side of the mountain, leaving him with the nearby villagers to tend to his wounds. Bruce contacts Alfred, who goes to pick him up, and on the flight back to Gotham, Alfred tells him about Earle’s plan to take Wayne Enterprises public, and how Bruce had been declared legally dead since he had been missing for 7 years. When he gets back to Gotham, he checks in on Rachel, seeing that she still works for the D.A. and has been having run ins with Dr. Jonathan Crane, the head psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who constantly deems members of Falcone’s gang insane and recommends them be sent to Arkham instead of jail. Unknown to her, Crane has a deal with Falcone and he tells Falcone about Rachel’s harrassing her and he says he will do something about it. The next day, Bruce heads to Wayne Enterprises, surprising Earle as he is holding a board meeting about taking the company public. Speaking privately with him, Earle tells Bruce that he can’t stop the sell and Bruce tells him he doesn’t plan on making problems but instead, asks to get a job so he can better understand his family’s company. Bruce chooses to work in Applied Sciences, which is run by Lucius Fox, and he learns that Lucius used to be on the board and knew his father. Lucius shows him some of the items he had designed and asks Bruce’s interest in them and Bruce comes up with a lie and tells him he doesn’t want to cause any trouble but Lucius says in his mind, all of this belongs to him anyways. When Bruce sees a bat in the house, he heads back to the well, overcoming his fear of bats in the process, and discovers a massive cave underneath the manor. Alfred theorizes it was used by his ancestors during the civil war as part of the underground railroad. Bruce and Alfred work on configuring Bruce’s costume and that night, Bruce disguises himself and pays a visit to James Gordon, commenting on how he is one of the few good cops that hasn’t been corrupted. He asks what he would need to stop Falcone’s drug shipments and Gordon tells him leverage against Judge Faden and a D.A. willing to prosecute and Bruce suggests Rachel before leaving. The next day, Bruce pays another visit to Lucius and as they discuss some of the other items Lucius has, he tells Bruce that the less he knows about what Bruce is planning, the less he would be able to tell when asked but not to treat him as stupid. Bruce agrees, then notices a vehicle nearby and asks about it and Lucius lets him test drive the Tumbler, a prototype military vehicle designed for bridge laying. That night, Falcone has Gordon’s partner, Flass, help oversea the night’s drug shipment when Bruce, donning his new Batman garb, begins taking out Falcone’s men, then knocks out Falcone and takes him out of there. Later that night, Rachel is taking the train to her apartment when she is confronted by two of Falcone’s men. She pulls out a taser and threatens one of the men, who runs when he sees Batman take out the other one. As Rachel turns around, she sees Batman and fires the taser at him but it has no effect on his armor. Batman gives her photos of Judge Faden with an underage girl and tells her about Falcone’s arrest, then leaves. Meanwhile, Gordon and the police show up and find Falcone’s men all restrained with Falcone chained to an active spotlight, causing his silhouette to form a bat in the night sky. The next day, the police commissioner chastises the police for allowing a vigilante to roam the streets like that and Gordon tries telling him he did do some good but the commissioner wants Batman arrested. At Wayne Enterprises, Earle is told of a problem with one of their cargo ships that was carrying a prototype microwave transmitter, which was apparently activated on board and caused massive damage to the ship before being stolen. Meanwhile, Alfred wakes up Bruce and tells him that if he is going to lead such a double life, then Bruce Wayne will have to start making appearances and do some reckless stuff to explain away his injuries as well as waylay suspicion. That night, Bruce shows up at a hotel with two models and when the models go swimming in the fountain area, the maitre d complains to Bruce, who decides to just buy the hotel. As he is leaving, he runs into Rachel and though he tries to explain that this isn’t the real him, Rachel appears disappointed. Later that night, Batman goes to see Gordon at his home and discusses how only half of the drugs went to the dealers. Gordon admits that Flass works as an enforcer for Falcone and so Batman goes to question him, learning where the drop off point is. At the prison, Crane is called in to check on Falcone, who had cut his wrists in order to appear crazy. Falcone tries to blackmail Crane into helping him out and cutting him in on whatever Crane’s boss has planned but Crane dons his mask, giving him the appearance of a scarecrow, then activates a canister in his briefcase, releasing a hallucinogen that causes Falcone to begin screaming in fear, which Crane exacerbates, then leaves the cell and tells the warden that he will have Falcone transferred to Arkham. Elsewhere, Rachel’s boss is going over the shipments from Falcone’s arrest and notices an extra container that wasn’t accounted for and when he has the guards open it, he sees a large crate from Wayne Enterprises, but is quickly killed by the guards. Batman heads to the drop off point and finds the dolls containing the drugs but he quickly hides when Crane and two henchmen appear. Crane tells his men to get rid of everything and then torch the place. Batman attempts to stop him but Crane, donning his Scarecrow mask, douses him with the fear hallucinogen and then proceeds to douse him in alcohol and light him on fire. Batman leaps out the window and manages to douse the flames and as the hallucinogen starts to take over his mind, he manages to contact Alfred for help. When Bruce regains consciousness, Alfred tells him that he was out for 2 days and he had called Lucius when Bruce’s condition worsened. Lucius was able to fashion an antidote for the hallucinogen and Bruce asks if he can make more, realizing that more people could soon be infected. Rachel stops by later to drop off a birthday present for Bruce and as he is talking to her, she receives a call informing her about Falcone and she heads over to Arkham. Bruce decides to go there as well, telling Alfred to keep the guests entertained until he gets back, then heads down into the Batcave to change. At Arkham, Rachel questions Crane about Falcone’s condition and he decides to take her to the basement, showing her that his men are refining the drug and pouring it into the city’s water supply. As Rachel tries to escape, Crane doses her with the hallucinogen and tries to decide what to do with her when the lights go out. Realizing Batman is there, Crane tells one of his men to call the police, saying that they won’t be able to stop them now anyways. As he leaves, Batman appears and begins taking out Crane’s men, then doses crane with the hallucinogen and questions him about what his plans are but Crane doesn’t talk. When the police arrive, they want to wait for S.W.A.T. to get there but Gordon decides to head inside on his own. Batman grabs him and tells him about what happened to Rachel and what Crane was doing, then tells him to get Rachel downstairs and meet him at a nearby alley. Using a beacon, Batman attracts all the bats in the city to fly towards Arkham, forming an effective distraction so Gordon can get Rachel out of there while he leaves another way. Meeting back with Gordon, Batman takes Rachel and places her in the Tumbler, then drives off, doing his best to avoid the police. As they are driving, Batman tries to keep Rachel calm while he works on evading the police but she ends up slipping into unconsciousness just as they reach the Batcave. Bruce finds the antidote that Lucius left for him and uses it to cure Rachel and when she wakes up, he tells her that he is going to give her a sedative so she can rest and when she wakes up, she needs to take the two remaining vials to Gordon, one to innoculate himself and the other to use for mass production. HEading upstairs, Alfred chastises Bruce for his actions but Bruce says he didn’t have a choice as Rachel’s life was on the line. When he asks if Lucius is there, Alfred says he is and Bruce says he needs Alfred to take Rachel back to her place and then they need to send everyone home, causing Alfred to chastise him again for not caring about his family name. As Alfred leaves with Rachel, Bruce heads to the party and is met by Earle, who tells him the stock prices of Wayne Enterprises have soared since they went public. Bruce then approaches Lucius and asks how long it would take to mass produce the antidote and Lucius tells him weeks. When Bruce tells him about the chemicals in the water, Lucius says that won’t work to spread an inhalant, then pauses and tells Bruce about the missing microwave emitter. Bruce asks him to go back to Wayne Enterprises and work on making more of the antidote and Lucius tells him about his being fired bu Bruce says that shouldn’t be able to stop Lucius. As Bruce prepares to send the guests home, one of the women introduces him to Ra’s al Ghul but when Bruce comments that he watched Ra’s die, Ducard speaks up behind him and Bruce realizes that his mentor is the real Ra’s al Ghul. Realizing that Ra’s would kill everyone there without regret, BRuce chooses to act as the spoiled rich boy that he is presumed to be and yells at everyone to get out, calling them all phony. Ra’s mocks Bruce’s efforts, saying that they will all be dead soon anyways, and as his men proceed to set Wayne Manor on fire, Ra’s attacks Bruce and manages to trap him underneath some debris, leaving Bruce to the same fate he left him. Ra’s and his men leave, leaving one man behind to ensure Bruce doesn’t make it out but Alfred knocks the man out and proceeds to help Bruce make it to safety in the Batcave. Meanwhile, more members of the League of Shadows, disguised as cops, release the prisoners form Arkham so they can wreck havoc on the city. Rachel wakes up after hearing the disturbance and heads down there to find Gordon, handing him the antidote she was given. Meanwhile, Ra’s and his men arrive on the island and proceed to use the microwave transmitter to vaporize the water in the area, releasing the toxin into the air and infecting everyone in the area. Batman gears up and heads to the Narrows, where he meets up with Gordon. Batman tells him that the people responsible plan on loading the transmitter onto the train, which runs parallel to the water lines, and take it to the main station at Wayne Tower, where it will vaporize the water all over the city. Batman tells him he will go try to stop the people but he wants Gordon to take the Tumbler and blow up the track, ensuring the train doesn’t reach the station. Rachel encounters Scarecrow as she is protecting a kid but she is able to use her taser on him, sending him screaming off in pain on a horse. When some of the crazed people move towards her, Batman saves her and the kid. As he goes to leave, she asks his name and he repeats the words she told Bruce, and as he leaps off the building, she realizes Bruce is Batman. Batman heads towards the train terminal to stop Ra’s, who has some of his men stall him long enough for the train to leave. Batman is able to use his grapple to swing onto the train and begins fighting with Ra’s. Meanwhile, Gordon gets into the Tumbler and takes off, following the train and reaches Wayne Tower before the train gets there, then works on taking out the support columns for the track, collapsing the track. As Ra’s notices the falling track, Batman gets the upper hand and when Ra’s asks if he will finally commit “true justice”, Batman says he won’t kill him but he doesn’t half to save him. Batman then uses explosives to separate the back cars from the one they are in and glides out, leaving Ra’s to fall to his death as the engine runs off the track. The next day, Earle enters Wayne Enterprises to find that Lucius Fox has been made the new CEO, under Bruce’s authority. When he contacts Bruce to find out what gave him the right, Bruce reveals that he had secretly been the one to purchase all of the Wayne Enterprise stock, making him the sole owner of his family’s company. Bruce heads to the remains of Wayne Manor and Rachel meets him there, telling him that she had never stopped thinking about him when he was gone all of those years. She kisses him and tells him that one day, when the city doesn’t need Batman anymore, maybe there will be a chance for them to be together. She asks him what he is going to do and he says he will rebuild the manor just as it was and after she leaves, Alfred suggests making some modifications to the foundation in the south west corner, right over the Batcave. That night, Gordon, now a Lieutenant, uses a newly fashioned Bat-signal, to get Batman’s attention and have him meet him on the police station rooftop. He tells them that they started something but there is a lot of work to do, as Crane and half of the inmates have yet to be captured. He then asks about escalation, showing him the calling card of a theatrical criminal that had committed a double homicide and as Batman looks at the Joker card in the evidence bag, he tells Gordon he will look into it and then glides off into the night.

