Josh Wilding Reviews: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Blu-Ray (Film And Special Features)

The Dark Knight Rises is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Hit the jump for my in-depth verdict on Christopher Nolan's finale to his Batman franchise, as well as my thoughts on the picture/sound quality and special features.

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By Josh Wilding - 12/10/2012

In Batman Begins, Ra's Al Ghul told Bruce Wayne that he would have to become more than just a man in order to become something else entirely; a legend. In that same vein, Christopher Nolan's epic finale to his Batman saga is more than just a film. It's a pulse-pounding experience like no other, and not only the best comic book movie to date, but one of the greatest blockbusters to ever grace the big screen. Quite possibly Nolan's best film to date, it's as emotional as it is complex and action packed. In fact, The Dark Knight Rises is flawless in nearly every respect. The story features so many brilliant twists and turns, it's hard to sum it up in a just a few lines, but suffice to say that it is a journey which will keep you thoroughly engrossed for the entire two hour and forty four minute running time.

Introducing a lot of new characters rarely works for any sequel (see: Iron Man 2, Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand) but Nolan encounters no such problems with making the likes of Bane, John Blake, Miranda Tate, Selina Kyle, and the rest all feel like they truly belong in this world and essential to the story being told. As the film enters it third act, there are a few sure to be controversial reveals and twists which may not sit well with hardcore fans. However, given the context of the universe created by Christopher Nolan, they all work perfectly. If you go into The Dark Knight Rises expecting a brainless blockbuster, you'll get very little out of it. It's a film which demands your attention and is sure to only get better and better on repeat viewings.

In terms of performances, this is without a doubt Christian Bale's best turn as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He goes through many stages during the course of The Dark Knight Rises, and Batman has never felt as real and as human as he does in this instalment. This time, Bruce and Batman don't feel quite so separate - Bale's performance truly shines through. Tom Hardy's Bane may not quite be up there with Heath Ledger's Joker, but they're so very different that comparisons between the two are unnecessary and unfair. The fact is, he is perfect in this role and what he does with his eyes alone is incredible. There are perhaps only a few lines in the movie which can't be made out, but the voice REALLY works and makes him all the more terrifying a bad guy. Anne Hathaway also transforms herself, quite literally at an early point in the film, as Selina Kyle. She is teriffic and the beautiful actress steals almost every scene she appears in, making Catwoman (who is never referred to by that name, despite a cute hint early on) a fully fleshed out and relatable character.

Joseph Gordon Levitt's John Blake is another major addition to the cast and the actor again proves that he is one of the best talents in Hollywood. Considering that he is yet another new character in an already packed out cast, full credit goes to him for making Blake stand out (although like everyone else, his part is extremely well-written. Marion Cotillard isn't quite so well fleshed out when we first meet her, although the Miranda Tate character (and her actions) are sure to be one of the biggest talking points in years to come. It all works out regardless and the actress is a pleasure to watch. Juno Temple (Holly Robinson) and Matthew Modine (Deputy Commissioner Foley) also impress. Returning actors Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Jim Gordon) and Michael Caine (Alfred) all deliver the quality performances we've come to expect, with the latter two deliver a wonderful level of emotion and heart to proceedings. It's incredible just what a wealth of talent there is in The Dark Knight Rises. Even actors with the most minor of roles are recognisable faces (keep an eye out for stars of everything from The Wire to Prison Break, Torchwood and Supernatural) giving this an air of quality that few films can compete with.

Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were both flawed in terms of action, but there's no doubting that this is Nolan's best. The various chase sequences are awe-inspiring - 'The Bat' is a truly magnificent sight to behold - and will leave you sitting there with your jaw on the floor. Truly amazing stuff. Batman's first battle with Bane drops the score and is violent, brutal and quite frankly a frightening sight to behold. Bane is an imposing villain and this is emphasised with how he overpowers everyone around him; the Caped Crusader in particular. A fight which takes place later on in the film (on the steps of City Hall) is equally as impressive. An entire review could be devoted to discussing the set pieces and fight sequences - Selina Kyle moves exactly as you would hope and imagine - but all you really need to know is that The Dark Knight Rises is a spectacle like no other. The special effects are also flawless, but kudos to Nolan for clearly keeping as much of the film as practical as possible. The magnificent story and action is all punctuated by Hans Zimmer's incredible score, and he too outdoes himself here. In terms of picture quality, the Blu-ray is stunning, although the switches between the scenes that were and were not filmed in IMAX are a little jarring at times. The sound if also top notch, though Bane's voice does seem to be louder than everyone else. Still, a minor complain in the grand scheme of thing!

