Average User Score: 8.4Jul 20, 2012Underwhelming. The Dark Knight Rises had a lot to live up to with the superb previous two movies and it simply doesn't. I don't want to knock this film for not being the previous two though, that'd be hard given how staggering the Joker was in the last movie, but as a film in itself it just isn't that spectacular. First the good; some of the characters are excellently portrayed. Bane in particular was fantastic, both built like the proverbial brick privvy but educated sounding and melancholy, although it's hard as hell to hear him at times. Catwoman was also very good and most of the regulars in general, though this in itself seemed to make Bruce Wayne/Batman seem somewhat sidelined. The visual were good and clear with nice scenery and the like, special effects not being too over the top and so forth. The ending (what we've all realistically been yearning for) was a mixed bag and that leads me onto the weaker aspects. The road to the ending was ridiculously convoluted. The plot is jarring and it felt at points that my suspended disbelieve had been hanged from the neck until dead and hung from a skyscapper. Gaping plot holes present themselves as the story weaves and back tracks and slides from here to there with a few unsubtly placed references that will no doubt crop up later in some significant way. Hey! Hey! You see this thing? Notice how we are mentioning it now?!
So convoluted is the plot that it makes a review hard because I don't want to give much away for the folks who want to see this movie. Allegiances change and new villians crop up so much I gave up trying to understand their motives and just waited for the finale. The final twist regarding characters almost made me facepalm and mutter to myself 'seriously?'. In short, with out giving it away, Bane is the big villian who wants to use a doomsday weapon on Gotham (you've all seen the trailer with the stadium, don't pretend you haven't). But the way he goes about this evil genius plan is just bizarre and left me questioning who the hell is actually running Gotham? From bizarre police tactics, to a lack of massive fire outbreaks (earthquakes = gas line ruptures) to the outside world just going 'meh' at tense situation, plus a utterly weird mechanic for forcing the plot resolution, the film veers from silly to stupid amidst long stretches of not really very much happening. I was actually a tad bored about an hour in for a few minutes and when the action did resume my brow was knotted with disbelieve. I think in particular to a scene with police versus baddies in a scene not unlike the film Zulu with regards to firepower. What ensues just doesn't make sense but provides a wonderful showdown for the heroes/villains. And while the acting is one of the strongest ponits of the film (with a genuinely touching scene with alfred and bruce wayne) some of it is just hacky and truly 2D. There's even some special cameo's which instead of making me more excited, as they should, actually gave me the impression the film was just trying to hard to fit every significant character in. Appart from the tragically dead ones, of course. And then there was the ending. I can't say a great deal without spoiling this and I wouldn't want to do that, but then that's the point. Put it like this; a film is about the journey, not the ending. If I spoilt the ending the film wouldn't seem that worth it. The sixth sense, by comparison, you might think that the progression of the story was enough that even knowing the ending (he's dead. If you didn't know it by now, shame on you), you still were taken on a journey by the film. The DKR didn't feel like that. At first I was angry (Batman being my favourite superhero), but then I thought, no, it's a brave way to end things that Mr Nolan's done and I respect that, I respect that he's taken this, probably unpopular, path to conculude the story and that he's- on now wait he hasn't after all. Hey!! Remember that thing we kept shoving in your face!!! Surprise! Even the tying up of the loose ends sadly seemed a little forced and unsubtly, leaving an overall bad feeling in my mouth, washed down with now flat cola. Pros: Some excellent actors for roles of Bane, Catwoman, Alfred, Blake and Gordon.
Good special effects.
Good scenery and cinemtography.
An attempt at a unique and unorthodox ending to a superhero trilogy.
Some dodgy acting and bad voice work, especially for mumble mumble Bane.
Ridiculously convoluted plot.
Gaping and fatal plot holes (five month old sweaty cops anyone?)
Not enough balls to go through with the supposed ending to make a unique film.
Overal a rather sad 5/10 (would be 6, but I don't want this showing up as a green).