Batman Begins was well received by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.” Hans Zimmer, who scored the movie, named the tracks after various types of bats, with tracks 4-9 actually spelling out BATMAN. While shooting on the streets of Chicago, a person accidentally crashed into the Batmobile. The driver was apparently drunk, and said he hit the car in a state of panic, believing the Dark Knight’s vehicle to be an invading alien spacecraft. When the film was released, The movie was a financial success, earning $374.2 million off of a $150 million budget and would spawn two sequels, all three of which would later be referred to as The Dark Knight trilogy.

DC redeemed themselves because this was a great movie. The acting was really good on almost every count. I thought Christian Bale did a great job as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but the whole deep yelling voice he chose to use for Batman was a bit much in my opinion. I thought Cillian Murphy was the perfect casting as Crane while Liam Neeson (Ra’s al Ghul), Gary Oldman (Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius), and Michael Caine (Alfred) were also great in their roles, but I was honestly rather indifferent towards Katie Holmes character of Rachel. I know it was supposed to help with Bruce’s character but she honestly didn’t really seem to add anything except be a somewhat weak plot point. The story was rather good, taking it’s influence from several different Batman story lines from the comics that depicted some of the early stages of Batman’s development. I’m glad they decided not to use the Joker as the first villain Batman faced and allowed one of his “less famous” villains in Scarecrow make an appearance, while also have Ra’s al Ghul show up as his mentor/arch rival made for a great bit of a plot line. The special effects and fight scenes were pretty good and I liked that the gave the movie a sense of realism, not making it to over the top ridiculous like the last few movies where. Definitely a great way to reboot the series and a really fun film to watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, comic book, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: April 1st, 2014 Movie – Batman & Robin

batman and robin

If there was to be a case study in how to kill a movie franchise, this movie would probably be on the list. I mean, this could be used as a text book example of what not to do when making a super hero movie. I mean, as successful as Batman Forever was, you would think that they would have tried to keep the momentum going. Unfortunately, the moment  the phrase “Bat-nipples” was first uttered, and all of the ice puns were heard in the trailers, I think everyone was groaning inside about how bad this movie was going to be. And let’s face it folks, when one of the lead actors was going around apologizing for killing the franchise, and actually refunding people’s money who had gone to see it, you know that you have a lousy movie on your hands. So why, you may ask, would I possibly even want to own such a movie? Well, maybe I did something horrible in a past life and this is my atonement by forever owning this movie. That, or I am a mildly OCD completionist when it comes to movies and just had to get it to round out the series. Either way, I have put off reviewing this movie long enough (yes, this is one of the reasons why I stopped doing the flashback reviews a few years ago because I really didn’t want to watch this movie at the time), so let’s get this over with and watch Batman & Robin.

