Review – The Dark Knight Rises

                 Rating = ★★★    Tagline = High Matinee

The Dark Knight Rises has been highly anticipated ever since the credits rolled in The Dark Knight back in 2008. Nolan delivered two masterpieces and set the bar high for superhero movies in general. Both the first two movies are favorites of mine – would be in my top one hundred. While this never falls, it doesn’t rise. Before you stop reading in anger, let me just say right off the bat, I liked it a good deal. It just falls flat in comparison to the rest of the trilogy. I actually put off this review, so I could see this three times. You know when you try so hard to love a movie, but you can’t? That is the case for me here. A spot was reserved in my best of the year list just for The Dark Knight Rises. Story, plot holes, script, direction, all lacking. It’s good and entertaining. However, its quality has been plagued with the ruthless last of the trilogy disease.

It has been eight years since the Joker incident and the death of Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) leading to Batman’s sacrifice to take the fall and appear as a villain. That sacrifice seems to have paid off, peace has been present throughout that time. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has remained in solute inside his mansion; shut out to the world. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) was left to handle all the affairs of Wayne industries. The peace comes to an unfortunate end when Bane (Tom Hardy) – a ruthless mercenary – arrives with a plan to bring the city of Gotham to ashes. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and rookie cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are the only police offers on the case. With Batman being away for so long, does he have what it takes to take down Bane; the major question, however, does he even want to?

So much speculation about what direction the story would go has been tossed around for an extremely long time. I looked into it a bit; for the most part, though, I tried my hardest to say away from the talk. Honestly, my worries about spoilers all vanished after I finished it. It went in a different direction that I saw some aspects of, but certainly not all. Some elements of it were great, but others weren’t. I’m not going to go in an ample amount of detail because all my problems would venture in spoiler territory. I’m going to list in briefly some of my problems. Something happens in the end that discredits Bane; deaths aren’t handled that well, different plot should have been used and many plot holes in the plot they choose to run with. The screenplay is solid overall. As far as dialog goes, it was good. A few lines were great – some of Micheal Cane’s lines in the beginning and even as implausible as the information may be; the first encounter between Bruce and John. I also like the interaction between Commissioner Gordon and John Blake; they worked well together.

Bale is out of the suit more and he shines.

The acting is great and has been a strong point throughout the whole trilogy. I’ve heard people say Christian Bale is the worst aspect of the trilogy; I strongly disagree. He’s acted well and is up there with the best to ever play Batman. More acting without the mask takes place in this one, and he completely sells you on the character of Bruce Wayne. Anne Hathaway didn’t seem like a good fit for the role of Catwoman – a mistake on my part. She was expertly cast. Every aspect needed to pull it off is played almost to perfection. Tom Hardy doesn’t get to show off acting cops per say, but can be intimating all day long. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is solid. I liked the subtly he added to a couple of his lines. Gary Oldman is a phenomenal actor and is given some drama to work with. I didn’t expect anything less than what he injected into the role. What really gives the movie heart is Micheal Cane; his delivery is pure gold. Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman were fine, but wasted in the sense that they can do loads more.

Christopher Nolan has never made a bad movie in his entire career. I haven’t found all of his great; The Prestige is a tad overrated. It was good, but it’s relatively high-up on IMDB 250. It doesn’t belong on a list of that nature. His most underrated would be Insomnia – people tend not to mention it when you bring up Nolan’s movies. Inception, The Dark Knight and Memento are masterpieces that are marvelously constructed. What a great compliment can be taken away for saying this is one of his worst. It’s still really good; this guy couldn’t do wrong if he wanted to. One problem with the direction I had is how the fight scenes were handled. Batman’s unique fighting style is apparent in the previous ones – here it’s like watching Rocky. Bane and Batman just box each other. I understand he was injured, but wouldn’t that warrant more use of his technology than just dropping it completely? Many small problems would pop up to where I would actually notice in the direction column.

The look of the movie is the best thing. I’m against 3D so I didn’t see The Dark Knight Rises in 3D. Some people say it was great, can’t comment on that though. Attention to detail to the visual aspect was incredible. I’ve heard rumors of a reboot or sequel not directed by Nolan or staring Bale – my mind canceled that thought right out. I can only hope nothing of that nature happens, at least not in the next few years. Nolan’s Batman trilogy completed into one awesome tale. Eventually, I’ll own this. People love Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; it’s flawed but as a whole gives a satisfying conclusion. The exact same thing can be said in this case – man, I hope I don’t get any death threats over this.

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8 thoughts on “Review – The Dark Knight Rises

  1. Good Review but got to debate some points. First The Prestige an excellent film its in Nolan’s top five and it is definitely good enough to be on a list with 249 other films. Second you mentioned the fighting, in the first two films you barely get any fighting and in Batman Begins you can barely even see the fighting. In Rises you finally get to see some good fight scenes, remember Batman wanted to fight Bane hand to hand to show that he has the skills to take on someone like Bane. When he is losing the fight he tries to use some of his weapon tactics and it couldn’t phase Bane. Now let me state that the first two films were excellent and the third does not drop the ball. Batman Begins surprised all of us on how good it was since we didn’t have a live Batman film in years, The Dark Knight was built by one actor and character and in The Dark Knight Rises we get one big epic film with great acting from the whole cast including Hathaway. I’m saying it got better with each film. Now Rises does have its flaws but so does the other two. For most people their expectations were so high and its hard to say anything is better than the The Dark Knight, that is why I think Rises doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Sorry its long comment but I just had to.

  2. Your review was solid, and I really loved both your first and final sentences, but I can’t help feeling so forlorn as I read it. I had a great time with The Dark Knight Rises. I went and saw it along with the same two friends with whom I saw The Amazing Spider-Man (I’m sure we can both agree this one’s the better superhero film), and although my friends seemed to enjoy it a bit less than me, we all had a great time. Of course, it’s not as mind-blowing as the predecessor, but talk about a great way to end a trilogy.

  3. “Something happens in the end that discredits Bane, deaths aren’t handled that well”. I agree, those things bothered me (also Cotillard’s super fake-looking death scene). But overall, Iliked this one, even if it pales in comparison to The Dark Knight. I agree on Hathaway. Didn’t think she could pull off Catwoman. I’m glad she proved me wrong.

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