Review: The Dark Knight Rises
What We ThoughtGenre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller
What We Liked :Incredible Visuals/Action, Strong Performances, Satisfying Conclusion
What We Disliked:Storyline issues, bloated runtime
The Dark Knight Rises isn’t the greatest movie ever printed to celluloid. But it is a very entertaining ending to a fine trilogy.
After endless amounts of hype and extreme anticipation, does The Dark Knight Rises prove to be another masterpiece from Christopher Nolan?
Taking place eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Gotham seems to have no need for Batman (Christian Bale) anymore. An act put into effect after the death of Harvey Dent has kept organized crime at a standstill. Bruce Wayne has become accustomed to a life of solitude, brooding over his mistakes and the people he’s lost.
Gotham is in trouble once again. A new underground terrorist group has hijacked a plane and raided the Stock Exchange. Their leader Bane (Tom Hardy), an overpowering hulk of a human being, seems focused on one goal; bringing chaos to Gotham. There’s also another new foe lurking in the shadows. The sly and crafty, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), always with her paws on a new piece of jewelery. She’s taking orders from a higher power, trying to start over again after a life of crime. The Dark Knight must rise from the shadows and once again protect Gotham.
The Dark Knight Rises continues the stellar casting of the previous movies. While Christian Bale isn’t the perfect Batman, this is his best performance in the series. Tom Hardy had the impossible task of living up to Heath Ledger as the lead villain. What he achieves with Bane is fantastic. Bane comes across as more than just a monstrous goon, but as a foe that capable of completely crushing Batman and Gotham. Earlier fears that the character would be boring vanished and any sound issues from the earlier footage were fixed.
A new entry into this installment of the Dark Knight series is Joesph Gordon-Levitt as officer Blake. He becomes a catalyst for the film, always believing in Batman while simultaneously being the figurehead for the entire police department. In a movie with so many characters, his performance and story stand out as one of the most compelling. Series stalwarts Micheal Caine (as Alfred), Morgan Freeman (as Fox) and Gary Oldman (as Commissioner Gordon) continue their strong performances. The casting of these three men add consistent quality to roles that could’ve easily been minimized.
The women in previous entries in the series have never been compelling. Katie Holmes and Maggie Gyllenhaal both tried to make Rachel an interesting character but I always thought she was the weakness of the entire trilogy. Thankfully, Selina/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Miranda (Marion Cotillard) bring two capable and intriguing women into The Dark Knight Rises. Each of them carries their own depth and mystery while simultaneously being love interests for Bruce Wayne. Rachel was written poorly and the motivations Bruce had towards her always felt forced. If there is one problem to Miranda’s romance with Bruce Wayne, its how quickly it ignites into passion. After eight years of brooding over Rachel, he seems to have gotten over her in a flash.
The Dark Knight films have always tried to exist in the fabric of real life. There are moments in The Dark Knight Rises where the economic collapse and the 99% speak loudly against the Man. A scene in the film bears a close resemblance to the opening of Gangs of New York, with an epic battle between the police force and the common man/criminals takes center stage. This Batman doesn’t exist in some fantasy world, he could easily coexist with the trials of everyday life.
The path of the story is the biggest problem with The Dark Knight Rises. The action and acting are top-notch, but the story leaves a lot to be desired. It has too many threads to follow, too many characters to reintroduce. If you somehow missed the previous two entries in the series, there’s a lot of back story that will be missed even though there are several flashbacks. The length of the film feels stretched at times and feels even longer when Batman isn’t on the screen taking names.
Christopher Nolan has been presented with an impossible task. Not only does he have to satisfy leagues of comic book fans, but also the most critical movie aficionados. The Dark Knight Rises succeeds where other superhero movies would certainly falter, but it doesn’t live up to the branding of a cinematic masterpiece. In the end, The Dark Knight Rises isn’t the greatest movie ever printed to celluloid, but it is a very entertaining ending to a fine trilogy.