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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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I looked down the tunnel to see that light of hope, anything, just a speck-and thats all it was.

  • Jul 25, 2012
I knew it was going to happen.  This third Batman movie in a trilogy of movies doesn't measure up to what came before it.  Return of the Jedi, X Men 3, The Enforcer, Terminator 3.  All genre movies where it's earlier works far outweigh the latest.

Christopher Nolan's Batman movies have definetely been a step up over the previous 90's era ones with more of an emphasis on Batman, less on the villians with stronger stories and in the case of Burton's films more somber and heady with less emphasis on crazy and depressing.  That however is this movies biggest stumble is that it's trying to emulate Batman Returns.

How?  No, not just that both films have Catwoman, but in that it has a purely joyless villian, an struggle to find anything joyous in the movie outside of action set pieces, tortured souls, a strong underground theme and very VERY little of Batman.

Oh, Bruce Wayne is VERY much in this movie, but his alter ego- or rather the side of him we'd rather be watching is very absent short of two small scenes in the second act and in the finale.  You can argue that after Batman Begins, the character is very much one in the same watching him struggle and train but you can also argue that the clothes make the man and James Bond was always better in the tux.

Now, before I risk any criticism, no I'm not simply bummed that this movie is not as awesome as The Dark Knight from 2008.  That film is flat out awesome and not many movies, comic or otherwise can stand up to it and this film has an uphill climb to measure up to that one.  It maintains it's own identity without retreading what came before but it's not so awesome.  Also as a plus over Batman Returns, the film while foreboding never veers into depression territory.

The Dark Knight Rises however couldn't be more a more appropriate title however as we open the movie, Bruce Wayne is a broken down hermit living in his manor, his money dissapearing, his body wasting away and not been Batman in 8 years since the events of The Dark Knight.  Criminals are retreating from society in Gotham and Commissioner Gordon could be on his way out of his position, with guilt eating at him.  Things change however when a thief robs Bruce from right in front of him, Bruces investments are being toyed with and a new criminal has now reared his head:  Bane.  A mirthless strongman with a secret tie to Batman's past who after learning of a reported life of strife is devoted to bringing Gotham to it's knees and with a only a broken down Bruce Wayne really standing in his way-he just might.

Bruce however is committed to putting on the suit and jumping into the fire again with little preparation and little regard for Alfred's words of potentially committing suicide saying that he should just sit on the sidelines.  Alfred tries conjoling Bruce out of it with his words of detriment and that he should just move on and let the cops handle things, but Bruce tells him to stuff it.

A Wildcard however is in the mix, a modern day Robin Hood of sorts in Catwoman, a lifelong petty criminal whoes racked up quite a record of criminal activities and is looking to get it expunged so she can move on with her life.  She and Batman run across each other in the course of the film and while shes desuctive and manipulative with her own agenda, she isn't without her finer points of bad but not evil.

The majority of the movie felt a lot like Spiderman 2.  All the characters are on the outs and nothing seems to get tossed they're way.  Alfred ends up alienated from Bruce, Bruce is still mourning for Rachael, Gordon holding onto the secret of Dent's crimes from The Dark Knight, Wayne Enterprises in peril and the coldly efficent Bane looming.  In a scene that had anyone knowing of Bane and Batman's infamous fight from the comic, Batman puts up a fight, but is humiliated and crippled at Banes hands and tossed into a Middle Eastern dungeon to rot and be tortured with the news reports of how Bane will effortlessly undermine Gotham's decadance with Batman's own company and equipment.  Bruce now really has to dig deep and train harder then ever to literally climb out of Hell if he's going to save Gotham from Bane's transforming of the city into an anarchy where the common man is given free reign over authoirity.  It's an awesome Phoenix moment to watch and it takes it's time snowballing to the conclusion.  Will Batman be ready for his next fight with Bane?

All of the continuing characters from Gary Oldman's Gordan, Michael Caine's Alfred and Morgan Freeman's Fox are hold the same appeal and performance as they did before.  Bale's Batman however is still my favorite of the Batman's but he still growl's his lines through a headcold as Batman.  It's not as bad as it was in The Dark Knight thankfully.

Newcomers Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy however are a little different.  Instead of the mercenary Catwoman was in Batman Returns, but more of the cat burgler as she is best known as.  Oh and Anne Hathaway is unbeatable in a fight as she kicks ass, and wears a circulation cutting cat suit with razor heels and sculpted ass.  I got a feeling that when Joss Whedon saw this, he couldn't wait to make a Catwoman movie.

Tom Hardy's Bane is the reverse of Ledger's Joker from before.  Instead of going for a reimagining of a character, much like Catwoman he again takes the character from the book as a muscled master criminal who is a true poison for the city in his plans and Batman in a fight.  It's good that Bane got his due in the movie and I'd say that the growling green goof from Batman and Robin would be forgotten if anyone even remembered.  Seeing Bane buff and big makes me forget that this is Tom Hardy that little shrimp of a man from Star Trek Nemesis 10 years earlier.  Oh and no, I didn't watch Warrior.

