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My Thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises (No Spoilers)

Updated on December 29, 2012

Before I start, let us all pay homage to the poor individuals lost last night at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colorado. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. May they see justice served and know that millions of thoughts and prayers are with them. May all their loved ones rest in peace.

The wait is finally over and The Dark Knight Rises has been released for the views of movie goers all around. I was able to catch the midnight premiere last night and I have to say, I was blown away by what I saw. I will give my thoughts on the film without dwelling too much into the story or any spoilers, but I can safely say that I was amazed by this film and the epic ending it gave to one, amazing trilogy that only Christopher Nolan could be capable of.

As the final film within this trilogy, we finally see what has become of Gotham after Joker's brutal plans and attacks on it. It would seem that Batman and Commissioner Gordon's plan to cover up the late Harvey Dent's murders and crimes by framing Batman has payed off beautifully. Organized crime is now a thing of the past and thousands of criminals are finally jailed with no chance of parole thanks to the newly enacted Dent Act.

However, not all is well on the inside; the burden of saving the city based off a lie eats away at Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne to the point that their lives have deteriorated. Gordon's wife leaves him and takes the children while Wayne stays within his mansion for eight years, becoming an urban legend in Gotham along with Batman, who no longer appears now that crime is almost nonexistent. This harkens to one the themes of the movie; that when things seem great, there is something just beneath the surface that can destroy eight years of hard work in one night. In this case, that metaphor is not only figurative, but literal later on in the film. The story soon shoots off with the appearance of Selina Kyle, Bane, ancient secrets of Ra's al Ghul, the fate of Wayne Enterprises, and a sinister conspiracy that connects all these seemingly unrelated aspects together.

To start off, I will say that I loved the tone of this movie; it was grim, gritty, tragic, and completely indicative of the character of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Some critics have complained that the movie was far too grim and devoid of humor, but I cannot honestly see it any other way given the circumstances of the movie. The main theme is how long Bruce will lets this thing called Batman govern his life and let the feelings of anger, hatred, and loss, only amplified after his battle with the Joker, consume his reality. The movie isn't completely devoid of humor mind you, but I think the lack of it relevant to the other films was a wise choice and fit in perfectly with the theme of the movie.

The film's settings take place eight years after the events of the Dark Knight and, even if it's only four years in our reality, it truly feels like eight years when watching the film. Much has changed in Gotham for seemingly the better, while Bruce has changed for the worse and is letting the grief over his fallen loved ones consume his life. We feel the passage of time for Gotham even if it is different for us as viewers, which is testament to Nolan's great job of creating a story and character development that truly feels as if eight years have passed, which it actually has since Batman Begins.

The story is thought provoking and does a great job at connecting back to the first one, making the entire trilogy have a very satisfying, full circle feel to it. Nolan truly branches off into some unexplored territory the likes of which have never been shown before in over 70 years of Batman lore. I have to commend Nolan for making such brave and bold choices throughout the film and, while some will cry blasphemy by some of his choices with Batman's character, it is ultimately a refreshing and interesting take on Batman. It's these same choices that continuously keep Batman fresh and engaging, allowing him to stay within the media for so long.

The performances, as usual, were simply top notch. The actors who have played characters throughout all three films, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman, have truly developed a relationship with their characters and it shows off beautifully in this final chapter. Bale may have proven to be a great Batman, but this film truly shows just how amazing he plays an emotional and distraught Bruce Wayne that must once again rekindle his calling and rise.

Morgan Freeman brings back his laid back, sarcastic, but ultimately caring and intelligent demeanor back to the film, while Gary Oldman shows just the emotional tole it takes to be the police commissioner of Gotham for so long. Michael Caine might have some of the most emotional scenes in the movie that truly show the father figure Alfred is for Wayne and how much love is between them. However, I will say that Alfred made a choice within the film that seems very contradictory to his entire character that I didn't wholly agree with. It works within the story, but I just didn't think his character would ever do it. Without giving too much away I will say one line Alfred states twice in Batman Begins that makes up his whole character that seemed to be contradicted within this film; "Never".