In terms of flaws, it really is hard to find any. The Dark Knight Rises occasionally relies on the viewer having a good knowledge of the past two instalments a little too much, but that's to be expected from a third part of a trilogy. There are a few moments which may upset hardcore comic book fans, but it would be foolish to allow that to affect your enjoyment of the film as they all work so utterly perfectly and there are so many others to appreciate. Batman Begins was a great origin story and The Dark Knight was a near-perfect sequel which didn't get anywhere near as much awards recognition as it should have. However, The Dark Knight Rises delivers on being the epic conclusion we were promised and should result in Nolan nabbing his first Academy Award. It will make you laugh, have you close to tears and punching the air with sheer joy and excitement. Marvel's The Avengers held the "Best Comic Book Movie Ever" crown for as long as it could. The Dark Knight Rises has set a new benchmark for the genre and blockbusters as a whole. Wow.

There aren't enough adjectives in existence to fully describe what an amazing film The Dark Knight Rises is. A satisfying and emotional conclusion to a trilogy which will go down in history as one of the best ever. This is Christopher Nolan's crowning achievement and the perfect Batman film.






SPECIAL FEATURES

Disappointingly, there's no sign of any deleted scenes. Those of you hoping for a director's commentary will also be sorely disappointed. However, the disc more than makes up for that with a great selection of featurettes which cover just about every facet of the film you could hope to learn more about. Seeing these highlights just how incredible a filmmaker Christopher Nolan really is, while we also get to hear from some slightly lesser known names who contributed to making The Dark Knight Rises the masterpiece that it is. If there's a downside, it's that some of them feel a bit brief and many actors (Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, etc.) are never even interviewed! It's almost as if Warner Bros. are holding material back from some sort of future release... Elsewhere, there's an interesting enough documentary on the history of the Batmobile, all four trailers for the film and a gallery of promotional images. Still, it feels as if the special features should have been a lot more in-depth.








Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ "The Dark Knight Rises" is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The screenplay is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on “Batman Begins” and the record-breaking blockbuster "The Dark Knight." The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane.


STARRING:

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine as Alfred
Gary Oldman as Commissioner Jim Gordon
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
Tom Hardy as Bane
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake
Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate
Josh Pence as Ra's Al Ghul

RELEASE DATE: Out Now!


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117 Comments
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SageMode - 12/10/2012, 7:07 AM
"the perfect Batman film."


LMAO, I'm sorry, that made me spit out my drink when I read that.
DRMidNite - 12/10/2012, 7:15 AM
Not perfect...sorry. But it runs a close second the The Dark Knight.
soberchimera - 12/10/2012, 7:16 AM
"In fact, The Dark Knight Rises is flawless in nearly every respect."

Maximus101 - 12/10/2012, 7:16 AM
Oh boy the usual haters are in here lol just give it up.
Christuffer - 12/10/2012, 7:21 AM
I feel the same way. I don't, and never will, understand why so many people hated it. Somehow, I am starting to think that the people who did not like fail to see the true themes and meanings behind Batman himself.
The part that really made the movie for me was the stretch of scenes beginning when Commissioner Gordon figures out that Batman has been Bruce Wayne all along, and ending when we see Gordon sitting quietly while hanging his head during the ceremony Gotham held for Batman. The revelation that he had...he must have been thinking about the many, many times that he'd run into Bruce Wayne and had no idea what he was doing. His whole perspective on life and the past's events must have changed.
Also, I am still proud that Nolan gave us the ending that I always thought would be perfect for the Batman: Bruce and Selina together. They were made for each other, it's obvious. Not only that, but Bruce Wayne is bad-to-the-bone, and he survived that explosion with his brains. Perfect! I would also like to add that Christian Bale is my personal favorite Batman out of them all.
I wish I could thank Nolan. Lol
Dragon316ca - 12/10/2012, 7:23 AM
Haters gonna hate. Nice review, Josh.
Berserker187 - 12/10/2012, 7:26 AM
This was far the best bat. The movie had enough hope plots that a thank could have driven through. The fact that he srates the best bat movie is appalling. This was not the best bat. Let's all be honest on that.
DJRock93 - 12/10/2012, 7:28 AM
No.
Nononononono.
No.
DrHorrible - 12/10/2012, 7:31 AM
"The Dark Knight Rises is flawless in nearly every respect."



Soze - 12/10/2012, 7:32 AM
It was an entertaining film but c'mon...it was full of flaws. The plot itself was ridiculously convoluted and full of Penelope Pitstop moments, amazes me to see people describe it as deeply intelligent. On top of that there were unanswered questions like...how did Bruce Wayne get back to Gotham, how did Bane smuggle him out unseen, why did Bane bother to go with him at all to the pit and how did Wayne recover so well from a broken back.
Shamo - 12/10/2012, 7:33 AM
lol
DrHorrible - 12/10/2012, 7:36 AM
This entire Nolan suck-fest of a review just proves that Josh is probably legally insane. I mean, this review definitely had me laughing with all the ridiculous statements it had.