One thing I noticed in this movie is the push for a fission energy source which we keep hearing about can save the world and it's the same notion I got from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with IT'S push for the technology and even showing a video for how it works.  Theres an air of controversy surrounding this movie for political reasons, and I wonder if anyone wondered if this is Hollywood's way of trumpeting new energy.  It's minor and not distracting thankfully.

The Dark Knight Rises definitely rises but it's a long and thorough affair to cover loose ends and make sure that things happen to draw to a conclusion and a conclusion they do.  Nolan has stated in interviews that this Batman series will be his and make sure it's damn hard for anyone to follow up on.  Threads are definetely left hanging for another take over the reigns in one way or another if someone does it will be interesting and ballsy to say the least.  Whatever you do though-I don't want another reboot.

Swear to me!  Not another reboot!
I looked down the tunnel to see that light of hope, anything, just a speck-and thats all it was. I looked down the tunnel to see that light of hope, anything, just a speck-and thats all it was. I looked down the tunnel to see that light of hope, anything, just a speck-and thats all it was.

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July 25, 2012
Thanks for the insights. You give a different take on this from other reviews I have read. I was a little thrown off at the beginning as to how much you liked it but after a few paragraphs it started to bec ome obvious.
July 25, 2012
Great stuff John. I do hope they do not do another reboot for this. But on the last scene, they may continue with another story inspired by the source material- "Prodigal" or "Sword of Azrael". So long as there's no Robin (maybe Nightwing) I'll be cool.
July 26, 2012
Would be cool. There are more Batman's then just Bruce Wayne. Jean Paul Valley would be great even though my understanding is that the guy is nuts. I don't care. With a name that awesome, you can't fail.
More The Dark Knight Rises (2012 fi... reviews
review by . July 20, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Dark Knight Returns to Fall and Rise Once Again
With the glowing reviews “The Dark Knight Rises” have gotten in this site and others, I am not sure what a minor movie reviewer such as myself can add into the mix? After all, the vast majority is the one singular, collective opinion that really matters right? Not to worry, my friends, I really liked “Batman Begins” and loved “The Dark Knight”. I actually thought that the second film is the epitome of comic book adaptations and may be the measuring stick …
review by . July 20, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Comic book movies have a strange formula about them as of late.  The first film is usually pretty good by conventional standards and then the second one blows everyone out of the water.  This usually leads to a third part that is usually a letdown after seeing the spectacle of the second.  Yet The Dark Knight Rises does not fall to this trend.  In fact, Christopher Nolan's third part spits in the face of this trend.  The movie is phenomenal in almost everywhere.  …
review by . January 21, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Nolan made an excellent comic book film in Batman Begins.  The second film had an excellent first half but lost it in the second half with the Harvey Dent/Two Face story.  This third film is closer to the Harvey Dent portion of that second film than the joker portion of that film.  Like that Harvey Dent, the character of Bain was totally ridiculous and more comic book (a la Mad Magazine) than film character.  Ann Hathaway's Selena Kane was no better than Jennifer Garner's …
review by . July 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
  I don't know if I have ever started a review like this but I want you to do yourself a favor and stop reading after this first paragraph, in fact stop reading everything about this movie. There are no spoilers in this review, I'm not going to ruin anything but if you really want to enjoy this movie then you need to get away from it all.   If you are anything like me before you saw this movie you read everything that came out, you rewatched the previous ones, you are probably …
review by . July 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** 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); …
review by . July 24, 2012
A fitting end to an amazing Series.
   In 2005 Batman Begins hit theaters; it was released to very positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. The movie started a new trend for Comic Book movies with its dark and gritty portrayal of the Batman. As great as Batman Begins was, Christopher Nolan topped it with the Dark Knight in 2008. Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker being the most memorable part of the movie, his dark and chaotic performance as the Joker is one not soon to be forgotten.       …
review by . July 22, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I don't know I've ever started a review with a more conflicted mind or heavy heart.  This movie will be forever linked to the killings associated with one showing of its midnight opening in a Colorado theater.  No viewer or reviewer can see the film without that fact in mind.  When I saw the movie today a day after the opening and after the news had consumed the internet, I confess that it affected my experience of the movie more than I expected.  The scene in the movie …
review by . July 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Why does Christopher Nolan labor under the delusion that the Batman character should transcend his comic book image, and that the comic book movie needs to be redefined? Does he not realize that, in taking this approach, he has robbed audiences of that which makes them so entertaining? Twice before, and now with The Dark Knight Rises, he has dragged an innately escapist concept kicking and screaming from the shadowy world of make-believe into the …
review by . July 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Yes, he rises, but how high?
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan Directed by Christopher Nolan Starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Caine   Bruce Wayne: You’re afraid that if I go back out there, I’ll fail. Alfred: No, I’m afraid you want to.   It is a rare occurrence in Hollywood for any film franchise to be as consistently incredible throughout its run as Christopher Nolan’s Batman series has been. With …
review by . July 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
This sort of spectacle is hardThis sort of spectacle is hard to be analyzed without being overly excited about it. Christopher Nolan's most ambitious project is flawless with all the flaws it has. The simple idea that you can progressively change the rules of the game is the most impressive thing about Nolan. This guy never stops pushing the envelope and the wonderful thing about it is that he's not doing it for money nor for fame, but because of his love and respect towards this amazing …
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #3
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … 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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