MOVIE REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes! Rise, rise, rise!

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is being called one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Folding the Batman mythos into the world of global terrorism and corruption allowed Nolan to ground Batman in reality.

Batman Begins was about the man behind the cowl, Bruce Wayne. The Dark Knight was about Batman as a symbol. The Dark Knight Rises was about… Bruce Wayne again?

The movie takes place eight years after the close of the previous film where Batman (Christian Bale) took the blame for Harvey Dent’s death and disappeared. Gotham was at peace.

The Dent Act was passed allowing the police of Gotham to arrest criminals easier and quicker. (kind of like the Bat-Patriot Act).

Bruce Wayne lives in seclusion in the mansion’s east wing. During one of the mansions many parties, Bruce catches a maid (Anne Hathaway) breaking into his family’s personal safe. She stole his mother’s necklace and dusted the safe for fingerprints.

This incident gets Bruce thinking. His detective skills kick in and Alfred (Michael Caine) catches Bruce in the Batcave for the first time in eight years. The incident leads to the return of Batman much to Alfred’s dismay.

The more Bruce digs, the more Alfred thinks he is signing his own death warrant. Bruce’s investigation leads to monstrous force known as BANE (Tom Hardy) who is connected to the League of Shadows and Ra’s Al Ghul (Liam Neeson). Bane is in Gotham to finish what Al Ghul couldn’t finish. But first Bane must break the Bat!

Can Batman takedown Bane and save Gotham once again? What is Bane’s master plan? Who is Bane? Can Bruce Wayne ever hang up the cowl permanently?

Director Christopher Nolan created a Batman universe that fanboys and mass audiences could get into. There was a reason to cheer for Batman and not only because he’s a cultural icon.

The two previous entries in the trilogy showed us unique and interesting turns in Batman. This seems lost with the third film.

The Dark Knight Rises’s running time is nearly three hours and it felt longer.

The film includes a long drawn out prison sequence, which we not only witnessed a similar one in the first film but in countless other films before it. This whole subplot is boring as stink.

Then there is Bane’s terrorism of the city, blowing up whole city blocks and stadiums as well as threatening what is left with a nuclear bomb.

This is all the same plan as the Joker except well the bomb. Another city crippled by a nuke threat? Really? How contrived.

In lots of ways, it feels like this movie was an after thought and Nolan got lazy. His cleverness and arrogance in his film’s craftsmanship seems lost. This is kind of hysterical but this movie basically reminded me a lot of Rocky 3. Clubber Lang (Mr T) calls Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) a chicken and asks for his shot at the title. And if he doesn’t he is going to make his life a living hell. Bane does the same thing to Batman. We have seen this story a million times. The bully and the wimp.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of interesting moments but I truly believe there is more Goyer here this time than Nolan. For fanboys, we will love the infamous “break the bat scene”. We’ll love seeing the cameos. Guessing just how many famous Batman stories are weaved into this flick. Anne Hathaway in that catsuit. Oh and those big geek reveals.

My three favorite parts of the movie are Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s John Blake.

I loved each of these characters. I wanted to see more of Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman.

This Catwoman is the perfect embodiment of what the modern version of the character is in the comics today. I’d even pay to see a spin-off prequel with her character.

Oldman’s Gordon has always been the soul of the trilogy and even more so here. He rises to the occasion and I loved every scene.

JGL’s Blake is a welcome addition to the trilogy and what happens with Blake post-Batman would be interesting to explore.

Each of these actors for me steal their scenes and shine in their perspective roles.

I had hoped for more from Nolan. He is a craftsman and it is like he forgot half of his tools. The trilogy is still solid and the ending is something we all have to witness. But like many trilogies before it, if the second film is unforgettable then it is a hard act to follow. Examples of trilogies where the second film is the best: Star Wars, Star Trek, Spider-Man, Superman, Alien, Rocky, Terminator and Rambo.

It will be interesting to see if they continue on in this universe or reboot. Personally what I want to see next is another reinvention. Bring out the detective in the caped crusader. Spin the film into a mystery that has been at the heart of Gotham for over a century. Bring on the Court of Owls.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

2 thoughts on “MOVIE REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

  1. While my favourite still remains the second film, I feel you’re being a bit too harsh in making it a parallel to the third Spider-Man. The Dark Knight Rises does have its automatic moments, the isolation of the city being the prime example of this, something from Nolan that was disappointing. But the magnificent performances of those around Batman (I’d add Michael Caine to your list) partially made up for it, along with the tying up of some loose ends, something rarely seen in series, let alone the last film. What bothers me more is how the main news media are trying to force opinions even more than usual by touting stuff like “the greatest trilogy of all time” and such baffegarb. Last I checked, time isn’t over yet, and your mileage may vary.

    At least we’re spared Toby Maguire blubbering. :)

  2. Nice review.

    I agree with you that this was not the best movie in the trilogy, but still was an fitting end to the trilogy. Chris Bale was phenomenal as Bruce Wayne and Anne was great as Selina as well.

    Cheers!

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