Review: Another Take on the Dark Knight Rises
By Matt Goodman
Seven years ago, director Christopher Nolan introduced audiences to the new Batman, Christian Bale, who became our caped crusader in the critically acclaimed Batman Begins. A few years later, Nolan was able to outdo himself with the worldwide hit – and masterpiece, The Dark Knight. With over $530 million at the domestic box office, studios quickly green lit a sequel, later entitled The Dark Knight Rises. Now, in 2012, Nolan has given us a flawlessly inventive conclusion to this perfect trilogy. After watching this I felt like I haven’t given enough to the world. Batman is a true hero. The Dark Knight Rises is epic in every sense of the word.
The Dark Knight Rises picks up several years after The Dark Knight ended. Batman (Christian Bale) is no more after he took the blame for the crimes of Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Not only has the Batman disappeared from the public, so has Bruce Wayne, who is secluded in his mansion, unable to forgive himself for the death of Rachel. Meanwhile, a new villain, Bane (Tom Hardy) rises from the pits of hell to wreck havoc on Gotham City by imprisoning its citizens and teaching Gotham to serve “true justice”. It seems that it is time for Wayne to come out of his shell and become the dark knight that this city so desperately needs. Can Batman trust sinister jewel thief Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and save the city before a more sinister plan is unleashed?
I think it’s pretty much safe to say that The Dark Knight Rises (hereafter referred to as TDKR), was my most anticipated film of… all-time. I savored and indulged in every bit of information that was given regarding the film, whether it is an audio marketing campaign, new production stills, and especially the trailers. Pretty much any given information about TDKR caught my interest and raised my excitement. Boy, did it pay off. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this the apex of the trilogy (that would be TDK), I may go so far as to say that it’s the weakest, which is certainly saying something considering that I haven’t given any of the Nolan-Batman films a grade lower than an “A+”. Much like the Star Wars trilogy (4-6), the first film is a brilliant hit, the second is considered one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all-time, and the third is not without flaws, but is still widely praised and thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. So don’t let my criticism fool you; my complaints are regarding a few scripting issues that I believe went haywire – but that does NOT take away my uninhibited enjoyment of this film.
Yes, it’s difficult to watch TDKR without a few comparisons to TDK, and that falls in the villain category. In TDK, The Joker was fun to watch and completely stole the show, while in TDKR; Bane was intimidating, brutal, and petrifying to watch. All throughout the movie, it was shown that he was a leading strategist and could construct extravagant schemes and plans that not even Batman saw coming. To quote Bane himself, “I’m necessary evil.” Tom Hardy was the perfect choice for this villain, and my only complaint regarding his voice is that it sounds a bit comedic at times, making the viewer wonder what it’d been like had Nolan taken a more dark approach to Bane’s voice. There were some lines I couldn’t make out, but you can get the jist of everything he is saying. Otherwise, Bane is a badass villain! The only honest similarity between the two was the fact that each wanted to cause mayhem to Gotham, even though TDKR has more of a substantial reason that brings us back to a few plot points in BB concerning the League of Shadows.
Anne Hathaway is outstanding as Catwoman. Simply outstanding. I like that they let go of some of the cheesiness and one-liners of Selina Kyle. The catlike matter gets overdone in a lot of other media. In fact, Hathaway’s Selina Kyle acts more like a Batman-symbol than a thief (even though she arises as a crook).
The casting is superb; Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard are all on their A-game here. Since this is the end of a legacy, I hope the academy recognizes these amazing performances! While I can’t actually expect a supporting actress nod for say Marion Cotillard, Bale deserves a best actor award like Nolan deserves a best director award.
TDKR has amazing character establishment and progress, stimulating and plausible drama, and rousing action, but that is no surprise here. I think in 5 years time everyone can look at this fantastic trilogy with hindsight, the obvious consensus will be that the second movie was the pinnacle. TDKR was undeniably terrific, though it just wont be regarded as highly.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars