I first watched Batman Begins during the build up to The Dark Knight’s release, and came away really unimpressed. I found the film too cold, rather dull and plodding. So with the hype machine in full effect once again, this time for The Dark Knight Rises, I thought I’d give it another go, and I’m pleased I did.
Overall there is much to admire about Nolan’s first Batman film. Firstly, it’s beautifully shot and has some stunning action sequences. Most of the cast give great performances, Bale as the eponymous hero did a brilliant job of showing the many different sides to Bruce Wayne, in particular I enjoyed the almost Patrick Bateman- esque edge he displayed at times while out in public: acting like a cocky and entitled prick, chucking money about with little thought. While at other times he gave a glimpse at a more vulnerable side, especially in the scenes showing the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred which were quite touching at times. Although they don’t get much screen time, I really enjoyed Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy as the villains of the piece. Murphy in particular did a great job despite being given very little to do.
There were still a few problems; the pacing feels a little off at times and I thought some of the storylines didn’t get explored fully; Tom Wilkinson as the local mob boss never really had an air of menace to him and felt sorely underdeveloped; Katie Holmes was a bit of a blank slate, doing little to interest me in her character; there were a few clunky exposition heavy lines of dialogue and the attempts at humour mostly fell flat. But in the end I’m glad I gave it another chance as I’m left with a much better impression this time.