The plot: Batman and Robin gear up for the nightly patrol and after saying goodbye to Alfred, they head off, not noticing his pained expression. Commissioner Gordon contacts Batman to alert him to a new villain, Mr. Freeze, who is robbing the museum so they head over there. At the museum, Freeze is using his ice gun to freeze the cops as he and his henchmen work on stealing a large diamond being held there. Batman and Robin show up to stop them and manage to get the diamond away from Freeze but when Freeze’s henchmen attack them, Freeze is able to reclaim the diamond. As he gets into his vehicle, which suddenly opens up to reveal a hidden rocket, Batman manages to jump inside to confront him, while Robin manages to cling to the outside as it blasts off. Freeze traps Batman with his cold gun, then bails out of the rocket, planning on sending him up into space to freeze to death. Robin enters the rocket and frees Batman, who places a bomb on the rocket so it explodes harmlessly in the upper atmosphere, then they bail out and follow after Freeze. Batman manages to grab onto Freeze, knocking the diamond out of his hand for Robin to grab, but Freeze is able to use his ice gun to slow his fall. As Batman and Robin chase after him, Freeze uses the ice gun on Robin to freeze him solid, then grabs the diamond and taunts Batman on how he can either chase him or save Robin, before quickly making his escape. Meanwhile, in a Wayne Enterprise lab in Brazil, Dr. Pamela Isley is working on a project to try and make plants capable of defending themselves from attack but comments on how she would be more successful if her boss, Dr. Jason Woodrue, would stop stealing her Venom samples for his “Gilgamesh” project. Sneaking into Woodrue’s private lab, she sees him talking to someone on the phone and watches as he transforms convicted serial killer Antonio Diego into a hulking monster which he calls Bane. When Woodrue discovers Isley in his lab, he attempts to explain things to her but when she says she plans on reporting him to the authorities, he attempts to kill her by knocking a table full of toxins on top of her, and the toxic mixture melts away at the ground and ends up causing her to be buried. Back at the Batcave, Batman shows Robin footage of Victor Fries, before the accident that changed him into Mr. Freeze. Batman explains that Fries wife contracted MacGregor’s Syndrome and he had been attempting to cryo-freeze her so he could find a cure before the accident occurred. Robin asks if they are going to set a trap for Freeze but Batman tells him he needs to train some more, causing the two to start arguing. Later, Bruce and Alfred are talking about Robin’s recklessness and Alfred comments he was the same way and says he should be more understanding. Back in Brazil, Isley emerges from the ground, having been reborn as Poison Ivy, and after using her toxins to kill Woodrue, she decides to take Bane with her and pay a visit to Gotham. In Mr. Freeze’s hideout, Freeze uses some small diamonds to refuel his suit, while placing the large diamond he stole in his “Freeze Engine”. He tells his henchman Frosty that they need one more large diamond for the engine, and then he will freeze Gotham and hold it for ransom in order to get the money needed to continue his research and find a cure for his wife. The next day, Bruce, Dick, and Alfred are surprised to find Alfred’s niece, Barbara Wilson, at the door, having decided to come visit while on a break from her academy, and Bruce invites her to stay at the house. They show her around the mansion and later that night, Barbara talks with Alfred, who is trying to find his brother to serve as Bruce’s new butler, but after saying goodnight to Alfred, Barbara sneaks out of the house and steals a motorcycle from the garage. The next day, Bruce, accompanied by his girlfriend Julie Madison, is donating a new telescope to the Gotham Observatory when he is approached by Pamela Isley, who offers him a plan to help repair the damage his company has done to the environment but he refuses as her plan would result in millions of people’s deaths. Later that night, Batman and Robin attend a charity auction at the botanical garden when Poison Ivy shows up and uses her pheromones to entrance Batman and Robin, as well as everyone else in the building. Grabbing the diamond, Poison Ivy starts a bidding war among the guests, with Batman and Robin even getting in on it, when Freeze and his men suddenly shows up for the diamond. As Batman and Robin begin fighting with Freeze’s henchmen, Freeze approaches the stage and Ivy tries using her pheromones on him but Freeze’s cold blood makes him immune to their effects and so she lets him have the diamond. Freeze and his henchmen leave and Batman and Robin follow after them but when Freeze and his men attempt to jump to a nearby rooftop in their vehicles, Batman tells Robin to pull back, then shuts down his engine remotely when he refuses. As the Batmobile makes the jump, Freeze uses his vehicle’s freeze gun to freeze it but Batman is able to bail out, then crashes into Freezes vehicle and capture him. Returning to the Batcave, Batman and Robin continue arguing, with Robin feeling like Batman is too controlling and doesn’t trust him. Later, Bruce goes to talk with Alfred and asks him if Dick is right and Alfred admits that he is, as Bruce’s tragic childhood has made it difficult for him to trust other people, Alfred being one of the few exceptions. Meanwhile, Dick catches Barbara sneaking the motorcycle back into the garage and when he questions her about it, she is evasive as to what she was doing. Freeze is taken to Arkham Asylum and placed in a special cell with a freeze light in it, confining him to the area around his bed in the room. Elsewhere, Ivy and Bane head to an abandoned Turkish bathhouse and, after kicking out the gang that was living there, she begins making her own alterations while preparing to bust Freeze out of Arkham. That night, Bruce is having dinner with Julie, who talks to him about marriage but Bruce is still thinking about Ivy, accidentally calling Julie Ivy when she kisses him. Meanwhile, Dick is also obsessing about finding out who Ivy is when he spots Barbara stealing a motorcycle again and he decides to follow her. He finds her competing in an underground bike race and joins in the race to follow her, helping save her when a gang decides to try and kill her. As they return to Wayne manor, Dick and Barbara talk about her racing and she reveals she had been kicked out of school for it but she doesn’t care as she has all the money she needs. She tells Dick she plans on taking Alfred away from there, feeling he