The new cast members aren't too shabby either with Tom Hardy playing a truly menacing Bane, finally allowing viewers to forget the atrocity of Bane from a certain film that doesn't even deserve mention some years ago. He truly shows the absolute brilliance and military mind Bane has as well as his inhuman lust for violence. His backstory and origins are revealed throughout the film and add to the compelling nature of his character that is later explored towards the end.

However, as great as Bane is, he is no Joker in terms of personality and complexity and, of course, he shouldn't, but this does make Bane less interesting as a villain. He has a huge presences in each scene he is in, but he does not bring that amazing awe that Joker easily did in each and every scene he was in. It was a very curious thing during the middle of the movie for me; I really missed the Joker and wondered what his character was up to in this movie. Has he given up on Batman? Is he ever going to be a threat again?

I know Nolan refused to mention Joker out of respect for Heath Ledger (may he rest in peace), but something sure felt empty in the film with no mention of Joker whatsoever. This is not to begrudge Bane, but I believe that most fans will come to miss Joker halfway through the film because he was truly the perfect villain for Batman and to have a conclusion with no mention of Batman's greatest enemy makes it all the more sad in another light. I do think a line or two would've been a nice honor for both Heath and the character, but that's just my opinion.

Anne Hathaway is the one who amazed me the most as I thought she was far too innocent and cute to play a bad girl like Catwoman, but the moment this young woman showed up on screen, I was sold. She played the part beautifully as a beautiful, sarcastic, bad girl, but ultimately principled, cat burgler with a sex appeal to match her costume. She was a mysterious character that truly played off the grim character of Batman; Bale and Hathaway definitely had great chemistry between these roles. I guess it just goes to show you that any actor or actress can play a great part with a lot of focus and preparation; Hathaway obviously had both with flying colors.

Lastly, Joseph Gordon and Marion Coillard did flawless jobs as Gordon (the actor) plays an intelligent police officer with a good sense of moral while Marion plays another beautiful, strong female who adds more mystique to the rising tension of the film. Pay close attention to these two because their performances will surely impress you and they have a huge role within the film than what was initially believed, at least by me.

This is one emotional movie and expect to be truly taken by countless scenes that will make you forget you are in a movie theater. The ending will also leave you with a sad, but fulfilled sense as the characters you have watched for nearly a decade conclude their stories and move on in their respective lives. Will Bruce Wayne ever be happy and move away from Batman? Will Gotham ever be safe enough to never need Batman? These answers are the main themes of The Dark Knight Rises and will be answered in mind blowing scenes.

The story is amazing, the acting is top notch, the soundtrack is captivating, and the themes are intelligent and thought provoking; this is one movie that will stay with you for a long time, especially the ending. So, what's my final verdict? This is an amazing movie that sends the proper farewell to this franchise and the amazing characters it developed. It's an emotional, bold, and fresh perspective on this symbol known as Batman. While it is not as flawless as The Dark Knight, which is still my personnel favorite, due to a less interesting villain and some jumbled plot points, it is extremely close, and that's saying quite a bit. 9 out of 10.

Again, let us all pay homage to the poor individuals lost last night at a midnight screening. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. May they see justice be served and know that millions of thoughts and prayers are with them. May all their loved ones rest in peace. Take care everyone.


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    • Dominique L profile image

      Dominique L 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      I think we'll have to agree to disagree. As I see what you are saying and I would agree, it's just that I don't think Nolan was consistant enough in his interpretation to sell it. That's all.

    • thejokethatkills profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      It seems to me that Bruce stopped being Batman not because of a tragedy but because there wasn't much need for him anymore after he took the blame for Dent's murders. We have to remember that this is a more realistic take on Batman so criminals are not going to be escaping every other day from maximum secruity. In Nolan's reality, many of these criminal are caught and are kept locked up while the more outlandish villains do not exist. In this canon, it is very plausible for Gotham to actually get better whereas in the comics the city seems to get progressively worst with dozens of more villains being born and escaping everyday. Here, the whole theme of the trilogy is that things do get better to the point where Batman is not actually necessary; the police can handle things now in these peaceful times.