Nomis1800 - 12/10/2012, 7:37 AM
Christ Nolan's Batman trilogy is perfection.
Kyos - 12/10/2012, 7:39 AM
"There aren't enough adjectives in existence to fully describe what an amazing film The Dark Knight Rises is."

I would love to love this movie as much as you seemingly do, but I will never understand how anyone could. :/
StrangerX - 12/10/2012, 7:39 AM
JOSH u need to get laid my friend
LFANCH - 12/10/2012, 7:41 AM
I liked the 30 minutes of the movie that had batman in it
MrReese - 12/10/2012, 7:46 AM
Best CBM Trilogy.....still wins XD
Ranger14 - 12/10/2012, 7:46 AM
To each their own, but I found this a little hard to fathom...

"In terms of performances, this is without a doubt Christian Bale's best turn as Bruce Wayne/Batman."

You can refer to Tea's image that he posted for the reason why it wasn't the best turn as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I felt I got to know Bruce Wayne much better in Batman Begins and in terms of Batman, I didn't get near enough Batman in the film for what I wanted, especially considering it was the "epic" conclusion of the trilogy.
silverdog - 12/10/2012, 7:47 AM
whatever.. all you nolanite groupies can keep your mouths attached to nolan`s ass for the rest of your lives. The real batman fans are ready for the reboot, with a batman that spends more time solving crimes and kicking ass, than whining, being a punching bag, and looking for any excuse to quit. drama-queen bats was cute for the 8 overrated years it lasted... now is time for the real deal.
mrteaspoon - 12/10/2012, 7:49 AM
Why is anybody even reading a 5 month late review of this movie?
Lasastard - 12/10/2012, 7:51 AM
Sorry, but to say that this movie doesn't have some serious issues (pacing, hello? plot hello?) makes me question your objectivity. The biggest problem with TDKR is that people don't judge it on what it is but on what it should have been. Too much credit is given for brilliance that just isn't there, sorry. Nolan has made some amazing movies in the past and even TDK was a truly great movie (which to no small extend was owed to Heath Ledgers performance). But TDKR, please... it's not a bad movie, but certainly is nowhere near as good as TDK. The plot just drags along in parts, and has so many out-of-character twists or just a pure lack of character development to begin with.
shadearts - 12/10/2012, 7:52 AM
There must be a different version out that I saw ..cause there's a problem when your watching a movie and keep trying to convince yourself you like it ...I only saw Batman suit up a total of 20-30 mins and then he retired
hovis5818 - 12/10/2012, 7:53 AM
I think the main reason five star reviews are given so regularly are because those are the ones that end up on posters with ComicBookMovie.Com and Josh's name after it.

In some peoples opinion (all of which are valid) films are either great or terrible. Nothing is mediocre.

Still I loved this film.
Christuffer - 12/10/2012, 7:54 AM
@StrangerX

Like sex has anything to do with a person's opinion on movies and film in general.

"Wow, that was great sex. Ya know what? Nolan sucked. I'm a big boy now."
dailycomicsfix - 12/10/2012, 7:54 AM
there is 1 continuity error in the film I noticed. When Bane enters the Stock exchange and asks the guy with the laptop how long it will take to make the trade..he replies 8 minutes. the next scene shows Bane and his cohorts leave the stock exchange on motorcycles in what appears to be broad day light. There's a scene that shows the laptop counting down until the transaction is complete and it shows 90 seconds remaining insinuating 6.5 minutes have passed, at this point its pitch black night. nit picking perhaps, but just saying. aside from that this movie is a masterpiece!!
AC1 - 12/10/2012, 7:59 AM
Perfect Batman film? Not a brainless action movie?

"Juno Temple (Holly Robinson) and Matthew Modine (Deputy Commissioner Foley) also impress." - WHAT?! Temple has like three lines and is completely forgettable, and Modine is the most irritating character on screen, and a terrible actor based on this performance!

I actually thought this was an incredibly dumbed down Batman film in comparison to Nolan's previous two - it seems quality story telling was sacrificed for the sake of emotional moments, poor characters (Alfred and Gordon barely had roles, although the actors did well with what they were given)/motivations (Bane + Talia hated Ra's Al Ghul yet wanted to avenge him eight years after his death) and dumb action cliches (nuclear bomb).

The thing is, the film could've easily kept those emotional moments, and enhanced them with fully developed characters, and good action without the cliches - Nolan is an intelligent filmmaker capable of so much more.