is being taken advantage of. When Dick tells her he is family and happy there, she reveals that Alfred is sick. As she heads upstairs, Bruce, who was in the other room, tells Dick that Alfred isn’t sick, but dying and had chosen not to tell anyone about it. At Arkham, Ivy and Bane go to break Freeze out of his cell but his suit is out of power so he says he must return to his hideout to get the diamonds to power it, and asks Ivy to get his wife, who he has hidden in a secret part of his lair. After hearing that Freeze escaped, Batman and Robin join the police at Freeze’s hideout, where they see that Ivy and Bane had broken him out of prison. As they discuss what happened to them and why they were fighting over her, they discover Freeze’s hidden chamber and find Nora Fries body still in suspended animation, Freeze and Ivy see this and Ivy tells him she will deal with Batman and Robin and get Nora while he gets his diamonds for his suit and meet back at her hideout. As they examine Nora’s body, they discover that Freeze had managed to find a cure and treatment for the early stages of MacGregor’s Syndrome but not the latter stages. Suddenly, the smell Ivy’s pheromones and head down into the sewer to confront her but she has Bane attack them. Meanwhile, Freeze lowers the temperature in the hideout, disabling the police and allowing him to grab his diamonds as well as his freeze engine, then makes his escape. Back in the sewers, Bane knocks Batman and Robin around and as they are stunned, Ivy approaches them and uses her pheromones to distract them some more and attempt to kiss them. Batman is able to resist them but Robin finds himself more susceptible and as they argue, Batman is forced to dump Robin into the sludge. Ivy uses the distraction to head up to the room and instead of rescuing Nora, she disables the machine, then grabs her necklace to show as proof that Nora died. When she returns to her hideout, Freeze asks where Nora is and Ivy tells him that Batman and Robin disabled the machine, handing him the necklace as proof she is dead. Freeze wants revenge and plans on freezing Gotham and Ivy wants to help, saying after he freezes mankind, her mutant plants will take over and they will be the only two people left. Back at Wayne Manor, Barbara is checking in on Alfred, who hands her a disc he made for his brother and ask that she find him but she decides to look at the disc herself and learns about Bruce and Dick’s secret identity. Meanwhile, Bruce and Dick are still arguing over Ivy as Bruce leaves for a fundraiser, saying he will go after them alone as Dick isn’t thinking straight. At the fundraiser, Ivy, dressed as Pamela Isley, uses her pheromones on Gordon to learn where the Bat Signal is but Bruce smells the pheromones and realizes who she really is. Bane destroys the Bat signal and Ivy has a new one created just for Robin, luring him to her hideout. At the Batcave, Robin is getting ready to head out to meet Ivy when Batman stops him and says she is trying to kill him, asking Robin to trust him on this. After they leave, Barbara finds her way into the cave, and a computer image of Alfred shows up on the computer. Alfred says he knew she would find her way down there and had created a suit for her in case she wanted to help. Freeze and Bane head to Gotham Observatory, where Freeze plans on using the new telescope to freeze Gotham. Meanwhile, Robin shows up at the Turkish Bath and approaches Ivy, who asks him to kiss her. Robin asks her to tell him Freezes plan first and she does so, thinking it won’t matter since he will soon be dead, but Robin had heeded Batman’s warning and coated his lips with Rubber to prevent her toxin from infecting him. Ivy shoves him into the pool, where the vines start dragging him underwater and when Batman shows up, she has her vines trap him as well. Suddenly, Barbara, calling herself Batgirl, burst through the skylight and begins fighting Ivy, managing to trap her in her own plant. Batman and Robin manage to free themselves and when they ask Batgirl who she is, she reveals that she is Barbara and had found the Batcave. The three head to the observatory but are too late as Freeze has already begun to freeze the city. Realizing they don’t have much time to thaw the city, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl reach the observatory and realize they can use the telescope and linked satellite system to reflect sunlight onto the city and thaw it. While Batman reprograms the satellites, Robin and Batgirl head out to thaw the targeting mirrors but Freeze shows up and begins attacking Batman, moving the telescope which knocks Robin and Batgirl off of it. Robin attempts to save them but when his grapple fails, Batgirl ends up saving them. As they recover, Bane attacks them but Robin tells Batgirl to pull the tubes from his mask and when they do so, Bane reacts in pain and loses his strength before reverting back to Diego. Meanwhile, Batman and Freeze continue fighting and BAtman eventually gets the upper hand by placing a mini heater in Freezes suit and knocking him off the platform. Batman then starts using the telescope to start thawing the city but Freeze activates some bombs he had Bane place around the facility earlier, destroying the telescope. As Batman rescues the scientists that were falling with the telescope, He, Robin, and Batgirl head back to the observatory to try and figure out how to thaw the rest of the city. Batgirl and Robin use the satellites themselves to reflect the sun onto the city and continue thawing it, saving the city and everyone in it. Batman approaches Freeze, who is incapacitated due to his damaged suit, and Freeze tells him to go ahead and kill him like he killed his wife. Batman tells him that he didn’t kill Nora, showing him the video of Ivy bragging about killing her, and Freeze cries out in anger. Batman then tells him that Nora is still alive, as they restored the machine, then asks Freeze to help him save the life of someone suffering from early stages of MacGregor’s Syndrome. Freeze gives him the cure and Batman tells him he will have Nora’s body transferred to Arkham so that Freeze can continue his research. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl return to Wayne Manor, where Bruce begins administering the cure to Alfred. Meanwhile, Ivy is sitting in her cell in Arkham when Freeze shows up, revealing that he is her new cell mate, and as he approaches her, Ivy begins shaking in fear. The next morning, Alfred is shown to have made a full recovery and as they rejoice in the good news, Bruce decides what to do with Barbara and relents when she asks to be his partner and part of the family.

