THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Review: A Satisfying Conclusion To a Great Trilogy

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Review: A Satisfying Conclusion To a Great Trilogy

Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is over. His final chapter The Dark Knight Rises is now playing in theatres, so hit the jump to check out my spoiler-filled review of the film...

So much hype, so much anticipation, and now, it's finally over. Was The Dark Knight Rises worth waiting for? Absolutely. Below is my review, which is full of spoilers so if you haven't seen the film, stop reading right now!

The Dark Knight Rises has finally arrived, which concludes another Batman era. Directed by Christopher Nolan, it all started back 2005 with a rather brilliant Batman Begins. Giving us a little bit different and more realistic take on the character, the film heavily focused on the Bruce Wayne story, where Batman wasn't the main focus. This is something I loved, because Bale's performance was so brilliant and the supporting cast was spot on. The success of Begins was solid enough for studio, so they decided to move on with a sequel. Released in 2008, The Dark Knight was a game changer for comic book movies, according to many people. Before I move on with this review, I want to say that I disagree with that statement. While The Dark Knight certainly raised the bar, it was Batman Begins that started it all. For many reasons, I prefer Batman Begins to The Dark Knight, which could be one of the reasons why I truly loved the final chapter, The Dark Knight Rises.

I saw the film yesterday, and for some odd reason I was kind of nervous before seeing it. It could have been that feeling when you think, "What if it sucks? What if it doesn't live up to my expectations?" But let me tell you this... I had huge expectations. And The Dark Knight Rises surpassed them in a big way. It was that good. From the moment the film starts, you just know this is going to be a bigger, more brutal, more dramatic and emotional Batman film than any of the previous ones. Director Christopher Nolan once again triumphs with this last film, taking the character of Bruce Wayne to a painful journey. What Nolan did in TDK, from action scenes, to little character moments, it's all done better in this one. Every character has a room to breath, nothing is rushed, and everyone gets their moment. What I loved in this one, is how Nolan introduced new characters, and gave them background stories where each of them sort of connects. Pacing of the film is pretty much prefect. I had a problem with that in his previous films, but in this one, it never feels boring or uninteresting. Something is always happening, and it's happening for a reason. The film looks amazing. Cinematography is the best one of the three, and Wally Pfister once again shows his talent with some stunning shots. One thing I didn't quite like in The Dark Knight were the fight scenes. It all looked really bad and it was quite a mess, really. Here, the fight choreography is much better and it shows. The first fight scene between Batman and Bane is one of my favorite parts of the film. No music, just the two of them throwing punches at each other, and it was spectacular. You could see how Batman was struggling, and that was the highlight of the fight. Like I said, the action is bigger, better and more engaging. The music was amazing in the film. Hans Zimmer once again gives the film a great soundtrack, and it fits perfectly in every scene.

Christian Bale simply gives a stunning and emotional performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and he is even better than in the last two films. He makes you care for the character and what happens to him, and that's something not a lot of actors can do. Bale's performance and what he did with the character is a true heart of this trilogy and it should be remembered as such. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a new character called John Blake, and he plays it with perfection. Blake is a young cop, full of optimism during bad times in Gotham City. There is a scene in the film that gave me chills... when it is revealed that John Blake's legal name is actually Robin. That was a rather cool nod for the audience. While I had no problems whatsoever with Anne Hathaway playing Selina Kyle/Catwoman when they first announced it, I must admit that based on trailers, she didn't quite fit in this whole thing. But, after seeing the film in its entirety, she owned this role. She had some great material to work with, and there are some memorable scenes with her character. Gary Oldman was great as expected, giving another wonderful performance as Commissioner Gordon. This time he was much more involved in the whole story which makes it even better. One thing this film needed more... Michael Caine. While there is such a great scene between Bruce and Alfred, where they say goodbye to each other, Alfred should have been more in the film. Caine plays this character with such an emotional depth that an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor should happen this time around. Morgan Freeman was also really good, and it's great that Nolan decided to have Lucius Fox find out about what really happened to Batman/Bruce, and that he actually survived that explosion.

Marion Cotillard gives a solid performance as Miranda Tate/ Talia al Ghul, but there was something about her character that seemed off, especially when she died and how it all ended for her. I don't know, if there is a weak link in the script, it would be this character. And finally, the villain of the film... Tom Hardy as Bane. From the moment you see this character, you know he is not the one you want to mess with. Bane is a physical character, and they truly show that in the film. During the whole film, Bane is wearing a mask, so Hardy had to act with his eyes. And he pulled it off. Such a powerful performance. Also, his voice was great. There was maybe a scene or two where you can't really understand what he is saying, but nothing that lowers the quality of Hardy's acting. If I had to say what I didn't like in the film, it would be how they decided to kill Bane. It was anticlimactic, even though the fight scene at City Hall was spectacular. Also, some of the editing is sloppy. It could have been done a little bit better. I do have a few more nitpicks, but none of them outweigh all the great things in the film.

