The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Review

3 Stars

The Dark Knight Rises has Bruce Wayne retired from being the vigilante super-hero Batman. His body beaten from years of donning the caped outfit and now he hobbles around with a cane. Eight years after taking the blame for Harvey Dent’s crimes, a new villain, Bane, has shown up and is preparing to take down Gotham once and for all. Luckily for Bruce Wayne and Batman he finds allies in a burglar/thief, Catwoman, and a beat-cop that’s just been promoted to detective, John Blake. Will Bruce be able to fill the costume one last time to stop Bane?

The third and final installment in Christopher Nolan’s now famous Batman trilogy is a good film, but not a great one. It does tie into the other two films, both in characters and more importantly in ideas. It definitely feels like the last in the series, trying to put a nice shiny bow on the top of the box. Unfortunately it suffers from many of the issues that the The Dark Knight had, and even exacerbates them in some instances.

Here we have another problem with the main villain overshadowing and stealing the show. That’s not to say that Bane is a problem per say, but he’s kind of too intriguing a character, and let’s face it, he’s just plain bad ass. I’d say I could watch a movie with him in the lead, but I’m not totally sure I just didn’t. This get’s even more problematic with the long stretches of complete absence of our main hero, Batman. Bane also gets all the cool stunts, where as Batman is portrayed as “out of practice”. There’s also a ton of characters in this flick, another hero/villain in Catwoman, then we still have Jim Gordon. And now we have John Blake, who essentially fills in for the screen time of both Batman and Gordon, who are both out of commission throughout the majority of the film.

Now I’d be really pissed off if all this wasn’t necessary for the plot to work. Yes, after all that complaining I’m going to admit that Jonathan and Christopher Nolan’s script is actually quite amazing. The intricate touches of ideas that arc back to Batman Begins and take us through The Dark Knight and then get twisted back through the current plot is rather incredible. The Nolan’s show no mercy to what the audience wants or expects from a Batman film, instead opting to give the plot and film the final say in what’s necessary to end this story. But alas, after growing such huge balls they’re promptly chopped off and left to whither away by an ending hampered with far too many twists, all of which are seen coming a hundred miles away, and by a need on some level to please the audience. Nolan doesn’t do simple, something David Goyer does much better in Batman Begins, but even with the overcomplicated plot and the unnecessary twists I never found myself bored during the 164 minute running time.

While in whole this film isn’t as good as its predecessors, there are scenes that are absolutely breath taking. From the opening plane hi-jack to the Bane beats Batman fight scene, this is a film that had me wondering just how far Nolan would go. After so many Marvel movies with their other worldly threats, it’s nice to see a human on human non-cartoony take on superheroes again. Even if this strongly suggests Gotham as New York and Bane and his crew as terrorists trying to blow up the city with a dirty nuclear device.

The Dark Knight Rises is a must see film, although not the definitive ending we were promised.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

3 thoughts on “The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Review

  • July 24, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I have not seen this movie yet, and I will probably wait to see it on DVD. I appreciate the review and am glad that you were honest about it being good but not great. But I have noticed when they make re makes of movies that were great, the next cannot live up to the first.

  • July 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    This was the film I have been waiting for over two years to see. It definitely met my expectations but did not exceed them. Trevor, I agree when you said “good but not great.”. I really liked that it takes place in a more realistic world, where events that took place could happen in real life.

    Maybe I am just more of a positive person but the first 3/4 of the movie is so negative. I felt like my jar was dropped and holding my breathe at the same time until Batman returned to Gotham towards the end. At least with the Dark Knight it had multiple points throughout the film of the heroes winning battles like Jim Gordon capturing the Joker or Batman with the trip to Asia.

    All in all I enjoyed every minute of it as much as I could knowing it would be Nolan’s last Batman firm. Although now that I think about it I kind of wish I didn’t know it would be his last before viewing. It might have made a better experience.

  • July 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I was never bored during the Dark Knight Rises. I found it to be an epic film with grand sets, sweeping vistas, massive catastrophe, and a cast of thousands (real and cgi, no doubt). Yet, I found the plot to be complicated–it worked–but there was too much going on. This might have been better as two films rather than one. Although I said that about the previous movie, the Dark Knight.

    I wanted to see more of Batman; I wanted to see more of Catwoman; I wanted to see more of Commissioner Gordon. I didn’t. Also, the movement of the timeline within the film irritated me. Hours, days, months went by between scenes without much warning or explanation of what happened. That could have generated enough storyline to further develop characters and add some great scenes. Hence they should have made two films instead of one long film.

    In addition, throughout the film, characters popped up out of nowhere just as they were needed. If Commissioner Gordon was stranded out in the desert in a life-and-death situation, suddenly Batman would appear and save the day. Convenient character appearance plagued this movie.

    Having said all that, the film has many good qualities. It plays like a drama in many respects, elevating it far above the young teenager mentality. It makes it a better film and increases its appeal to the mass audience. Disagree? Look at the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Green Hornet, or Green Lantern. They all featured paper thin characters with a script aimed at a Saturday morning cartoon audience. They all failed at the box-office. If only more studio heads would realize that elevating the intelligence level of these comic book movies (and many other genres for that matter) and shooting them as action dramas would make them better.

    In all, I’d give the Dark Knight Rises three out of four stars.


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