Skyfall, the 23rd entry into the James Bond film franchise, had a rough development initially, due to MGM’s bankruptcy. More than that, though, it followed the comparatively poorly-received Quantum of Solace. Skepticism abounded after rumors of Bond forgoing a medium dry vodka martini for Heineken. What was Sam Mendes thinking? But thankfully (so, so thankfully), Skyfall is another entry into the core Bond canon, one that understands and respects the character and franchise’s lineage as it goes forward.
James Bond was created out of Ian Fleming’s military experience as a superman to fight the Russians on the stage of popular culture. He is the quintessential secret agent, defined as much by his tastes and his proclivities as his actions. The tuxedo, the martinis, the women and the quips; these are James Bond in the same way Connery or Moore or anyone else is. It’s the trappings of the story that capture our imagination. The sexy, smooth secret agent fighting the bad guys.
It’s kind of hard to talk about The Dark Knight Rises without the context of the rest of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, and the reaction to them. Nolan’s hyper-realisitc take on the Batman mythos began with Batman Begins, but it was the 2008 sequel The Dark Knight which received widespread critical acclaim, in large part for the late Heath Ledger’s gripping portrayal of Batman’s nemesis the Joker. Personally, I believe that The Dark Knight is a good movie which is largely carried by Ledger and Aaron Eckhart’s (Two-Face) performances. However, I think it’s reached a level of deification among fans that it doesn’t deserve, and I wasn’t hugely excited for TDKR, since it lacked the elements which drew me to The Dark Knight.
BOY, was I wrong. The Dark Knight Rises is phenomenal, a fitting end to the series which ties elements of Batman Begins to themes explored in The Dark Knight, while simultaneously adapting and homaging a number of seminal Batman storylines. It’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t seen it, since historically the execution of a lot of these things has faltered. But as far as I’m concerned, TDKR tops The Dark Knight. Let’s take a look at why. (Mild spoilers ahead. Nothing too terrible, but don’t read if you want to go in completely cold.)
I’ve seen The Cabin in the Woods twice now, and I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. As most of you are probably aware, it relies heavily on the audience being unaware of a lot of the elements going in (I’d say “twists,” but that’s not exactly what’s going on here, at least not in the usual M. Night Shyamalan sense). Most reviews have focused on broad strokes, giving a rough appraisal without spoiling anything. I think that’s good, but I’m also interested to hear what people thought of specific elements and choice the film made.
Thus, I’m posting a recap/discussion of some of the elements of the film. Obviously, it’s going to involve spoilers. If you haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods yet, stop reading this and go out and see it. Don’t read any other reviews, don’t even watch the trailer, just see it. It’s not really very scary, and it’s definitely worth seeing. You won’t really have much of an opinion or anything to discuss regarding what I’m about to say if you haven’t seen it.
So seriously, spoilers ahead. Don’t read unless you’ve seen it.