Batman & Robin was completely panned by the critics, holding a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that’s too jokey to care much for.” Most of the scenes with Batgirl were cut as Alicia Silverstone had gained a few punds during production and the batgirl suit had to be refit. When the press found out, the criticized her for the weight gain but director Joel Schumacher defended her and attacked the press for their cruelty. The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $238.2 million off of a $125 million budget but it effectively killed off any planned sequel or follow up movie until the franchise was rebooted in 2005 with Batman Begins.

It is too early in the day for me to have a drink and I really want to drink to the point I forget watching this movie. This movie is terrible on so many levels that it is almost painful. The acting was ok, and I say that in all seriousness because the actors were doing the best they could with an absolutely craptacular script. 27 ICE PUNS!!!! That is 28 ice puns too many, because you know there was another one that was written but didn’t make the cut. And let’s not forget the plant puns that were involved with Poison Ivy. As I mentioned earlier, the story was absolute crap and spent more time trying to come up with clever jokes then actually coming up with a decent story. The side plot about Alfred being sick was the best part of the story and they could have made a better movie if they had focused on that. One thing that was unforgivable was what they did to Bane, as he was one of the most interesting and methodical villains to be introduced to face Batman in recent years and they made him a total joke of a character in this movie. The set design was so cartoonish in it’s appearance that it was hard to take anything serious. As for the special effects, while they were decent, they didn’t help matters when it came to the total campiness of this movie. If you come across this movie, do yourself a favor and keep on going.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Uncategorized

So That Happened…..

what do i do now

Ok folks. For those of you that have stuck with me for the past 4 years, you may be wondering what is going to happen now. Well for starters, I still have 3 months worth of movies that I watched from before I started the blog (April-June 2014) that I have to write reviews for. So that is what I will do for the next few months. After that, I have the new movies from this year that I had picked up and need to review. Now you may be wondering why I didn’t review them as I got them. The answer is that I have a lot of things going on IRL and decided to plan out the blog in advance in some cases, such as when I had to go out of town or would be extremely busy certain days, and it was going to be easier for me to pre-write the blogs for those days so I didn’t have to worry about them. Whenever I got a new movie, it would tend to throw off the schedule so I decided to wait until I got all of the past movies out of the way, where I would know exactly which movie would occur which day, and then do the new ones after they were all done, as my schedule would be a little more normal then. So, the old movies and new movies will carry me into October and possibly sometime into November when it is all said and done. After that, I am going to take a bit of a break till the end of the year. This blog actually takes a bit of effort to do and I need the rest to recharge so to speak. During that time, I plan on going back to some of my older posts and adding tags and links to make them easier to look up online.

Of course, the question remains; “If you have finished watching all of your movies, what are you going to do?” Well, I have been giving that some thought and my two options really are to continue with the blog, or leave it finished as is. Personally, I have had some fun doing this so I decided to continue with the blog. I will continue to buy movies but I will also review movies that I stream online off of Netflix, Hulu, and other similar sites. Now obviously I will mostly be reviewing movies that catch my interest but I will also be open to suggestions so by all means, feel free to leave a comment and suggest a movie for me to watch. Also, please feel free to leave a comment on how I could improve things, as I am always open to some constructive criticism. Now, there are going to be some changes in my life going on so I can’t guarantee that I will be able to do a review every day like I have been but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

So I guess that’s it for the explanation. T.T.F.N.

