Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises" Grand Conclusion to Epic Series
Country: United States
Release Date: July 20, 2012
Distributor: Warner Brothers
· Christopher Nolan
· Christian Bale
· Tom Hardy
· Anne Hathaway
· Morgan Freeman
· Gary Oldman
· Joseph Gordon-Levitt
· Marion Cotillard
· Michael Caine
Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises
by Eric Deters
Published: July 21, 2012
I don’t really know what to say about “The Dark Knight Rises” that can’t be instantly gleamed from the pedigree behind it and the work to which it serves as a sequel. “The Dark Knight” was arguably the greatest comic book film ever made, and one of the best movies of 2008. Christopher Nolan has created some of the most mind-blowing and exhilarating films of the past decade, and has worked with Christian Bale no less than three times before working on the final chapter of his Dark Knight trilogy. The man knows what he wants and how to get it, and that results in a film that stands head and shoulders above the rest. In terms of conclusions to trilogies, this stands alongside “The Return of the King” in the way that it brings an unimaginably epic series to a close in a grand and nearly perfect way. It’s a 2 hour and 45 minute ride with next to no filler, and could’ve even stood to add a few minutes. It’s singular in its approach, and dammit it’s good.
“The Dark Knight Rises” picks up eight years after the end of “The Dark Knight,” in which Harvey Dent was killed and the Joker (a mention to whom is not to be found in the film out of respect to Heath Ledger) was taken to prison. Dent’s death led to an increase in dramatic increases to the power of the police in Gotham, and over those eight years, crime in Gotham City took a nose-dive. When the film begins, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has long since put away the cape and cowl, as Gotham branded him a murderer for killing Dent. Along with that, he also became a recluse, hardly ever leaving Wayne Manor and being the butt of rumors about his decaying health and mental state. You’ve all seen the trailers or posters, so me telling you he doesn’t stay this way for the duration of the film is no spoiler at all, but the way that it happens still manages to be interesting.
It also wouldn’t be a spoiler to tell you that Bane is the antagonist of this piece, and while it’s hard to compare Tom Hardy’s performance to that of Heath Ledger’s as the Joker, Bane is precisely the villain that this final chapter needed. I won’t tell you anything about his evil schemes or plans for Gotham other than the fact that when he starts to lay it all out, my jaw was on the floor for nearly ten minutes straight. The way that every piece of his plan works so perfectly against everyone in Gotham and how they just pile on each other is so gleefully disheartening that you can see no way for Batman to solve the city’s problems. The stakes are so unbelievably high and everything lines up so perfectly in Bane’s favor that I dare say that it makes for one of the finest climaxes I’ve ever witnessed in a film. After the halfway point, this film ratchets the HSQ (“Holy Shit” Quotient) up so high that I can’t call Christopher Nolan anything less than a complete genius. It’s the perfect way to test Bruce in the final chapter, and it helps that Tom Hardy is simply excellent as Bane. The character isn’t quite as enormous as he is in the comics, but he is still a menacing, mesmerizing character every time he’s on screen. This film deals with a tired, weakened Bruce Wayne and, by proxy, Batman, and Bane pushes Bruce to his limits in both a physical and mental capacity.
Anne Hathaway also has a role in this film as Selina Kyle (Catwoman), who has quite the magnetic presence. Occasionally, her attitude doesn’t fit the tone the film is going for, but at the same time it captures her style from the comics with ease. I won’t speak much to Catwoman’s actual place in the proceedings as that would be something of a spoiler.
Of course, all of our favorite minor characters from the past films are here as well, including a few well-used new ones. Morgan Freeman returns as Lucius Fox, and while his role is smaller than it was in “The Dark Knight,” he still plays an important part, as does Gary Oldman as Commissioner Jim Gordon. Is it even worth saying that Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are awesome as always? It’s Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. They’re awesome. End of story.
Newcomers include Joseph Gordon-Levitt as beat cop Blake, a firm believer that Batman is still a good man and that he will return some day, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, a member of Wayne Enterprises’ executive board and lavish investor. The impact these two have on the ongoing plot varies moment to moment, but both performances were welcome additions to the universe and great fun in the film.
Having seen the film in IMAX, I can easily say that that is the way to experience the movie. The crispness of every shot, the fact that the majority of the film was filmed in IMAX, and that experience in general leads me to believe that there isn’t a better way to experience the movie than through that medium. That being said, the theater I saw the movie at was LOUD. I’ve seen concerts in General Admissions and even that doesn’t really compare to this. I have a feeling it’s not like that everywhere, but it detracted a little bit from the audio-scape, which was, in most other ways, outstanding. Hans Zimmer’s score is just beyond words in its ability to punctuate every moment with the perfect back-up. People will certainly have their qualms with Bane’s voice, and I understand to some extent, but the cool factor made up for any dialogue of his that I might have missed. Near the end of the movie, Batman starts to loosen up on his whole voice muffling thing, but at that point the music is so loud as to not really rectify anything at all.
To sum everything up, just see “The Dark Knight Rises.” Your friends will be talking about it, it’s going to be the coolest thing for at least a month, there’s not much else in theaters now except for “Moonrise Kingdom,” which I wholeheartedly recommend but haven’t gotten to write a review on, and seriously, it’s more Batman, more Christian Bale, and more excellent filmmaking. And since I have to cram it in here somewhere, this movie is going to make more money than “The Avengers” handily. So please, watch this movie.