P.S. To those that have seen this and are reading reviews to justify their own opinions (we all do it), speeds of over 360 mph would be needed for the ending, right? Yeah, right.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.5Dec 3, 2011I was almost shocked by the stream of 100 reviews by critics, which the more I think about the less I like. I'll try to be fair and line up the points in its favour first then more onto the more disappointing. In its favour, Hugo carries a strong cast with (albeit brief) roles by Jude Law, Christopher Lee, the pleasantly surprising Sacha Baron Cohen as well as the superb Ben Kingsley and Annoymous Child Actor with Sparkling Blue Eyes. Y'see, I've already slipped into the negative because there's so many of them. Director Scorsese doesn't seem to be able to focus on Child Actor with Sparkling Blue Eyes (hereby referred to as CASBE) without an overly long and rather blunt focus on his sapphire blue eyes. Thus starts a long stream of the film throwing what it wants you to think in your face in a blunt and unconvincing manner. He's an innocent child, it screams, can't you see that, in his blue-blue eyes! Ahem, back to the good. The setting of the film is spectacular, beautiful even. We are pleasured optically with panoramas of early 1930's Paris bedecked in a powdering of snow, lit in the evenings by twinkling lights and a few obvious landmarks like l'Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, just to make sure you're absolutely sure it's Paris because amazingly NO-ONE, except Christopher Lee's line "Mousieur Cabret," sound even remotely French. Okay, we can forgive that, back to the good things. A lot of money has clearly been put into backdrops and extras; the train station in which most of the film is set is bustling with hundreds of Parisian folk about their business, crushingly busy at points (like during chases) but fortunately empty at others (like when extended dialogue takes place). Maybe Parisian's were more polite in the 1930's than they are now. There's a few moments that may make you laugh, mostly with comedy relief Cohen, but they were few and far between for me. Right, is that the good stuff done? Recap, imagery, some actors, a few laughs. So much for Hugo as a good film, now for it as a monster....
The film's so God-awfully slow as to be painful. In a world of high octane films that demand attention through sheer eye popping explosiony goodness, it's nice to slow the pace, it really is, but not this far. I was bored by mid-way, checking my watch for the first time in a film in years. Each scene is staggered out with long dramatic pauses that drag on and on. My hopes were high in the extended introductory scene where a chase with Cohen, the unlikable and awkward station inspector, pursues CASBE through a throng of Parisians. Just as I'm thinking "ooo, this is fun" WHAM, it slows down again to a snails pace and becomes brooding and dark, which gives me another impression; this films doesn't know what it wants and so has a pot shot at everything. Rather than stick with a theme, it veers chaotically from tragic, comedic, philosophical, romantic, like it's on a runaway locomotive ploughing into a Parisian station.... The thing that annoyed the most, beyond the agonisingly slow pace and the butterfly plot, the thing that really got to me more than anything was how demanding this film is. Now I don't mean demanding in terms of complexity, God no. I mean demanding in what it asks of you in a manner almost as petulant as CASBE when he follows child acting school rule 17, "Act Shocked When Accused" and snarls that he's not a thief when anyone even vaguely implies a five finger discount being taken. This films DEMANDS how you feel about characters while providing so little background to them that to call them two dimensional in within serious risk of being overstating them. He's an orphan, roars the film, you HAVE to feel sorry for him! He's a sad old man, can't you see that? Aren't we making it clear enough how you should feel!? Every character that we are meant to empathise with has so little back story, or such a limited back story, that it makes it almost impossible to feel anything for them. The backstory that pads out Kingsley's character is given in one large chunk right at the end of the movie and I actually found this quite engaging as it allowed me to appreciate the character I wasn't allowed to feel anything for. Every time another character tries to peek into the bubble each character has around themselves they're rebused with almost the same petulance as CASBE along the lines of "I don't want to talk about it". The only character that gave any inkling into their motives was surprisingly the unlikeable Inspector, Cohen offering the touching line almost as an apology of his disability to the girl of his desires. In that brief conversation more was giving about one character than most of the others in the entire film. In short, appalling pacing, almsot non-existent character development and a waste of good actors do not make up for pretty settings and facing graphics. Let's not even talk about the 3D.