The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

July 21, 2012 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Usually, the third entry in a comic-book film trilogy is garbage compared to the first two installments. Christopher Nolan had a fairly difficult task in ending his Dark Knight trilogy with a film that sears to our core like the first two. How the “Legend ends”: The Dark Knight Rises starts off with Batman not being around for the past 8 years,  and Bruce Wayne being a recluse. A return to the black suit is elicited by the appearance of a professional thief named Cat Woman, and especially by the chaotic wrecking ball called Bane; however, Batman isn’t the same beast he used to be and his world has been crumbling for quite some time.

Christopher Nolan quarter-backed this film with bravado and soul. The script is as solid as Bane’s iron fist, with the story pulling beautifully from the comics in just the right places. Everything in this film wraps up the trilogy quite well, and is sure to leave most satisfied. For the most part, the pace is rather brisk for a film that’s nearly 3 hours long since the acting, script and Hans Zimmer’s amazing score move it along with sugar. The Dark Knight Rises is aesthetically pleasing, with a familiar cool blue tone and bleak, cold hues. In the action department, the third film is probably the better of the three. The bat-pod and the aerial vehicle simply known as “the Bat” are wonderful toys, and the fight scenes have been improved. Bane vs. Batman throw down in worthy fight scenes; yet, the best fights in the film are internal, as shown by the fantastic acting.

Christian Bale plays Batman/Bruce Wayne for the third time and he hasn’t lost his stride. Bale plays an older version of the caped crusader, one who has given up his entire life to helping a city that gives him nothing in return. Bruce Wayne is in conflict with himself to hang up his cape for good or to endure one last ride. We’ve seen Bruce Wayne evolve to become more than a man, becoming the Batman,  but now we get a chance to see Batman evolve to become more than a hero. Bale portrays Batman’s determination with a fire that can burn your guts.

The entire cast does an amazing job with their individual roles. First there’s Anne Hathaway, playing Selina Kyle/Cat Woman, a professional thief that’s smooth and fierce in her cons and beat downs. Hathaway is the perfect mixture of lethal and sexy, but she also manages to inject some humanity in her character, most times with just a bruised look. Next, there’s Tom Hardy playing Bane. Many will throws jokes around about his voice, but he has such a physically menacing swagger that it doesn’t matter half the time. Hardy acts through the mask very well, playing chaos in the form of a hulking terrorist. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also does an amazing job as young officer Blake, a man that continues to have hope, especially in Batman, when the cards are down. Out of all the supporting actors, Michael Caine as Alfred is the standout. Playing Alfred, the only family Bruce Wayne has, Caine gives a truly heartfelt performance that shatters your core. Caine as Alfred is perfect in the film.

In a world as dark as Gotham City, not too far away from our own backyard, hope creates heroes.  Batman is a symbol of hope fueled by fear. The Dark Knight Rises ends Nolan’s Batman trilogy with a satisfying cap that will race you through a prism of emotions, leaving you inspired to be the guy that does right in the world. This film captures why Batman has been relevant for decades: his spirit infects us with the strive to be him, to believe in hope, to be Batman in our own personal worlds.

Potential Drawbacks:

Let’s face it, Heath Ledger’s Joker is quite a difficult performance to top as a Batman villain. On top of that, the Joker is the most popular villain that Batman has faced. Tom Hardy does a great job with what he has to work with as Bane, but he just wasn’t memorable enough to leave a lasting impression. Bane’s voice may come off as comical to many viewers, and some may be irked by Bane’s mask limiting Hardy’s performance. The way he goes out isn’t too spectacular either.

Marion Cotillard felt uninspired. She has a pivotal role in the film, but she really doesn’t deliver. There’s no chemistry between Cotillard and Bale, and in a scene where she’s supposed to shine, she just falls short. Some may even find the scene laughable (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you watched it).

There are many odd moments where logic is thrown out the window for the baddies, but that just might be me picking at the film too much. Let’s just say guns aren’t used when they should be. There are also some parts that come off cliche, but they are forgivable. The final 20 minutes of the film cover for all the little drawbacks.

Film Recommendations:

Batman Begins

The Dark Knight







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