**Note– I aim to ensure that all of the reviews found here remain “spoiler-free.” This review for one of the most anticipated films of the summer is no exception. Feel free to read.
The Dark Knight Rises
- Starring: Christian Bale (Batman Begins), Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception), and others.
- Directed by: Christopher Nolan
- Synopsis: “Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ The Dark Knight Rises is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.” (Official Page)
- Rated: Rated PG-13 for fighting sequence, violence, some language
The conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s telling of the city of Gotham’s Caped Crusader makes its way into theaters. Amidst high expectations from fans worldwide, The Dark Knight Rises teams director Nolan up once again with Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and many more…and, as expected, their work together does not disappoint.
Nolan’s more realistic view of the origin and adventures of the Dark Knight which began in 2005’s Batman Begins and continued in 2008 with The Dark Knight concludes in this tale that picks up approximately eight years after the events of the second installment in the trilogy. (More movie trilogies should be like this one!) The Dark Knight Rises continues the saga and aptly references several important scenes, people, and events from the previous films. This use of tying them all together strengthens the story and allows for a seamless presentation that refrains from being disjointed.
While the transition through the films is highly impressive (I watched Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises back-to-back in a theatrical marathon Thursday night!), The Dark Knight Rises begins in a similar, yet slower, style whose pace struggles to find its footing in the beginning as further foundation is laid. Since eight years have passed, there is much to catch up on. The inclusion of several other new characters, as interesting and exciting as it is to see, creates a sense of misdirection and a search for clues as to the way in which the story will turn.
To state that audiences are forced to muddle (Too harsh a word??) through the character catch up and development with story sprinkled throughout at the beginning may sound like a negative thing. However, the beauty of Nolan’s directing is the puzzle and mystery he presents in his films. Coming from a storyline that remains very popular amongst Batman fans, Nolan proficiently balances the “familiar territory” along with the “fresh and new” to keep audiences on the edge of their seat guessing throughout. Even though the beginning is somewhat slow, it has purpose and creates a much greater foundation for the film’s climatic events that follow.
With such an impressive cast, anyone who inevitably attempts to reboot Batman in the future, I fear, may not be nearly as successful. All those who remained dubious over Anne Hathaway’s “Catwoman”, Tom Hardy’s “Bane”, or anyone else for that matter…fear not! I implore you to remember the statement of online fame that still rings true: “In Nolan We Trust.” Each actor performed admirably and so believably in their respective roles (although, I do question the necessity of Juno Temple’s character).
Even darker than the previous versions, The Dark Knight Rises reflects the characters in the story and their struggles in terms of tone and presentation. While Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight amazed and kept a sense of humor in the film, Hardy’s “Bane” brings with it every bit of ominous feeling and emotion that is necessary for such a villain.
Amazing visuals, cool technology (bat-gadget galore), nail-biting fighting sequences, weighted drama, and unbelievable sequences of events permeate throughout this entire impressive and realistic presentation. Nolan and crew keep audiences on their toes in anticipation of how exactly the trilogy draws to a close. Very little will disappoint. Loaded still with plenty of gasp-inducing surprises, fan-beloved easter eggs, fist-flying action, character development/portrayal, some “I-told-you-so” moments, and an amazing musical score (by Hans Zimmer who composed the previous two for Nolan), The Dark Knight Rises is a dark film that sheds light on so many aspects of the Batman, Bruce Wayne, Gotham, and director Christopher Nolan’s continual ability to impress and entertain.
Ending in fashion that has met with more approval than dismay by fans around the world, The Dark Knight Rises concludes the saga in a way that presents a pleasant source of completion for this movie lover. A much more gritty and darker movie, it more accurately portrays Batman better than any of the films of the ’90s. You will want to celebrate, cry, yell, laugh, smile, and fear as you watch. This is a trilogy that has earned a sacred spot in my Blu-ray collection…right next to the open spot the awaits the special edition Blu-ray release of The Avengers.
The Dark Knight Rises: a MUST-SEE! Thank you, Christopher Nolan. Thank you.
Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars for The Dark Knight Rises
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
You may remember a post I put up with questions and guesses about The Dark Knight Rises a while back. For those of you that have seen the film, it’s fun to look back at lists like that and see just exactly was right or wrong. (Check it out if you wish, here.)
–T, The Focused Filmographer