Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are awesome.
That’s employing the traditional definition, not its watered down modernisation.
They inspire awe in those fortunate enough to experience them.
In their brains, like.
Alas, they’re not beyond reproach. Mesmerised by the themes, acting, invention, photography, and meticulous attention to detail, most seem oblivious to the fact Nolan’s
action never truly stands out.
It never pops.
Ironic considering Batman
is almost exclusively defined by his penchant for popping the elbow, shoulder and knees joints of Gotham’s criminals...
Nolan Speaking conservatively,what follows should be The Best Thing In Recorded History! Enlarge
needs assistance with his Set Pieces. He needs a Second Unit.
But famously, he’s against ‘em. So don’t expect to see Yuen Woo Ping
credited for the action this time!
And with The Dark Knight Rises
gliding into cinemas in mere days, is it too late for anything but prayer to The Bat himself for improvement?Editing
has showcased a somewhat limited capacity to fix past missteps. Batman Begins
was a mess of choppily edited action shot at obscure, frustrating angles. Think Bruce Wayne’s prison brawl or Batman
League of Shadows assassins.
It’s not so much a case of ‘Show, don’t tell’.
More a case of ‘Please, for the love of God, show something.’
Improvement was indeed shown in the 2008 follow up, notably Batman’s
opening confrontation with the Russian and the mid-film Batpod sequence. Far from perfect but definitely upgraded.Choreography
Will this be better in your mind's eye or on the big screen?... Enlarge
A hybrid martial art known as the Keysi Fighting Method made its cinematic debut in 2005’s Batman Begins.
Did anyone actually notice?!
KFM is a distinctive style with sharp elbows, vibrant motion and serious visual flair. Despite this, Nolan’s Batman
still looks like he’s apathetically swatting thugs with armoured gauntlets.
A hero defined as much by martial prowess as a keen mind, sadly the Dark Knight’s combat stylings are, at best, pedestrian. Not only do Batman Begins
and The Dark Knight
fail to showcase KFM, they lack rhythm, aggression and are hampered by a refusal to employ dynamic long shots.
My expectations aren’t stratospheric here. I’m not asking for THE RAID!
But with a duo of Batman
vs. Bane confrontations on the boil, here’s hoping between them choreographer Buster Reeves
and Chris Nolan
can craft fight scenes worthy of a character so punchy, he insists guns are for weak little babies!SpectacleNolan’s
most noteworthy area of expertise, he typically enjoys props for his use of practical effects. But why employ real-world (arguably more expensive – he blew up an actual parking lot last time!) methods unless they WOW
The thrill of spectacle should be genuine, not merely impressive due to its practical nature. Too many of Nolan’s
stunts, gun battles and chase scenes just stumble onscreen, with no vigour, no energy, nothing to distinguish them from the wall to wall dialogue which precede them.
But he’s certainly honing this particular skill.
No-one can doubt the energy of The Dark Knight’
s Truck Flip or the raw excitement as the tumbler rams the garbage truck into the underpass roof!
And so there remains hope for July 20th plus all the collapsing football fields, missile dodging and pitched mob battles it brings!
For a filmmaker who nails the bulk of his craft, it’s a damn shame the IDEA
of Christopher Nolan’s
action sequences so outmatch the finished product. It’s too early to tell whether or not the concluding verse to his Batman epic
will suffer the same Knightfalls
to the occasion.
Let’s hope for the action Gotham deserves, but not the action it needs right now....or something along those lines...