      The movie explains that the Dent Act imprisoned thousands of criminals and Gotham is finally at peace. Bruce has actually been waiting for a reason to come back as Batman as Alfred mentions. The city is cleaned up, but Bruce is still not living a life. So, overall, Batman was really no longer needed and came back when true crime emerged back. Had the city been in chaos, Batman would come right back in no time, but, as many characters mention, things have been very peaceful.

      I also remember Batman making a point of telling Catwoman not to use guns; what she does beyond that is really beyond his control because he can't stop fighting to save lives and defend himself to give her a lesson. Batman does not use guns and is against the use of them well; both factors are illustrated pretty well within the trilogy.

      You may have a point about leaving Ra's, but it still was not cold blooded murder and perhaps this is another artifact of Nolan trying to add a realistic tone to Batman. It's get a little ridiculous in the comics when Batman goes out of his way to save criminals from deaths when they will only kill millions of more. Not killing them is fine, but to actually save them from their own self inflicted deaths makes Batman seem far too selfish as a hero. Nolan made it plausible how these villains can die without Batman giving up his sense of morale and makes him all the more realistic and heroic.

    • Dominique L profile image

      Dominique L 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      If it hadn't been for The Dark Knight, I would agree with you. But the philosophy changed from movie to movie. In Batman Begins, we had Batman letting Ras Al Ghul die, which is very un-Batman like. Then in The Dark Knight, we start in with the whole "no guns" thing and not letting The Joker fall. Then we're back to being okay with Catwoman using guns. In the first movie, Batman is a temporary thing. Then in the next one, no, Bruce MUST be Batman, then in the next one, he's willing to give it all up because of a tragedy, even though it was a tragedy that started it all. And Bane in this movie is actually basically the same as in Batman & Robin (smack me for saying that, you should), but I can't go too much into that without spoiling stuff (feel free to e-mail me if you'd like a justification for saying such a nasty thing).

    • thejokethatkills profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      I would have to respectfully disagree to the extreme. I think Nolan has done a fantastic job with the character of Batman and the inner psychology of the man inside the monster. I understand that his origin story has been rewritten quite a bit, but I loved it because Nolan used the appropriate aspects and villains to make it work. I'm not sure where Nolan did a disservice to the character at all. Born from fear and using that same fear to become the symbol criminals fear has always been in Batman and Nolan showed it off in a beautiful and artistic form that has never really been done so well before in my opinion.

    • Dominique L profile image

      Dominique L 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      I'm with you, I sincerely hope the police get justice for the people who were killed and injured in that attack. It was a horrible thing to happen.

      Now, about the movie, I'm half with you. Frankly, on thinking about the movie, I'm actually a little disappointed. I found that this movie had all the problems that Batman Begins had. I still loved Batman Begins, and I loved this one, but I wasn't bowled over like everyone else was.

      I'm one of the people crying blasphemy. As the writers showed us in the first movie, they really don't understand the characters they're dealing with. Batman and Bane especially. By the time we get to Alfred doing what you can't forgive, which normally I wouldn't agree with, I didn't care as the other characters had been screwed up. Which is especially disappointing as, in The Dark Knight, they seemed to be getting it right.

      I thought the story, like Batman Begins, was unweildy and a little ham fisted in communicating some of its ideas simply because it took on too much and couldn't take it's time to develop any of the ideas.

      I also don't think this was particularly original. It was a unique mixing of ideas from various other Batman fiction, particularly the cartoon, which I was VERY pleased to see them borrowing from, but it also seemed to me to be the easy way out. By the time we got to the last 20 minutes, I was calling the movie scene for scene, which was a little disappointing for a Nolan film.

      Good movie. Not great.


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