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action, horror, movie, movie review, The Asylum, zombie movie

July 5th, 2018 Movie – Zoombies

zoombies

Well folks, this is it. I have reached the last movie in my collection….well, as of January 2018. I still have a couple of movies I picked up this year but we will get to that later. Right now, I want to take a moment and think back on this. I started this little project of mine January 1st, 2014, mainly to check and see if any of my movies were messed up and needed to be replaced (side note, 6 movies in total needed to be replaced, 5 of which still in need of that). The whole blog idea came about as a joke 6 months later but it has kind of taken on a life of it’s own since then. Now I find it somewhat fitting that the last movie on the list comes from one of my favorite studios, The Asylum, as it means the list ends on a high note. Now when I first heard about this movie, I thought the idea was fantastic and couldn’t wait to pick this movie up on DVD. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Zoombies.

The plot: At the Eden Wildlife Zoo, which primarily contains endangered species, one of the security guards, Monte, brings in cages full of monkeys into the veterinarian’s clinic as a precaution, while the vets work on trying to figure out what is wrong with a monkey named Sandy, as she is suffering from some strange virus. When Sandy flat-lines, the head vet, Dr. Gordon, decides to inject her with some intracardiac epinephrine, overruling his assistant’s (Robin) objections about it being illegal. After injecting Sandy, they notice all of the other monkey’s acting strangely and, along with Monte, lift the covers to check on them. Suddenly, they hear a sound and when the turn around, they find Sandy is moving again and quickly leaps off the table. As they go looking for her, Sandy knocks a cabinet over onto Monte, killing him, then leaps at Robin when she tries to run, ripping out her eyes, before attacking Dr. Gordon. Meanwhile, Dr. Ellen Rogers, the zoo’s owner, is giving a tour of the zoo to a group of college interns (Amber, Ricky, A.J., Gage, Robbie and Kyle), taking their phones from them when Amber is talking on hers trying to get someone to get her out of the program. Ricky is dropped off with Chelsea, who manages the bird aviary, and as Amber, Kyle, and Robbie are dropped off at the African animal area, it is revealed that the reason Amber is there is because her grandmother is one of the zoo’s largest donors and this was her community service work for being on probation. Ellen’s daughter Thea, who was in the bus with them, says she wants to see Kifa, the zoo’s Cross River gorilla, and when they head over, Thea calls out to Kifa, who comes running out of her cave to see Thea. As A.J. watches in amazement at Kifa and Thea’s interaction, Kifa’s handler Daxton explains that Kifa and Thea practically grew up together and are best friends, then takes A.J. with him while Ellen, Thea, and Gage leave. Meanwhile, Dr. Gordon is still alive and manages to press the alarm button so Rex, the head of security, sends one of the guards, Johnny, to see what is going on. When Ellen, Thea, and Gage return to the main building, Ellen leaves Thea in her old workroom/playroom, then takes Gage to introduce him to Rex and the other two guards. As she goes to meet Leslie “Lizzy” Hogan, the new security guard hire, they get word that they lost contact with Johnny and so Rex, Lizzy, and the two other guards, Boris and Ty, head out to see what’s wrong, taking Gage with them. When they get to the clinic, they turn off the alarm and go looking for Dr. Gordon, finding him severely injured in the lab. After managing to get into the lab, they ask what happened and he starts to tell them before he suddenly starts convulsing and a monkey burst out of his chest. As the other monkeys, which are now infected, suddenly appear, they attack and kill Boris and Ty, then attack Rex. Lizzy is able to help him and they manage to kill some of them but three monkeys manage to escape. Rex contacts Ellen and tells her what is going on and she proceeds to place the zoo on lockdown while contacting the police for help. As the alarm sounds through the zoo, Chelsea and Ricky lock up the aviary, while A.J. and Daxton lock themselves in the lab next to Kifa’s enclosure. Amber, Kyle, and Robbie hear the alarm and their boss, Gus, sees the monkeys leaping through the trees and tells them to run as he gets attacked. The three interns take shelter in a t-shirt kiosk but when the warthogs, now infected, begin attacking the booth, they quickly climb up through the roof and into the trees. They are soon attacked by some infected giraffes and Kyle and Robbie are killed but Rex, Lizzy, and Gage arrive and manage to save Amber. As Rex and Lizzy argue about the aviary, as Lizzy says if any of them gets infected it and escape it would be disastrous, Amber tries to convince Gage to leave with her. When another giraffe attacks Gage, Lizzy and Rex go to help him and Amber decides to take their jeep and try to leave on her own. As the three try to figure out what they should do next, they see some elephants approaching them and Gage theorizes that they haven’t been infected, as they have no natural predators, and they can ride on them and stay safe. Meanwhile, Ellen is in contact with the police, who sends a S.W.A.T. team in to assess the situation but the team encounters some infected lions and is killed. Amber reaches the front gate and after finding it locked, she notices the camera and starts waving at it to get someone’s attention. Ellen sees her and asks where the others are but Amber yells at her to open the gate. Ellen says she can’t do that, as it would release the animals, and as Amber argues with her, Ellen notices  the lions approaching Amber and tries to warn her but Amber ignores her and tries to climb the gate but the lions attack her. As Ellen watches in horror, she notices a sensor saying that an animal is in the watchtower, just as she realizes Thea isn’t with her. Thea is back in the playroom and as she approaches the stuffed koala, she realizes it is a real one when it tries to bite her and when Ellen manages to enter the room, she finds that Thea killed it with a baseball bat. Back in the park, the elephants get spooked by a bunch of infected lemurs in the trees, knocking Rex and the others off of them and accidentally stepping on Rex’s leg, breaking it. As the lemurs start to attack them, they are rescued by Daxton and A.J., who take them back to the lab. As they discuss the situation, Lizzy notices animals approaching the gorilla compound and Daxton runs out to protect Kifa, only to discover that Kifa has become infected. Kifa attacks Daxton, throwing him through the door to the lab and kills him, then begins hunting the others. Rex tells Lizzy to make sure none of the animals, especially the birds in the aviary, escape the zoo, then grabs a machete and stabs Kifa, buying the others time to escape. Kifa kills Rex, then chases after the others, who climb up the rocks of her enclosure then drop a boulder to stop her before they escape. Trying to figure out their next move, they see the jeep driving by and go rushing to it only to find fatally wounded Amber behind the wheel. Amber ends up dying and Lizzy uses the radio to contact Ellen and tell her what is going on. Ellen tells her that she will get Chelsea and Ricky out of the aviary and tells them to meet back at the watchtower. When the lions appear and start feeding on Amber, Lizzy, Gage, and A.J. get in the jeep and drive off, killing some of the lions that chase after them but they end up wrecking the jeep in the process. Hearing some animals moving down the path, Gage leads them towards the ziplines, and they use them to get to the watchtower but the cable snap as they get close and A.J. ends up falling to his death while Lizzy grabs onto Gage, and they then make it to the watchtower. Ellen lets them inside and as they make plans to head to the aviary, they arm themselves with weapons from the security room, as well as grabbing all of the gasoline and fuel they can carry in order to destroy the aviary. When they get there, Lizzy and Gage head inside to find Ricky and Chelsea only to find that they have been attacked by the birds, who are infected. The two begin shooting at the birds when they start attacking them while outside, Ellen notices some of the birds trying to peck through the glass and starts pouring gas around the aviary in order to set it on fire. Lighting the fuel on fire, the fire starts to engulf the aviary but she realizes it won’t kill the birds before they escape. Gage and Lizzy manage to make it out and Lizzy has Ellen move the truck next to the aviary, then uses a flare to ignite the remaining fuel in the truck, causing it to explode and take the aviary with it. As they watch the birds die in flames, they are surprised to see Kifa approach them and they quickly run for the gate. They try to climb the gate but Kifa attacks them and Ellen is forced to shoot him in the head. A helicopter picks them up and takes them to safety but back in the zoo, it is shown that Kifa was not killed and regains consciousness.

