The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Origin of Batman
The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Bob Kane, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Juno Temple, Morgan Freeman, Josh Pence, Nestor Carbonell, Matthew Modine, Alon Aboutboul, Ben Mendelsohn, Burn Gorman, Daniel Sunjata, Aidan Gillen, Sam Kennard
Synopsis: Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Origin of Catwoman
Origin of Bane
If you make yourself more than just a man, and dedicate yourself to an ideal, then you become something else entirely...a legend Mr. Wayne...a legend..
After the premiere of arguably the greatest super hero film ever made, it seems only fitting that Nolan would return to finish the trilogy of Batman. Although there's been many different cinematic adaptations of Batman throughout the years, Christopher Nolan has taken on a more grounded, gritty and perhaps more psychological approach to the Dark Knight. Not only exploring psychologically what sequence of events transpire Bruce Wayne to become Batman, but also exploring many complex universal themes that most superhero films wouldn't dare cover. Indeed, whether you like the way Nolan handled the character or not, there's no debating that his trilogy has been by far the most successful among both critics and box office results collectively.
Before I dive into my review of this latest chapter in Nolan's Batman saga, I feel it's best to go over my thoughts previously on the last two films. During "Batman Begins", I was impressed by the movie a lot. Not only did I applaud Nolan for his gritty and realistic approach to the character, but it was kind of interesting to see how Nolan was able to add psychological layers, to the story line. Although the actions scenes weren't exactly the best in "Batman Begins", but it was still an all around great superhero origin movie.
As for "The Dark Knight", what can I really say that hasn't been already said? It's clearly the best superhero film ever made. Not only exploring controversial and psychological pathos that most comic book films wouldn't explore, but it ends on a bitter note that's very unique for it's genre. Anyway, without further delay, let's dive into this review of "The Dark Knight Rises."
After years of anticipation, "The Dark Knight Rises" finally comes to theaters to close Nolan's Batman trilogy. Will it live up to the hype? Or will it fail like so many third movies do in other film franchises? Well, lets find out. The story takes place eight years after the events of "The Dark Knight." Batman is no more, as Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has completely shut himself off from world. His business is going bankrupt, and everyone in Gotham City presumes Batman is a murderer that killed the city's fallen hero, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Everything seems peaceful, as the new "Dent Law" allows for law enforcement to carry more power, to instill order on the streets.
Unfortunately, this new peace if short lived, as a sinister threat known only as Bane (Tom Hardy) emerges; along with the remaining members of the league of shadows. As it would seem, they've come to finish the job that Ras Al Ghul (Liam Neeson) started years ago, by destroying Gotham City for it's corruption and deceit of peace based on a lie. To make matters more interesting, a mysterious Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) appears in Gotham City as well. Is she an enemy? Or perhaps a misunderstood ally? Needless to say, Bane soon proves to be far greater of a threat than the Gotham police anticipated, so Bruce Wayne is forced to don the cape and cowl once more. However, could this be a threat be too big even for the Dark Knight to survive? Well, I can't say without giving too much away. However, I have to say I'm a little disappointed with this one.
Don't get me wrong, I loved "The Dark Knight Rises", and I especially liked the characterizations presented for Bane, Catwoman and Batman. Heck, I also found some of the clever plot twists be quite clever as well around certain key characters. Unfortunately, I'd be lying to a lot of readers if I said this was a flawless superhero film, as it's not. For starters, the love triangle between Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), Bruce Wayne/Batman, and Catwoman feels often rushed at times; which makes the plot twist around one of them less than impressive around the ending as a direct result.
The film also suffers from various plot holes that do tend to get distracting. Granted, it probably won't bother the average movie goer, but it's worth pointing out. One of these plot holes consists of Bane's elaborate scheme to bankrupt Bruce Wayne. Don't get me wrong, I understand the idea is to financially cripple Batman, so he won't be a big threat to the league of shadows. However, earlier in the movie, they already established that Bruce Wayne neglectfully didn't invest his money well after he gave up being Batman. Therefore, doesn't that kind of undermine the whole elaborate scheme to bankrupt him to begin with?
Plus, in a later scene, Bruce Wayne is locked up in a prison in another country. Meanwhile, Gotham City is taken hostage by the league of shadows, where nobody gets out or into the city. Granted, they show how Bruce manages to escape the prison, but they never explain how he manages to get back into Gotham City easily. And to add even more insult to injury, one of the characters in the film is able to deduce Batman's true identity by mere observation of Bruce Wayne. Yes, I know this same logic worked in the Batman comics, when Bane was first introduced. Unfortunately, what works in a comic book doesn't necessarily equate to working in films, as those are two entirely different mediums.
Another flaw this film suffers from is that unless you've seen the last two movies, then you're not going to be able to follow it. Unlike "The Dark Knight" that was still able to be a continuation of "Batman Begins", but still managed to stand on it's own merit, "The Dark Knight Rises" suffers from the idea that the plot heavily relates to the events of the previous films. For example, the league of shadows being led by Bane is more of a continuation relating to the events of "Batman Begins"; while adding more mystique to Bruce's former mentor, Ras Al Ghul. The subplot about how Gotham's hopes fall when the city finds out the true nature of the late Harvey Dent; heavily relates to the events of "The Dark Knight." Granted, if you've been following this movie series, then it does bring the whole thing full circle. However, if you're a newcomer into this series, then it's easy to get lost at times.
As I said before, this isn't a bad movie by any means. If anything, it's still a helluva a lot better than half the superhero films ever made; which isn't saying a lot considering most superhero films range from mediocre to terrible, while producing only a few great ones here and there. However, I'm sure most readers will get the idea.
Unlike the previous Batman movies that Nolan handled, this one seems to contain the most action out of all of them. Plus, it definitely brings a lot of closure to Bruce Wayne's story, while still hinting at the possibility that Nolan could continue the universe if he choose to.
As for those doubting Anne Hathaway, I should tell you that you needn't worry. Anne is arguably the best Catwoman since Michelle Pfeiffer. In fact, I'm probably one of the rare few that would dare argue that Anne is better at the part than Michelle was back in the day. As for those doubting the realism of her costume meshing in with Nolan's modernized world for Batman, then you'll be quite surprised once you see this film, as she definitely meshes quite well in it.
As for the rest of the cast, I thought they all handled their performances well. Apart from some minor pacing issues, the film's editing wasn't too bad, and the special effects are exactly what you'd expect from a movie like this.
Overall, I'd probably have to say this is the weakest movie in Nolan's Batman trilogy, but it's still a good superhero film to watch that provides closure to the Dark Knight's journey. In the end, I'd have to give this film a solid three out of four, and it's still worth checking out in theaters if you haven't seen it already.