The Dark Knight Rises: A great movie following on the heels of better
Get ready to despair. There's a catharsis in seeing someone beaten down only to rise up and defeat his enemies. If that's what you're looking for, I suspect you're still not completely ready for The Dark Knight Rises.
But first, the story:
The movie starts 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse and Batman has disappeared from sight. Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) has been able to largely clean up the streets of Gotham, thanks to a piece of legislation passed in honor of the late Harvey Dent.
But as always happens in this kind of movie, peace is never more than the calm before the storm.
A mercenary named Bane (Tom Hardy) has raised a small army of loyal followers and is preparing for something big in Gotham. A cat burglar named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) seems to have some kind if interest in Bruce Wayne himself for some reason. And even the faithful butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), appears to be fed up with the very idea of Batman.
Meanwhile, the lovely visionary Miranda (Marion Cotillard) is trying to interest Bruce Wayne in alternative power and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) has been having trouble keeping Wayne Enterprise's revenues afloat.
There's also a young piss-and-vinegar cop named Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who, despite the stories being told about the Batman regarding the death of Harvey Dent, still believes in his hero and nothing seems to ever convince him otherwise.
There are so many pieces at play in this movie that it's amazing that Nolan has managed to make it as intelligible as it is. But even then ... let's just say that there's a story twist or two that might leave you scratching your head. Not that they're hard to follow. They just feel a little out-of-nowhere.
Try these other bat-titles
Dot Dot Dot
That being said, it's still a good movie and there is plenty of fun action. But for a Batman movie, there's precious little of the bat in it. For this story to work, it's important for Batman to be out of the story for large parts of it. And there's a satisfying payoff at the end. But, in the middle of the movie, fans may feel that they were sold a bill of goods.
Now, to say that the story is a roller-coaster would be to misrepresent it. Roller coasters go both up and down. And for most of this movie, up is not in its vocabulary.
In this final movie of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, Bruce Wayne starts off fairly beaten down. But he gets up and is beaten down again. But don't expect the titular 'rising' any time soon. This is a movie that throws its main character down to hit rock bottom then, with a self-satisfied sneer, digs a new hole and finds an even rockier bottom.
This is a movie that shows you the meaning of despair.
Which makes the 'rising' oh so satisfying when it happens.
Even if the movie does feel a little bit too long.
Now after seeing what Heath Ledger did with the Joker, there were some high expectations for Bane. Sadly, I'd have to say that Bane is not really as developed a character as you may like. He's not completely flat, but he is fairly one-note.
It's also as if Bane heard all the complaints that people made regarding Christian Bale's growly voice and said "Now I'll show you what real incomprehensible dialog sounds like." There's a reverberating, muffled effect on his voice, (meant to be a result of the mask he wears) that at times makes him oh so hard to understand.
Okay, so I know I've said a whole lot of negative things about the movie. Don't take that the wrong way. It's a very satisfying movie and very well made. It's just that after The Dark Knight, public expectations for a sequel have never been so high in recent years and it's hard not to see where it fell short.
I've said before, that when your siblings are all thirteen feet tall, there's no shame in standing a mere eleven. The Dark Knight Rises is a very good and engaging movie, even if it does come on the heels of a great one (Batman Begins) and an excellent one (The Dark Knight).
The movie is engaging and never dull.
The soundtrack is excellent.
The acting from the returning characters is more than up-to-par, and the new characters do their jobs admirably.
The movie could do with a few more new bat-gadgets, but Batman's flying machine is pretty cool and the Bat Pod is still kicking some serious tail.
And it sums up the entire trilogy of movies very well in deed, along with clips from the first two movies, and a couple appearances from characters you'll easily recognize.
Now, knowing that Nolan had envisioned this as a trilogy, I'll just say that the ending that we got was, maybe, less than ideal, but actually okay. But believe me when I say I was ready to brace myself for so much worse.
But what do you think?
For me, this one comes in at just below Batman Begins with an 8 / 10.
The Dark Knight Rises is rated PG-13 for intense action violence, some sensuality and a bit of language.
More by this Author
The Horatio Hornblower movie series is a wonderful adaptation of C.S. Forrester's novels. Here I make a character study to focus on how the film makers brought the character of Archie Kennedy to life.
AVP mixes two great franchises and, oddly takes maybe a slight step down, but still ends up as a fairly enjoyable outing.
Why do we like scary movies? Many people have their own answers to this question. Here are three possibilities.