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My Thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises (No Spoilers)
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.