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.0Nov 14, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A rather mundane way to waste a couple of hours. This film reeks of average content, average scripting and (mostly) average acting. That's not to say it's bad, it's not not good in any real way. Certainly the action scenes (which we all are watching it for, lets face it) can be quite good, but those that are are unfulfilling in their length. A great deal has been said about Immortals comparison to 300, well of that film it falls far short, but the lineage of this bastard son is notable in the attempt at the slow motion visceral combat scenes. Yet somehow director Singh has managed to take all the slickness and clarity out of these scenes. In the predictable final battle, after a rather lacklustre pep-talk by main character Theseus, the melee is so confusion and the colours so drab that its very difficult to see exactly what is going on and whose doing what. Not that you'd care much; the characters of this film are all pretty mundane and without intrigue, popping off a couple of cliched lines occasionally and then dying appropriately as the drama demands. You have Theseus, the main protagonist who has a rather worrying relationship with his mother and that's about all there is to distinguish him. He blathers a bit about faith and the lack of faith (a running theme), but it's so irrelevant to the overall plot you can pretty much disregard it. There's Phaedra, the virgin oracle who doesn't remain so very long (here the film is similar to 300 in its gratuitous and pointless sex scene, although not as funny as 300). Then there's, for me, the one true highlight of the film, the "evil" king Hyperion, played by Mickey Rourke. Rourke is by far the strongest character of the film and I actually found myself rooting for him more and more; he had a game plan, set morals and didn't seem like a piece of wet tissue paper like a lot of the other characters. I genuinely hoped he would win in the end (he didn't, this is Hollywood after all). Another stronger point is the battle sequences of the gods, which are fast and viceral, though too short to be really satisfying. Watching what one of them splatter bad guy head with a hammer in slow motion was pretty fun. But tragically that's about it, the greek gods, who are dressed in bizarre garish gold costumes something akin to a French perfum advert, are pretty anonymous - the only way to tell Poseidon appart from Zeus is that he's holding a trident. I'm sore pressed to say who the other two gods were, possibly Apollo? Maybe Helios? Perhaps Whocares, god of weak character development? Athena, who is actually named, seems a bit of bimbo and quite pathetic, rather than the strong willed, stubborn goddess of wisdom and war she's meant to be. But, like all other characters in this film, even the gods are just there as padding until their dramatic deaths (I did tick the "spoiler" box). Of course only a Titan (whom Hyperion is attempting to free to bring about a new world order or something....) can do it. I bet they're massive! I hear you cry. Well no, they're not titanic, ahem, they're more like the savages from the Decent and plastered in grey mud, then they die like Hollywood vampires by crumbling into dust, much like my interest at this point. All that isn't bad, it's just not good, it's weak but its palatable. It's average but its not terrible. What's really bad about the film is little irritating stupidities that make no sense whatsoever. It might just be me, but Phaedra drinking from pool of water in the least efficient way possible (holding her hand vertically so that no water is actually retained) and then dribbling water from her own lips into Theseus' was just ridiculous. The misuse of actors like John Hurt who had so much more potential. The random sea of oil that has no function to the plot whatsoever. The knife wound that Theseus receives in the end but doesn't stop him - at least Maximus in Gladiator had the good grace to die after such a wound. The village that is undefendable despite the fact that its only obvious entrance is a narrow corridor cut into the stone of the cliffs themselves - as we all know, small narrow corridors are totally undefensible unless manned by half naked Greeks... oh wait. These things and others just pander to ridiculous pointless features that are there as padding for an empty film with barely enough strength of character to stand up on its own. I suspect the lifetime of this film is slightly less than its title puports.
P.S. I really do wish Hyperion had won in the end, at least I felt like he had put the hard work in.… Expand