This was an entertaining movie but I will admit that I was a little disappointed in some of the effects. The acting was ok, with Andrew Asper (Gage) doing a good job as the surprising male lead while Ione Butler (Lizzy) and Kim Nielsen (Ellen) did good jobs as the female leads. The story was interesting and I liked the idea of the virus turning the animals into zombies, somewhat, but, and I know this is odd coming from me, but I wish they did at least attempt to explain how the virus first started and not just jump into “sick monkey attacks people” part. One scene that I did find funny/plot problem was at the end in the aviary. When Gage and Lizzy were firing on the birds, the shots that missed could have easily broken the glass and allowed the birds to escape but of course, that magically doesn’t happen. The special effects were honestly a little weak, particularly some of the green screen aspects of the movie. One thing I thought was pretty annoying was that after Kifa was infected, they would keep switching back and forth between the infected face and the pre-infected face, even when he was chasing after people. The back and forth with the face really bugged me more than anything else in the movie. Kifa and the special effects aside, this was still a fun movie to watch and another solid entry from The Asylum.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review, zombie movie

July 4th, 2018 Movie – Zombies Of Mora Tau

zombies of maru tau

It’s always interesting to see a pre Night Of The Living Dead zombie movie, as they way zombies were depicted was totally different. While I have seen several of them, this is the only one of those movies I own. The reason for my owning this is because it was a box set of some movies I purchased for the sole reason of it containing The Giant Claw. Now, I have never seen this movie so it should make for an interesting watch. The only thing I know is that there won’t be any flesh eating in this movie. So let’s see what we have with today’s movie, Zombies Of Mora Tau.

