The Dark Knight Rises Review
Does the final conclusion in Nolan's trilogy live up to expectations?
The review you deserve, but not the one you need.
Don’t worry, no spoilers.
“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely – a legend, Mister Wayne.” It is finally here after 4 agonising years of waiting. The Dark Knight Rises, and returns for the final hooray in the epic Nolan Saga. Question: Does the opening quote a few lines ago ring any bells in your head? If not, rewatch both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before Rises. I’m serious – the events of Rises are tightly linked to its predecessors, and watching the first two will provide you with the necessary backstory to fully appreciate the thrilling conclusion to The Dark Knight Legend.
8 years after the events of The Dark Knight, Gotham is now in a state of unprecendented peace after The Dent Act. The forementioned act essentially allowed the police to put criminals behind bars and keep the streets clean. Batman is now in exile having taken the fall for Dent’s crimes. However, Comissioner Gordon is tormented by the knowledge that the current peace in Gotham is the result of a lie which painted Batman as a villain and Dent as a hero. However, all of this is about to change with the arrival of Bane, who threatens to do what the Joker failed to do – destroy Gotham for good.
While Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon reprise their previous roles, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard are the new entrants playing Selina Kyle, Bane and Miranda Tate respectively.
Now that all the boring stuff’s out of the way, let’s begin.
One of the problems I had going into the film is that I had ridiculously high expectations of it. I watched the trailers, devoured the viral material and never missed a single TV spot. I believe my emotions after watching Rises were similar to other fanboys – it was really good, the ending was powerful and the action was engaging. However, upon further reflection, I started to get a little nitpicky. I realised tiny plot holes and other gripes that I never really had with The Dark Knight or Batman Begins. You see, Christopher Nolan is to some extent, a victim of his own talent. Begins was good, Dark Knight was better and the logical assumption is that Rises will be the best. Nolan understood that if a sequel to Dark Knight was made it would have to be better than its predecessor. Thus he pushes the boundaries, bringing Rises to a level previously unseen, pushing the boundaries of any superhero movie that can still be considered “Real”. Many new characters are introduced and mysterious motives established. However, that’s when a problem starts – it becomes muddling and too tightly packed. I believe that Rises was intended to be 3 and a half hours long because some of the character development and screen time was unsatisfactory, namely for John Blake and Alfred respectively. Also, Batman himself does not really feature as much as you’d expect him to. He takes a good 40 minutes to even appear. Instead, we are treated to more of Bruce Wayne, and Nolan does a good job here in exploring the emotional and mental aspects of the character. We see a rugged man clearly suffering the reprecussions of his actions, a man struggling to “rise” and bring himself together after all he’s been through. He’s clearly no longer in his prime and in a rather fragile state and for this very reason, my favourite character is Alfred, because his dialogues with Wayne were one of my personal highlights of the movie. Alfred’s conversations with Wayne are just chock-full of emotion and love, and we see how much he truly cares for Wayne. However, Alfred’s role is rather diminished in Rises, which is rather disappointing as I’d have liked to see more of the character.
Another problem is in the plot itself. As you may have sensed in the previous paragraph, it’s flimsy at best when compared to The Dark Knight. It’s good with a few good twists here and there, but not what we’d expect from a mastero like Nolan. I won’t spoil anything, but I’d say that the beginning is murky and slow, and the whole movie felt a little “Hollywood”-like. Feel free to interpret that however you want to. I loved the ending though, mainly because of the powerful emotion generated by Hans Zimmer’s soundtracks. While we’re on Zimmer, I must say I loved his music more than ever here, especially the Deshay Basara track. Full of raw power and feeling, the way it should be.
The action in this movie is rather good though.The fight scenes involving Bane are really brutal and will have you on the edge of your seat. The vehicle fight-sections are also praiseworthy, although none of them are quite as memorable as the truck-flip from The Dark Knight.
All in all, Rises is a thrilling conclusion to The Dark Knight Legend. There are plot holes and some moments that’d make you go “really?”, but all my gripes are just minor complaints surrounding a very satisfying core in a third installment that’d leave you begging for more.
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