I can understand why people liked the movie, it just seems to polarize audiences. But to call it the 'perfect' Batman movie? That seems a step too far. I will agree that Bale gave his best performance, although I think he's been consistent through the series, and I loved Tom Hardy as Bane until the finale where his whole character was undone.
RedeyeJedi - 12/10/2012, 7:59 AM
Sorry Josh, but liking the movie and blatantly bullshitting yourself are two different things. Flawless? You cannot be serious. Flawed is THE word to describe this convoluted, contrived piece of crap. BB was great and TDK was saved by Ledger's acting. TDKR is [frick]ing worthless.
Also, I don't hate Nolan. I love The Prestige.
beane2099 - 12/10/2012, 8:00 AM
I respect the opinion of anyone who really likes this film. I'm glad you got the movie you wanted. But for me it just didn't work. I could go into why, but I'd either be preaching to the choir for some folks or I'd come off like someone who "doesn't get it" to other folks (I got it; just didn't like it).
Godzillafart - 12/10/2012, 8:02 AM
Josh, your ability to non-critically fit an amazingly enormous collection of positive adjectives in a single review is an awesome sight to behold. Personally, I give Nolan’s most recent sophomoric yet entertaining endeavor 3.75/5 stars.
ladder7 - 12/10/2012, 8:02 AM
its either the nolan worshipers or the thomas jane worshipers around here same song and dance every time ughh! but i like the batman movies and im a huge marvel movie fan as well but batman begins to me was the better of all three
avengersleagueofjusticeforamerica - 12/10/2012, 8:03 AM
Dude this just isn't a bad cbm, its a bad Batman movie and just plain old bad movie. Not campy just a horrible mis representation of Batman. Plotholes you can park a cruise ship in. Glad its over. Def want to see more of a frank miller year one approach like a Gotham noir type film with a heavy focus on hand to hand combat and detective skills.
AC1 - 12/10/2012, 8:05 AM
@LEVITIKUZ you really need to calm down with your whining about other peoples opinions when they don't agree with your own. The thing is, this is a REVIEW, this is supposed to be impartial, which it clearly isn't, as there is almost nothing written about flaws apart from how it may differ to the comics - no film is flawless, and this film is littered with flaws. And the point of posting articles isn't for people to mindlessly and soulessly agree with them, it's to spark discussion, which is why there's a comment section.
fattieacid - 12/10/2012, 8:11 AM
HATERS GONNA HATE! Eff all you haters. The Dark Knight Trilogy is the CBM to date and will be in my opinion for the next couple of years..
SuperSomething616 - 12/10/2012, 8:14 AM
@ fettastic - HAHAHA!!! Well said...

Flawless Batman film...far from it...
thewonderer - 12/10/2012, 8:16 AM
So its okay for haters to run this film into the ground with criticism, but not okay for someone to extremely love the film?

Anyone who hates this film so severely calling this review stupid is hilarious to say the least.

Tell me more about how the MCU is the flawless perfect translation of Marvel comics
RedeyeJedi - 12/10/2012, 8:17 AM
@fattieacid- Do you even hear yourself? "and will be in my opinion for the next couple of years.."
So without seeing any the CBM's that will be coming out over the next few years, you like this one the most?
You people are worse than Christians.
BIGBMH - 12/10/2012, 8:20 AM
Holy backlash, Batman!

I disagree completely with this review. However, let's make sure to keep things respectful, people. Some of you have been doing a nice job of pointing out arguments and statements that you think are weak, but a few are getting a little too hostile.

I will say that I'm somewhat confused as to why Josh would post the very same review he posted on July 20, and just add a paragraph at the end.

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/JoshWildingNewsAndReviews/news/?a=64217

If it's a review of the blu-ray and you've already reviewed the movie, it would make more sense to post a link to the movie review and devote the majority of the article to the blu-ray.

RedeyeJedi - 12/10/2012, 8:21 AM
@thewonderer- No one said Marvel movies are flawless. You'd have to be a deluded fool to suggest something so utterly ridiculous. Which is what makes this review so goddamn laughable.
Christuffer - 12/10/2012, 8:24 AM
@thewonderer - Couldn't have said it better.

It's funny how everybody who hated TDKR claims that it made Batman look like a wussy, he didn't do any detective work, and the fighting was bad.

Let's see....that's:
- Lack of emotion
- Display of intelligence
- Violence

So if I'm getting this correctly from all the non-fans of the Nolan films, you all would rather see a Batman movie where the villains are accurate, there's lots of fighting, and Batman solves riddles/detective work. Hmm...let me see....may I recommend
JOEL SCHUMACHER?
That's exactly what I see you're asking for. With the exception of some creative license taken with the costume design and villain's motivations, you're looking at Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
dukester9 - 12/10/2012, 8:24 AM
Josh... I agree with you about everything! The movie, special features, everything. Great review.

And to the haters... Go [frick] yourself!
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