The plot: Jan Peters is being driven to her grandmother’s home on the coast of Africa and as she is talking to the driver, Sam, a man appears in the road ahead of them. Sam runs the man over and Jan yells at him to stop but he tells her that it wasn’t a man in the road, it was one of “them”. When they arrive at her grandmother’s house, Jan tells her grandmother what she saw but after Sam explains what happened, her grandmother tells Sam to help Jan take her things to her room. Meanwhile, on a steamer ship off the coast, Captain George Harrison, his wife Mona, Dr. Jonathan Eggert, and diver Jeff Clark are sharing a drink with George toasting to the hopefully successful recovery of $1 million in diamonds. As Jeff and George leave the cabin, one of the crew is getting the landing boat ready when a figure swims up and drags him into the water. George fires into the water, claiming to have hit the man, but Jeff says he could have hit his crewman. When they pull the crewman onto the boat, they discover that his neck has been broken and wonder who the person was that killed him. Back at her grandmother’s house, Jan is putting her things away when she looks out the window and sees her grandmother by the water’s edge, directing a man into the water. Jan heads outside to ask her grandmother what is going on when Jeff, George, Mona, and Jonathan arrive in the landing boat. Grandmother Peters introduces them to Jan and says that she was expecting them, figuring they were their fro the diamonds. When George confirms this, she shows them the graves of the other expeditions that had attempted to reclaim the diamonds over the years and warns them away from it. When Mona falls into an open grave and tells George that she wants to leave, Grandmother Peters offers to put them up for the night. As George and Jeff discuss where they should begin their search, Jonathan talks with Grandmother Peters, explaining that George is after the diamonds but he is after the historical knowledge that can be found from the sunken ship. She tells him how her husband was part of the crew that found the chest of diamonds 60 years ago when 10 men, including her husband, disappeared. The next night, the 10 men returned and killed everyone on the ship and scuttled it, and now continue to guard the cursed diamonds. When Jonathan asks why she is there, she explains that she had come there hoping to find a way to break the curse and send her husband to his eternal rest. Suddenly, Mona and Jan begin screaming as a zombie is in their room and approaching them. Jeff tries to stop it but is easily thrown aside and George prepares to shoot it but Grandmother Peters pushes his gun down and uses a torch to force the zombie outside, explaining that fire is the only thing that scares them. Mona wants to leave but George refuses, saying that he came for the diamonds and refuses to leave without them. Later, Jan is arguing with her grandmother about her knowing about the dangers but Grandmother Peters says she knows what she is doing as she wants them to find the diamonds and hopefully break the curse. Jan heads outside and, seeing Jeff standing by the landing boat, goes over to talk to him. After talking for a while, she tells him about her experience earlier and wants to go find out what happened to the man they hit so Jeff agrees to go with her. After driving to the spot where Sam had hit the zombie, they find the evidence of someone walking away from there and Jeff goes to get something to mark the spot, saying they will come back in the morning with some more men to look further. As he goes to the car, the zombie grabs Jan and carries her into the jungle and Jeff, hearing her scream, goes off looking for her. He catches up to the zombie and attempts to stab him with a knife but it has no effect and the zombie knocks him aside and continues carrying Jan away. The zombie heads into a graveyard and carries Jan into a mausoleum, where the other 9 zombies are also resting and they all move towards Jan but Jeff shows up and uses a flare gun to keep the zombies at bay so they can escape. The next day, Jeff is relaying what happened to George, Mona, and Jonathan as they are eating breakfast and he wants to go ahead and cancel the dive but George convinces him to go through with it. They head back to the ship and Jeff dives down to search for the ship. When he finds it, he starts going to investigate when he is attacked by a zombie, who disconnects his air hose during their struggle. When they lose contact with him, George orders them to winch Jeff back to the surface and as he clears the water, he is finally able to knock the zombie from him, who swims back down to the ship. Jeff loses consciousness and George and the others take him back to the house, where Grandmother Peters explains that the nearest doctor is a 5 hour drive. As Jan looks over him, Jeff regains consciousness and starts talking to her when Mona enters, upset that Jan didn’t tell them he was awake. As Jan starts arguing with Mona, George enters the room, angry to find Mona there, and ends up slapping her out of jealousy. Mona runs off but ends up being grabbed by the zombies and taken away. When the others realize she is gone, Jeff figures that the zombies must have taken her to the mausoleum and leads George, Jonathan, and some men there. When they get there, they see Mona lying on the floor with the zombies around her and Jeff fires a flare to frighten the zombies back. George goes to get Mona but says she is dead when she suddenly sits up. He leads her out of there and the pour some gasoline at the entrance to the mausoleum and Jeff lights it on fire with a flare, keeping the zombies trapped inside. They head back to the house and when they get there, Jan remarks about Mona’s hands feeling cold but Jonathan tries to come up with an excuse for it. When they head inside, Grandmother Peters says that Mona is dead but George refuses to believe it and asks Jan to help him take her to their room. After watching over Mona for a while, George leaves the room and goes to talk with Jeff. While he is gone, Mona gets up, grabs a knife and heads to the bedroom where two of the crew are resting. She kills one of them as the other man cries for help, and George and Jeff rush in and try to stop her. Jan and Grandmother Peters enter the room and and light some candles, then help them guide Mona back to her room, using candles to keep her there. The next day, Jeff and George come up with a plan to get the diamonds, using their cutting torches to keep the zombies at bay underwater. Jeff heads inside the shi, with George keeping watch outside. As Jeff works on cutting into the chest holding the diamonds, the zombies approach the ship but George is able to hold them at bay. Jeff manages to get the diamonds but George is getting overwhelmed and yells for the ship to pull him to safety. They lover the divers stand for him and bring him up, using a flare to scare the zombies away from him. They lower the cage for Jeff and bring him up but the zombies begin making their way onto the ship. Telling Jonathan to take the diamonds and head into the cabin, Jeff and the rest of the crew use torches to try and scare off the zombies but they keep coming towards them. Some of the crew dive overboard and swim away while Jeff and another crewman head into the cabin. Since George is injured, Jeff plans on taking the diamonds and luring the others away from the ship so they can get away and he will rejoin them later but George refuses to let him take the diamonds, thinking he is only going to take them for himself. Jeff knocks George out, grabs the chest, and heads to the launch so he can go to shore but George, recovering from the blow, orders the remaining crew to follow him. Jan meets Jeff at the shore and he takes her inside, where Grandmother Peters says she knew he would succeed. Jeff manages to get the chest open and they quickly work on placing the diamonds into a sack. Outside, George, Jonathan, and two crewmen show up and George tells the crewmen to get the launch ready while he and Jonathan head inside the house. Entering Grandmother Peters’s room, George demands that Jeff hand over the chest and when he does so, he goes to leave with Mona but as they start to get on the boat, Mona kills him and grabs the chest, carrying it away as she leaves with the other zombies. Jeff wants to take the diamonds and leave with Jan but Grandmother Peters says the diamonds must be destroyed or cast to the sea so that the zombies can be at peace. Jeff refuses to believe her and, not wanting to leave either of them there with the zombies, takes them with him. They get to the launch and he plans on selling the diamonds in New York, saying they will be scattered that way but Grandmother Peters says it won’t work. Jeff tells Jan that he wants her to marry him but when she refuses to leave Grandmother Peters, he reluctantly hands her the diamonds. Grandmother Peters proceeds to dump the diamonds overboard and the zombies vanish. Jeff sadly says he will probably never be rich now but Jan smiles and kisses him as they embrace.

To be honest, this was a pretty boring movie. The acting was ok but nobody really stood out. I know that he was supposed to be the “hero” in this movie but I honestly couldn’t find it in myself to really care about Gregg Palmer’s character, Jeff. Actually, I found myself not really caring about any of the characters as they felt too generic and had no real personality among them, even George and his greed. The story was interesting and I liked the idea of the zombies guarding the cursed diamonds but I felt like there could have been a better way of breaking the curse. I mean, obviously they couldn’t destroy the diamonds but scattering them at sea is just boring. Then we get to the end and Grandmother Peters simply dumps them out, fairly close to shore, and that supposedly stops the curse, which makes no since as someone could easily dive down and grab them. The effects were ok for the time but the pacing for everything was soo slow that you could fall asleep waiting for something to happen. If you need something to help you fall asleep, this is the perfect thing to use but I wouldn’t recommend watching it for anything else.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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