Of Bats And Clones

Following the first time I saw Man of Steel, the friend I was staying with for vacation, suggested that we watched the Dark Knight trilogy to stay on a DC Comics rampage. While I held little to no interest in anything Batman, I accepted as I had only seen bits and pieces of any adaptation of that comics. Even though I like Christian Bale as an actor, I didn’t try the trilogy, even after how so many said the second installation, the Dark Knight, was one of the best movies in cinema history. So, I sat through the three movies and overall enjoyed myself, which was a surprise.

Yet, I realized that the one I liked least was The Dark Knight. It is a good movie, there are great action and character moments, but I just wasn’t invested in that movie as I was in the others. I liked Batman Begins best as I love seeing the beginning and all the history behind why Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman. I loved the impression of world building in it, and how a man discovers his true potential. I also can admit that Liam Neeson really impressed me as Henri Ducard, though he tends to do that in about any movie I’ve seen him in. Then comes The Dark Knight Rises. I wasn’t so much a fan of the movie at first, but I really enjoy how it turned out in the end and the second part of that last film would be my favorite. I love many things in all three movies, but I also have some issues all the same, so picking them up in an order wasn’t obvious at first.

I have to admit that besides Bale’s portrayal of Wayne/Batman, my favorite aspects of the trilogy are anything to do with the following three characters and actors: Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). I think that those were the characters who made me really engaged in the story, including how their relationships with Bruce Wayne/the Batman. There was a lot of character and emotional depth in my view. I tip my hat to those four actors for they can be thanked for the fact I sat through three Batman movies without watching my watch. I actually do want to rewatch the movies now that know the story, to see all those relations pan out again. I would really go back and even maybe take notes as to be able to write more at length about those four characters.

A word on the female characters. I overall think that the three main female characters presented (Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Selina Kyle and Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises) are strong and layered women, each in her own way. I find it interesting that while they all have ties to Bruce Wayne, they still have their own personality and story. It empower them in the story and allow them for better development. I admit that I discovered that Katie Holmes could actually be a good actress in Batman Begins (even though I prefer Maggie Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Rachel in the second movie). I think Rachel is my favorite female character out of the three, mostly due to the portrayal. I really like Anne Hathaway as an actress, and I like the character of Selina Kyle, but sadly enough, Hathaway didn’t really do it for me as Selina. I really wanted to love her in that part, but it just didn’t happen. There was something amiss for me, though I can’t really say what so far. As for Marion Cotillard as Tahlia, I mostly liked her when she was revealed as Tahlia. As ‘Miranda’ I found her not so interesting, and in quite a few early scenes, it really felt as if Cotillard was just watching herself play, which has been an issue I’ve had with her for the past few years.

So, I’m still not a big Batman fan, but I’m nevertheless willing to rewatch that trilogy at some point, and I might even consider checking the older movies out of curiosity (although I know they are very different in style). Speaking of style, I now really think that I prefer Zack Snyder as a director than Christopher Nolan, although I think that Nolan is very talented. I know that the two are often compared, but I tend to immerse better in Snyder’s movies, even when I had issues with parts of some.

To finish on a (very) different note, I’d like to say a couple of things on what I finished watching yesterday: Star Wars: The Clone Wars second season. I am very much behind with that show, as with others. At least, it means I still have piles of TV shows to catch up with and don’t risk running out of episodes to watch anytime soon. I originally had little interest in the series, but went to see the movie on the big screen anyway, when it came out in 2008. That had won me over, and I had watched the first season on DVD as soon as it came out. The first season was like any first season: it needed time to build the show, even though it was in a large universe of reference. So there were ups and downs in the first season, though it really picked up towards the last part. So I was expecting much of the second season and I wasn’t disappointed. Not only it is ‘real’ Star Wars to me, but I love seeing not only main characters from the movies, but having the time to see others develop (for example seeing Jedi Luminara Unduli on a semi regular basis is a real treat).

Now I really want to catch up with seasons three to five. I got bits of spoilers in between, but it can be hard not to get any when you fall behind on TV shows. This show has a really gorgeous design in my view, and the dialogs are priceless. I bow to the voice acting that is really amazing and giving justice to all characters, from original ones to famous ones such as Obi-Wan and Mace Windu. Being able to see so many more female characters developped as well (starting with Asohka Tano of course) also adds to making the show ‘true Star Wars‘ as I consider strong female characters one of the trademarks and strengths of the universe created by George Lucas.

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