The Dark Knight Rises Reviews
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The complaint here isn't character or themes, no here it's the story which happens to drag in the middle and fail to ground itself in reality in the way it's predecessors do.
VERDICT: Batman goes full circle. 'The Dark Knight Rises' masterfully combines the best of the first's storytelling, and the second film's ideas. The result just could have been a bit more grounded. And shorter.
10/10 - Masterpiece
Christopher Nolan is back with more philosophic undertones in the final chapter of his Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. In the trilogy's second installment, The Dark Knight, some critics connected themes of that film to the war in Iraq. In contrast, The Dark Knight Rises is themed around the war going on within us every single day.
The movie begins with the villainous Bane (Tom Hardy) setting the initial direction of the plot. While Batman (Christian Bale) comes out of retirement to defeat Bane, the actual mastermind villain lurks just off-screen. Perhaps sometimes in our own lives we feel that we know what the problem is, when actually it is just a distraction from the real issue.
The darkness portrayed in this film is a message of how dark the world is currently getting around us. Many may feel that they just can't do it anymore. Life may seem too hard. Some may feel that they are stuck in a pit of a prison just as Batman actually was in the film. Just when all hope seems lost and you don't know how Batman is going to get out and save the day, the motivation comes from the other prisoners as they chant. Batman asks a wise man in the prison what they are chanting. He says, "It means 'rise'." This motivation continues with Batman as he goes on to fight his enemies.
This film is a message to all that as our world grows ever darker, we can rise up and defeat the darkness with the light. I left the film feeling motivated. Now whenever I feel myself getting theoretically thrown into a pit I remember the motivating chant of Batman's fellow prisoners. "Rise!"
I love the cast in this film. Christian Bale is without a doubt the best on-screen Batman, and Tom Hardy is stellar as the main villain, Bane. The other returning cast members are great as well, like Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt was very good, and I liked his addition to the story. Anne Hathaway plays an amazing Selina Kyle/Catwoman. The cast members just do so great, and the writing that accompanies them is amazing as well.
The Dark Knight Rises gives Bane more to do than any other villain in the Dark Knight Trilogy. By emotionally connecting his character to the story, you understand him, and while I don't think he is the best villain of the trilogy, I do think Christopher Nolan did a great job with his interpretation of the character. I also enjoyed the fact that Bruce Wayne doesn't actually show up until after both Bane and Catwoman, are introduced.
I also think Catwoman was great in this film. I'm currently undecided on whether she was better than Michelle Pfeiffer's version of the character, who appeared in Batman Returns, but I think Hathaway did an outstanding job. She just felt more real to me, because she wasn't spouting out weird one-liners like "Life's a bitch, now so am I" during fight scenes. Her character also isn't tied into some supernatural entity in some way, like Pfeiffer's was. I don't care how cool it would be to have 9 lives, I think that in a Batman film, that's kind of stupid. Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises is just a normal person. Mind you, she's still a criminal, but I like that sense of mortality.
Near the end, there's a huge twist that involves Bruce's love interest, Miranda Tate. Throughout the movie, it's said that Bane was born in a brutal prison, and climbed out of it. Ra's al Ghul then says that Bane is his son, and I totally looked past the fact that Ra's al Ghul's child is Talia al Ghul. But I believed that Bame was his son, and when Miranda stabbed Bruce near the end, revealing herself as Talia al Ghul, and that she climbed out of the prison. I watched this for the second time, and was still as shocked as I was back in 2012. The action sequences are also fantastic, and the ending of the film was amazing as well, with Bruce presumed dead, but still alive and together with Selina. Overall, The Dark Knight Rises is the most fantastic superhero film I've ever seen. It has great action sequences, an awesome twist, and a great cast as well.
-4 1/2 stars
The twist with Miranda Tate being Ra's al Ghul's daughter was very unexpected. The ending was perfect and very moving. One small awesome detail has to do with the pearl necklace that Selina aka Catwoman stole from Bruce. It was the same necklace that Bruce's mother was wearing when his parent's were killed in the first film. Bruce had kept it in a safe and put a tracker in it, which is how he found Selina to get it back. At the end of the movie when Bruce was sitting with Selina at a restaurant, it wasn't obvious but Selina was wearing the necklace. It is not explained but it may be how Alfred found Bruce to see if he was still alive, retired, and enjoying his life with someone he loves. We know he loves her because he gave her his mother's necklace, which also shows us that he has finally gotten over his parents' death and no longer blames himself for it. And he finally has a purpose in life other than being Batman (4 viewings)
Fresh faces from the source material are, as to be expected from this series, creative interpretations, yet ones that convey their essential core. Hardy and Hathaway are perfect as Bane and Selina Kyle and they are ingeniously used. Returning regulars all reach new heights of acting and depths of emotion. If in the middle film Batman was almost lost behind the ensemble that is not so here; both the man behind the suit and the idea behind the man are central and the trilogy provides one of the definitive Bruce Wayne stories. Despite sharing the screen with a great cast, that provide some of the series' best moments, Bale surpasses his previous performances, and it's Bruce Wayne that haunts you after the end. The story is a brilliant combination of elements from several comic arcs that twists them to play with expectations (and pays many a tribute to the multitude of Batman incarnations seen over the years) and ultimately rises above the source material to provide what the comics never can; closure.