Movie Review – The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring Christian Bale, Anne hathaway, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Morgan Freeman.

Backstory

Like a lot of folks, I really enjoyed The Dark Knight and was wondering where they were going to go next. And then, reading about the development of the Dark Knight Rises, it was like Christopher Nolan read my mind when it came to villains for this sequel. After The Dark Knight, when most of my friends and I were debating with villain we’d like to see in the sequel, many scoffed when I said I’d like to see Bane. But, for the more realistic take that Nolan was bringing to the Batman films, Bane was a perfect choice. I could see them taking a similar approach to The Animated Series, where Bane was portrayed as a super-strong and super-smart South American hitman, brought in my Gotham’s organized crime to take care of this Batman problem once and for all. Just replace his strength-enhancing drug Venom with plane ol’ steroids, and you’d be set. And of course, Catwoman was high on my short list of villains, too, if only because Catwoman deserves better than that Halle Berry movie from a few years ago. But I was cautious as well. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from film trilogies, the third one is always the trickiest, as the director struggles to bring things to a satisfying conclusion.

Plot

The film takes place eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. In order to become “the hero that Gotham deserves” and make a martyr out of Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne retired from being Batman. This seems to have worked, as Gotham City soon passed a new tough-on-crime bill known as “The Dent Act” and crime in Gotham is at all-time low. Things aren’t good for Bruce Wayne, though. Still mourning the loss of his lady love Rachael Dawes, Bruce Wayne has become a recluse in Wayne Manor. But then, one night, Bruce Wayne stumbles across a cat burglar named Selina Kyle breaking into his vault and stealing the Wayne family jewels. A young cop named John Blake then swings by the manor, to report that Commissioner Gordon has been attacked by a ruthless mercenary named Bane, who has set up shop in Gotham City. All of this is enough to shake Bruce Wayne out of his funk, and soon, Batman is patrolling the streets once again. What is Bane’s master plan? Will Batman be able to rise to the challenge and once again be the hero that Gotham deserves?

What I Liked

I really liked this film. It’s not as good as The Dark Knight, but it’s a good end to this trilogy. In a way, it’s more like a sequel to Batman Begins, as it mainly focuses on and addresses the loose ends from that film. I know some are upset that the Joker wasn’t even acknowledged in this film. But let’s be honest. Any mention of the Joker would bring up awkward questions as to where he is and what became of him, so the filmmakers took the easy way and chose to ignore him completely. This portrayal of Bane was really good. I see there’s been this desire to create an “anti-Batman” in the comics…a character with a similar origin, but winds up on the wrong side of the law. It really seems like they tried to make Bane into an “anti-Batman,” and it works. His master plan is highly unique, and in seeing it play out, I think their main inspiration this time out was the classic Batman arc No Man’s Land. And in the final sound mix, Bane ends up sounding quite a bit like Destro from the old G.I. Joe cartoon. Anne Hathaway made a really good Catwoman. She knows how slink and sex it up, but also knows when it’s time to turn off the charm and be ruthless. I should also mention that, while they never refer to her as “Catwoman” in the film, there’s always an extra emphasis that she’s a “cat” burglar. And, truth be told, there’s actually not much of Batman in the film, but the few times he does show up, it makes him seem all the more heroic. Oh, and since the Scarecrow was always my favourite Batman villain, thank you, Nolan, for putting him in all your Batman films.

What I Didn’t Like

At 2 hours and 45 minutes, it is the longest Batman film, and you feel it. I found myself checking my watch halfway through. In a way, there are a few too many characters, and they really could have scaled it back a bit.

Final Assessment

I, personally, didn’t find it to be as good as The Dark Knight, but it’s thoroughly entertaining nonetheless and a great end to Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

3.5 Nibs

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