Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan has done what no other comic book film trilogies could ever do. He actually managed to make a good third film, and a complete trilogy. The first film centered around Bruce Wayne's anger and quickly focused on him overcoming his fears. The second film centered on the chaos that followed him to Gotham due to his eccentric nature as the Batman. While the third, helps bring everything full circle and Bruce has to overcome a great amount of pain, both physical and emotional, in order to save his city. Nolan has done a terrific job of recreating this iconic characters in a hyper realistic way that others would struggles to pull off. Case and point, look at Bane in the Batman and Robin film. His third film has it's share of flaws, but excels in selling a good story and it's connection to Batman Begins really helps make it into a complete film. The Dark Knight Rises is also more of a look behind the cowl of Batman as we see much more of Bruce Wayne in this film. The fans that preferred Batman Begins over The Dark Knight will find themselves loving this film even more due to that fact.
The film takes place eight years after the events of The Dark Knight and Batman has been gone for eight years following Dent's turn to madness. Dent's death forced the law enforcement to create a new law called the Dent Act which kept criminals locked up. Gotham City has been peaceful with no organized crime in quite some time. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has lived in recluse following Rachel's death but every year he throws a party in honor of Dent. One of the maids turns out to be Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), who is an expert thief and manages to steal the pearl necklace that Wayne's mother wore on the night she was murdered. Bruce notices that she also dusted his safe for his own prints while Alfred (Michael Caine) explains to him that he has not lived since he put away the cowl. Bruce feels that he had nothing to live for once Rachel died. Now with a new evil rising in the underbelly of Gotham City and this thief, Bruce feels that there is once again a need for the Batman.
Alfred worries that Bruce is quickly jumping back into the suit to give him something to do, completely unafraid of what may happen to himself. Furthermore, he worries that Bruce is welcoming death. Bruce has sustained a handful of injuries in his years as the Batman and has plenty of structural damage throughout his body. Bane (Tom Hardy) is the new evil rising in Gotham City and has his sights set on destroying it while slowing breaking the Bat. Batman begins to loses everything he holds dear to him over time and must find himself again in order to stop Bane and his plan. Batman also sees a new ally in a young, brash cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), although the kid is a bit naive. Blake works closely with both Gordon and the Batman, frequently relaying information to the both of them. Batman relates to Selina Kyle and tries to get through to her compassionate side despite her rough exterior as he knows that in order to defeat Bane he will need her help.
The Dark Knight Rises is a good movie, but not on the level of The Dark Knight. In my own opinion, Nolan's heart wasn't in Rises as much as it was in his previous installment. It isn't shocking considering the fact that he was so devastated by the death of Heath Ledger. Rises was still an incredibly entertaining film thanks to great performances given by the main actors but it was not a complete film like The Dark Knight. The timeline of the film has some inconsistencies and even has a plot hole at the end of the film, which I will not spoil. Point being, it furthers my point that a director that is as talented as Nolan, would not overlook this details if his heart was fully invested in it. As far as the acting goes as I mentioned before, Bale gives his best performance in the role in this film. A lot of people have an issue with his raspy voice as the Bat, but I have never found it to be an issue. In fact, I think it is a great addition to the role as it adds to the fear that he tries to instil upon the criminals he fights against on a daily basis. Many had issues with the casting of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, but she nailed it. So much so that I think it is easy to say she gives the best portrayal of the character to date. It goes a long way that she has tremendous on screen chemistry with Christian Bale. Tom Hardy as Bane is a mixed bag with viewers mostly because of his voice. I have seen the film twice now, and in my first viewing I thought he sounded way too much like Sean Connery, but in my second viewing I liked Bane much more. Obviously, his physical presence on the film is felt from the very beginning. His presence is felt by his confidence in the role and the intensity in his eyes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also impresses in his role as John Blake. It is slightly a weak character in general but he manages to make it a likable one simply because of his performance. Every scene with Michael Caine in this film is emotional, and his chemistry with Bale goes a long way in that regard. The other great aspect of this film is the musical score composed by Hans Zimmer. Zimmer has worked with Nolan quite a bit lately and his theme for Catwoman was terrific in my opinion. All in all, it is a good movie. I won't dispute that, but it misses on a few marks that could have potentially made it into a terrific one. I don't want to say exactly what they are as I don't want to spoil anything for people that have not seen the movie.