The Dark Knight Rises is a near-perfect film, with brilliant performances, direction and cinematography. Everything you wanted to see in the final chapter of Christopher Nolan's Batman saga is shown in this one. Featuring some really cool cameos, great and entertaining story, and a very satisfying ending, The Dark Knight Rises is an end of another Batman era, which will be remembered as one of the best trilogies in cinematic history.

RATING: 9.5/10

Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman, The Dark Knight Rises is now in theatres.

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NeoBaggins - 7/29/2012, 7:32 AM
John Blake is a great character.
tracydavis001 - 7/29/2012, 7:33 AM
Great article !!! I agree loved all three movies, and batman begins was my favorite !!
AthleticoPathetico - 7/29/2012, 7:38 AM
Fantastic write up. I saw it again last night and all of my previous complaints seemed to not be there this time. I agree with WolvieCBM this was an almost perfect movie!!!!
MrReese - 7/29/2012, 7:44 AM
nice write up!! I agree completely.Bane was not 2 be [frick]ed with. XD
ALegendaryPanda - 7/29/2012, 7:44 AM
Best movie of the year
CBMJamie - 7/29/2012, 7:45 AM
This review is at times poorly written and although I respect others opinions, the views of this article are some of the most overly positive yet.

Comments that Commissioner Gordon was more involved in the story of TDKR than the other films is completely nonsensical. Gary Oldman's role in this movie is beyond miniature for a movie of this scale, and is far less enjoyable or as engaging as his parts in BB and TDK.

Pacing is also something that both critics and fans have pointed out as an issue with the film yet this review claims it is 'pretty much perfect'.

The statement that 'Nothing is rushed...' is another I find unbelievable. If one thing, even those who loved the movie have said, is that the film is rushed and brushes over a number of plot-points and characters.

I have read many reviews (NOT ON CBM's HOMEPAGE)that are substantially better, even if I do not agree with the views they share.

Whilst I acknowledge that people have differing opinions, this review seems like it was produced by the head of Warner Brothers, with some quite bizarre thoughts on the film, not to mention a 9.5/10 rating that I find, in all honesty, astounding.
CBMJamie - 7/29/2012, 7:47 AM
I will note that whilst I did not enjoy this review, I do agree with you on the brilliance of the first Bane/Batman fight scene, the issues with action in TDK (even though I enjoyed BB), and your opinion that BB is somewhat under-rated and under-appreciated (it is also my favourite film of the trilogy).
dmm5 - 7/29/2012, 7:48 AM
Bane- "Of courshh"
95 - 7/29/2012, 7:52 AM
I really liked this film.

Agreed with your points.
Duhdaduh - 7/29/2012, 7:54 AM

let's see your review, dick lick
CBMJamie - 7/29/2012, 7:58 AM

It has been posted since the early hours of last Saturday morning. Feel free to read it. That's what it's there for.
Jolt17 - 7/29/2012, 7:58 AM
Great review, Wolvie, and as usual, spot on. Perhaps, though, I'm the only one who's not bothered at all with Bane's death...yes, he sure deserves something bigger, but after the "I will break you," moment, the City Hall battle, and the moment when he sheds a tear...I think I can't complain any more. And, John Blake-Grayson sounds a lot better to me than Robin John Blake. Thus, rather than that, his moment that gives me shivers is when he enters the cave instead - but, that's not a big deal.

I'd give it 8-8.5/10, because I find some of the flaws pretty disturbing; but, still, I mostly agree with your review. Oh, and...yes, Michael Caine deserves an award. He is so heartbreaking I nearly cried upon seeing his Alfred.
samsupes - 7/29/2012, 7:59 AM

You beat me to it. Saying this film wasn't rushed or that Gordon was used more than the previous films is like saying Sam Raimi overused Venom in SM3.

Good movie but far from perfect

Batman Begins 9/10
The Dark Knight 9.5/10
The Dark Knight Rises 8/10
MisterFixit - 7/29/2012, 7:59 AM
none of them surpassed BB, the best batman movie su far
Bodwulf - 7/29/2012, 8:00 AM
@dmm5 Bane's voice.
Jolt17 - 7/29/2012, 8:01 AM
Hans Zimmer's score makes the movie, I have to say. Without it, even the great moments (except for the tunnel battle) won't be as thrilling, I believe.
NerdyGeek - 7/29/2012, 8:02 AM
ImnotDaredevil - 7/29/2012, 8:02 AM
Good end to a great trilogy. Grif you are a legend, don't ever change;)
FilmsFan - 7/29/2012, 8:05 AM
Great review!

LOOOVED this film!!
CBMJamie - 7/29/2012, 8:06 AM

Thank you. It may seem strange to others but I find the praise for this review confusing. It highlights many of the films glaring flaws as matters worthy of significant praise.

