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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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The Bat's Swan Song???

  • Jul 23, 2012
Rating:
+4
I'll preface this review by stating that the terrible event that took place in Aurora, CO will be addressed by me in another review.  This review is strictly about The Dark Knight Rises.

I have to admit that I was extremely excited to see The Dark Knight Rises.  Having been a Batman fan for pretty much all of my life and knowing what happened between ol' Batsy and Bane in the comics, I was very interested to see what direction Christopher Nolan would take both of these characters.  I believed that this film would have a tough time living up to the standard set by The Dark Knight, but would still be great on its own.  I was also fearful of how wretched Anne Hathaway might be as Catowoman.

Nolan, for the most part, didn't let me down. 

While I won't divulge too much about the plot because so much of it comes as a shock, I will set the  able a bit in order to give anyone reading this enough information to decide whether they will go to the movies to check this out or wait until it hits DVD or Blu-Ray.

The basic plot is this:  It's been eight years since the events of the previous film, and Batman is both loved and hated by the people of Gotham City.  He has vanished from the city and his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, has gone into seclusion.  The Wayne Foundation is floundering and about to be taken over by another corporation.  Meanwhile, a mysterious mercenary has come onto the scene to shake things up a bit in Gotham.  His name is Bane, and no one really knows what his motives are for his actions.  All they do know is that since he's arrived, things have gone downhill really fast.  But who can save the city?  Do the people really want Batman to return, or will he once again "terrorize" the good citizens of Gotham?

The Dark Knight Rises is very good, but it has its weaknesses.  First of all, the film is long, very long, and moved slowly at times.  Much like I felt with Nolan's Inception and Batman Begins, I believed that this film could have been edited down just a bit to improve pacing and make for fewer lulls in both action and plot.  Also, the story is very well written, but Bane pulls off certain feats almost too easily in the film for my tastes.  Unfortunately I can't mention exactly what he does (and he does quite a bit), but for those of you who have seen the film, know that I am not talking about his first physical encounter with Batman.  Also, Nolan has sold the audience on the "gritty reality" of his vision of Batman's world.  Of the three films, however, this film has the most "comic-like" events contained within.  I refer to the aforementioned actions of Bane and the unbelievable (at least in a gritty reality) events that occur during the film.

Despite these shortcomings, however, I do recommend people check out The Dark Knight Rises.  There are tons of other things that make this film very much worth checking out at the theater.  For one, the cast is superb.  Established characters such as Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale)  Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), and one person who returns for the finale that I wasn't expecting to see, were brilliant.  Bale portrayed a beaten and broken Wayne to perfection, and Oldman and Freeman slid back into their characters with ease.  Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth) gave one of the top performances in the film, bleeding with emotion despite having a limited role.

Of the new cast, Tom Hardy was solid (and huge) as Bane, Marion Cotillard was good as Miranda Tate, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues to impress me with each new project I see him in.  He portrayed John Blake, a "hot-headed" cop who proves to be a great ally in the fight against Bane.  The real standout performance in this film to me, however, was from Anne Hathaway.  She was, in my opinion, the Michael Keaton of Nolan's series.  When I first heard that Keaton was going to portray Batman way back in the late 1980's, I was shocked.  I knew he would fail but, egg on my face, he proved me wrong and did a brilliant job.  The same goes for Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman.  Her peformance was much more subdued compared to previous incarnations of the Catwoman (from Michelle Pfeiffer all the way back to Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar) in my opinion, and while they played off on her sexuality, it wasn't as forced or placed on a pedestal as it was in earlier versions of the character.  Hathaway was extremely convincing in the role, and my heart actually went out to the character.

The music (or lack thereof) from Hans Zimmer was key to this film as well.  There are often long moments of silence or very quiet music that enhance the feel of the movie overall.  I actually bought the soundtrack before I saw the film because I loved the music of the previous films so much.  Of the three soundtracks, I have to admit that this one is my favorite.

Of course, plenty of people check out Batman comics, movies, and shows for his "wonderful toys."  While his bag of tricks is a tad limited in this film, he makes the most with what he does have.  The sometimes-CGI "Bat" that Batman flies around in during the film did chip away at the reality of the film overall, but it looked very cool on the screen.  Even more impressive was the Batbike in the film.  I vocally uttered, "Cool" when Batman pulled off a stunt with the bike during the film.

So, is The Dark Knight Rises worthy of driving to a theater to check out?  Absolutely.  I honestly wish I could go into greater detail with my review, but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone.  The film's ending is quite moving, and even hints, at least a tad, that there might be a few more adventures for the Batman up Chris Nolan's sleeve.

Recommended.
The Bat's Swan Song??? The Bat's Swan Song??? The Bat's Swan Song??? The Bat's Swan Song???

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July 24, 2012
Great to see you around here again, Kendall! Thanks for sharing this!
July 24, 2012
I've been on hiatus for awhile. There's been a lot going on in my world, but I'm slowly trying to get back into the review groove.
 
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About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #16
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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Wiki

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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Details

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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