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The Dark Knight Rises

The 2012 film directed by Christopher Nolan based on the DC Comics character

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A fitting end.

  • Jul 26, 2012
*** out of ****

Eight years after The Joker terrorized Gotham; Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) has assumed the role of Commissioner and the city has finally been met with peace. Batman was not needed in all those years, and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has considered hanging up the suit and cape for good and just locking himself up inside Wayne Manor with only his dear friend and guardian Alfred (Michael Caine) keeping him company. Enter terrorist leader Bane (Tom Hardy); a buff and very bold badass mother who wears a sort of gas mask-type device that covers the majority of the lower part of his face. He begins his reign of terror by hijacking a plane filled with nuclear scientists and then goes on to set up his base and trusty mercenaries in Gotham's sewers. It's not long before he's captured Gordon just before he had planned to deliver a speech regarding the truth about the Harvey Dent crimes and injured the poor man to the point where he's bed-ridden and must entrust an officer named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) with his duties.

Wayne might be Gotham's only hope. Bane attacks Wayne Enterprise's stock using Bruce's fingerprints (stolen by a spy by the name of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, played effectively by Anne Hathaway, and given directly to him by a similar employer), causing the company to face potential bankruptcy. What's more, Bane has a nasty surprise in store for Gotham; in the form of a bomb that was created by converting Wayne Enterprise's fusion core. Anyone who attempts to leave the city will trigger the bomb, and Gotham will be remembered only in its very ashes. It also triggers the third act.

One of the story arcs takes place in a prison - which is deemed impossible to escape from due to a high wall of which one must successfully climb with only a rope and their bare hands and feet - where Bane imprisons Wayne after their first confrontation. While in the prison, the inmates reveal to Bruce the backstory of Bane. But we learn a lot more about the hero than we do the villain. Wayne hallucinates of his former master Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson), trains to don the Batman armor once again, and in a powerful moment, escapes the prison like only one another man before him has. This portion of the film works best; as a tale of self-discovery. It helps to give anything else that follows more dramatic weight and (hopefully) more resonance. In fact, I don't think the film would have worked so well without this part of the plot. So thanks for that, David S. Goyer.

I have waited for "The Dark Knight Rises" for these four long years because Christopher Nolan has transformed the Batman mythology for the better. He has created a Caped Crusader of deeper, darker origins than any other comic or cinematic manifestation of the character; and I always look forward to the supporting characters and memorable cinematic moments that Nolan creates with each installment. In those departments, TDKR certainly delivers. For characters, you get villains like Bane, romantic interests like Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) - who wants to ease Wayne of his financial tensions - and new heroes such as Levitt's Blake. Bane is another threatening villain in the trilogy; on par with al Ghul, which is ironic, because he claims to be the man's son and successor. Hardy plays the part interestingly enough and I love the character's voice. He's simply entertaining to watch in his inhumanity.

What I like the most about these movies, however, are not the action sequences or the mere personas of the characters. I enjoy that Nolan turns his characters into individuals worth studying and the franchise's vast universe into crime drama material. I wish he could have pushed this as far here as he did in "The Dark Knight", but then again it makes it all the more unique now that I know he's not intent on repeating a past success. I think "Rises" is an entertaining character study like its two predecessors, although it definitely does fall short of the last entry. But what wouldn't at this rate? I realize it's not easy ending a well-respected and acclaimed franchise with such big expectations and names on board, yet I feel that Nolan has achieved star status as a director worthy of wide recognition for his efforts. He ends his trilogy on a note that's just right. And it left me not necessarily wanting anything more from Nolan and company. But that's more of a positive implication than you probably think.

But the way it all ends is, in a sense, the film's most fatal flaw. Most will probably disagree with what I have to say about it, but who cares? This is my take on the conclusion to the epic trilogy, and I've gotta be honest; I wanted to feel stronger about the finale than I actually did. For me, it lacks resonance and power; shooting itself in the foot with a handful of semi-clever twists, one of which comes off as kind of cheap. Aside from that, there's the obvious; that the film simply cannot live up to the ingenious plotting and craft of "The Dark Knight", but then again I didn't expect it to. "The Dark Knight Rises" is fitting and engaging; epic and fairly conclusive, if somewhat disappointing. I would rather not dwell on the negative aspects of the production because what matters most is how much of it I enjoyed and admired. As with "Batman Begins", which this one matches in quality and in scope, it's not quite brilliant but not quite worthy of being dismissed. The film will be remembered; probably more for the tragic theater shootings in Colorado, but by many for its quality too. I just wish I could share in such overwhelming love for the film itself.

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August 02, 2012
awesome job, Ryan! The site is running agaain, so I can see what I have missed.
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About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy,

Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake.

Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

The screenplay is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on “Batman Begins” and the record-breaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight.” The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane.
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Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Release Date: July 20, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Syncopy Films, Legendary Pictures
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