Azrael725 - 7/29/2012, 8:09 AM
i've seen the movie twice now and i liked the movie so much more after the second viewing. i'll probably go see it again!
Tainted87 - 7/29/2012, 8:09 AM
Your mileage may vary
marvel72 - 7/29/2012, 8:09 AM
the best cbm trilogy ever!

batman begins 4/5
the dark knight 4/5
the dark knight rises 3/5

the dark knight trilogy 4/5
CBMJamie - 7/29/2012, 8:12 AM

That is true, at least in my book. Although BB didn't have a performance as compelling or as intricate as Heath's, the movie was far more exciting and interesting, than any other in the trilogy.

The ways in which the movie introduced the universe of Batman and told the origin story were outstanding.
CBMJamie - 7/29/2012, 8:13 AM

I think your ratings for each of the movies are highly reasonable and reflect close to, if not the same as, my own.
marvel72 - 7/29/2012, 8:18 AM
@ CBMJamie

yeah mate,there is just something about the dark knight rises its good but nowhere near as good as the previous two.
Zordan - 7/29/2012, 8:26 AM
great review
reignSupreme - 7/29/2012, 8:26 AM
i thought the movie was awesome and i think nolan might end up doing a nightwing/robin movie after this, why the set up if your not going to ya know plus it would be a charactor that is not in the mix of what they're gonna do with the justice league, so i say to you mister nolan make a nightwing movie now same universe with batmans villains
fedup - 7/29/2012, 8:28 AM
Being honest, Rises is my favorite of the three, though I concede that The Dark Knight is the better overall film.
InFamouslyCool - 7/29/2012, 8:29 AM
The fact everyone's talking about this movie shows it's the best.
Tainted87 - 7/29/2012, 8:30 AM
I thought it was sloppy, easily ranking third in the trilogy. Still, it holds the best fight scene in the series - Bane vs Batman.
G - 7/29/2012, 8:31 AM
A good movie, but not great. Nolan is getting too much credit on this one. Like, when someone's child commits a crime or a murder, their parents are in denial and still support their kid (he can do no wrong). Similarly, I think a lot of fans are in denial about this one. I'm a HUGE fan, and had high expectations, but it fell a little short for me, felt a little off. Nolan still has some sloppy and rushed editing after 3 films, the dialogue is still muffled and hard to hear. The fight scenes, I thought the choreography was not up to par. I think with each film, Nolan tries to continuously make things more "realistic". The Dark Knight fighting had a nice balance of fantasy/realism in the fight scenes (parking garage, Hong Kong office building, fundraiser dinner in Wayne Tower, SWAT team takedown, flying/gliding outside buildings, etc), but I found TDKR fight scenes a little too average and not as exciting.. no music, no batmobile, weak chases, weak fight choreography, sloppy fighting with batman/catwoman together on the roof, no gliding scenes, etc. Yeah, I get it, he's older & weaker. Maybe that's what I didn't like. It just didn't excite me.
G - 7/29/2012, 8:40 AM
InFamouslyCool - 7/29/2012, 8:29 AM

The fact everyone's talking about this movie shows it's the best.

Or, that they're in denial, and eagerly trying to convince themselves and others that it's "the best"
Tainted87 - 7/29/2012, 8:43 AM
Could also be euphoria. When I left the theater after seeing Die Another Day, I thought it was the best Bond movie EVER... and then I thought about it a little more and decided it was actually pretty bad.
CPBuff22 - 7/29/2012, 8:46 AM
I wasn't satisfied & I seen it twice. Good thing I didn't pay for either showing. Bring on the Reboot!
CBMJamie - 7/29/2012, 8:46 AM
InFamouslyCool's comment doesn't justify a reply

If his theory is correct, Avatar was one of the best films of all time, if not the best film of all time.
Tainted87 - 7/29/2012, 8:52 AM
Good for you! I threw $30 at this movie via IMAX for two.
xcrementus - 7/29/2012, 8:56 AM
When I left Avengers, i thought...that was everything I ever wanted. And i want more of it.

When I left Dark Knight Rises, i thought...Bruce, you totally screwed Alfred over by not actually DOING anything to let him know you're alive, and hoping he connects the dots from the pearls to go halfway across the world. Cus you're too lazy to call or write your only family, like a caring human person would.

And you're hanging out with a career criminal, who you've dedicated your life to stamping out.

And I also thought Catwoman's hot...which i guess is the only reason you trusted her a thousand times, cus God knows there wasn't really a substantial reason for that.

Too many "huh?" moments for me to be satisfying. But it all looks and sounds gorgeous. I'll stick to the first 2 though.
Chapel - 7/29/2012, 8:57 AM
For me, the best part of TDKR was the new flavored Mountain Dew...

5 years from now this movie will take its proper place beside X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a summer movie which was fun at times, but departed from the source material considerably and didn't really deliver what was expected overall.

That being said, it's the comic book trilogy standard for now until something better replaces it. I wouldn't put this trilogy up against the original Star Wars trilogy or the LOTR trilogy though.
Tainted87 - 7/29/2012, 9:02 AM
Star Wars IS the definitive trilogy. I still get goosebumps watching Return of the Jedi, especially when they begin their actual assault on the Death Star.
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