The Dark Knight Rises

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All my movie reviews so far have been for films that were (at the time) in the cinema, with The Dark Knight Rises being one of them. All of those reviews have been recommendations rather than full in-depth reviews with no spoilers at all. I’m going to do the opposite this time around because The Dark Knight Rises will no doubt be the biggest movie released this year. I don’t think I really need to recommend it because the two predecessors, the biggest action movies released in their respective years, made their impact on the movie theatre and you had the choice to see them and decide if you liked them. If you liked them, then you’ve probably already seen The Dark Knight Rises. If you haven’t seen them, or didn’t like them, then the new one most likely won’t change your mind, unless you want to know what the fuss is about.

So here’s the spoiler warning. If you don’t want spoilers, scroll down to the last paragraph to see my overall consensus and review score. This review is going spoil the movie, so if you haven’t seen it or its predecessors, DO NOT READ BELOW. Even if you don’t plan on watching them, don’t read below, because I bet you will watch them at some point in time.

If you’re reading from here on, you’ve already seen all three movies now, am I correct? If not, leave now. Ok good. What an amazing movie. What an amazing trilogy!

All three movies are really consistent – great characters, great villains and of course great action. It’s easy to see that they designed this movie in mind to end the trilogy. Just like in the comics, Bane “breaks the Batman”. It’s emotionally exhausting to watch Bruce Wayne finally be defeated physically and mentally. Bane is such a threatening and effective villain, even though it’s hard to understand what he is saying sometimes. I also thought Selina Kyle/Catwoman worked really well in this movie. By the end, she was a radically different person and she was a lot of fun to watch on screen.

When I was watching the film, I was in disbelief by the awesome action that I saw presented on screen. While there was doubt that Batman would save the day again, I didn’t expect to see the city suffer so much destruction and then be held hostage. The tension was so high that by the end it’s hard to take it in. The twist at the end when Tate is revealed to be a villain was incorporated the exact way a great twist should be; I never saw it coming, but it explains some of Tate’s questionable actions throughout the film. I was glued to the screen when I watched Batman take the bomb that his enterprise created away from the city. You do get the feeling that Wayne would give up his life for the city, but would also be smart enough to program the autopilot. It’s also great to finally see Bruce Wayne move on, doing what he should have done after The Dark Knight. Batman has retired, while Bruce Wayne has started fresh, just the way Alfred wanted. While I’m sure this series won’t continue in spin-off form, Nolan has made an ending that allows fans to interpret what will happen afterwards. Blake takes over the batcave, will he become Robin or the next Batman?

It’s great to see some closure for the characters, after going through such a thrilling climax. The film is long, about 3 hours, but after I left the cinema I couldn’t believe that 3 hours had really passed. As someone who hates long movies, that’s a great testament to this one as it manages to go over three hours without dragging on. I can’t really decide which is my favourite film in the trilogy, I’ll have to (and will) watch them all again at some point on Blu-Ray. One thing I am sure about is this is one of the greatest movie trilogies ever made; it’s one of my favourites tied with the Toy Story trilogy. The Dark Knight Rises takes everything you liked about the previous two movies and turns it up to a new level. I rate it 5/5 and think it’s the best movie released this year.

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4 comments

  1. For fans of the comics I strongly suggest you watch this series, unlike previous films, these do justice to Batman’s strength in character, mental and physical abilities. Also the viciousness and ingeniousness of the villains (rather than them being stupid), and the tints of grey rather than black and white in telling who is friend or foe? I like your comic book reference. (Their can be many more, I will leave it to you the audience to make the connections). I agree with you about the length of the movie it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and it didn’t drag out at all. The same with the other movies of the series as well. But you didn’t mention how effectively the last film links back to the others. Just like one of my other favourite movie franchises “Pirates of the Caribbean.” (***SPOLIER***) Effectively making it a well oiled connected trilogy machine. From the Batman’s leg injury at the end of “The Dark Night”, to Ra’s Al Gaul (parentage) and Scarecrow (did you pick out the crazy bearded judge as Doctor Crane) in “Batman Begins” (***SPOLIER ENDS***). This movie exceeded my expectations and effectively displayed the essence of what is and always will be the sworn protector in the dark, the Batman.

    1. Hey man thanks for the comment!
      Yeah I guess i didn’t really discuss how well it links to the others. It seems to link to both of them equally, with Ra’s Al Gaul from from Batman Begins and Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. Thanks for noticing the comic-book reference I did do a little bit of research on this! And I definitely agree with everything you said, such a great movie, such a great trilogy!

  2. I loved Bane as a villain (though I didn’t particularly care for his death), but I too had some issues with understanding him when I first saw it in the theater…can you believe that this version of his voice is actually EASIER to understand than it was in the original cut of the film? They re-edited it after complaints from early screenings and reactions to the prologue and such. I’m glad i have it on Blu-Ray now so I can switch on the subtitles and understand all of what he says (as well as Jim Gordon in the hospital and Talia pretty much the whole time…Marion Cotillard has one strange accent).

    Speaking of Talia, I wish I could say that I didn’t see it coming, but it wasn’t due to my own power of deduction. Unfortunately, I had read some fan theories online that had pegged Cotillard’s character as Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, and, whaddya know, they were right! It didn’t spoil the movie for me, though.

    Voice problems aside, I think my biggest complaint of this movie was the very ending sequence, but only the parts with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I would have been completely fine with him entering the Batcave, but nothing more than that. They just HAD to reveal that his real name is Robin (which means nothing since the character Robin’s real name is Dick Grayson), which has led to all of this speculation regarding spinoffs and Gordon-Levitt returning as the new Batman. I don’t suppose I’d be entirely opposed to the idea of Gordon-Levitt making an appearance as Batman in the upcoming Justice League film, but I’d really rather the character of Batman be left to animation for a while, let Nolan’s trilogy settle before kickstarting a new franchise from it. We’ll see.

    Anyway, my review of this film is on my site, if you’re interested. I’m still not sure if I like it more than the second film of the trilogy; I don’t want to like The Dark Knight more just because of Ledger’s Joker, and I don’t want to like The Dark Knight Rises more just because it’s the conclusion. So they’re pretty even in my book at this point.

    -Chad

    1. Chad,

      This was one of those movies I thought was flawed but still worthy of a perfect score. The flaws were not being able to understand Bane, perhaps too large a cast and not enough focus on Batman/Bruce Wayne. Yes I struggle to decide which of the three I like better. I really felt the emotion of Bruce losing his parents and his rise to power in the first, the Joker and the hostage sequence on the boat of the second, and of course the whole climatic end to the trilogy of the third. I’ll have to watch them all back to back to make a decision.

      My friend thought he was so smart because he saw the Talia bit coming, but he’s read the comics or seen the TV series or whatever, so he might as well have just read the Wikipedia article all the same.

      I don’t mind the whole Robin thing. As for his name, weren’t there multiple Robins not just one? If he’s the next Batman in the Justice League movie, so be it, because that means the film will steer clear of Nolan’s trilogy.

      -Stefan

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