The Dark Knight Rises Film Review: The Good, the Bad, and more
Reviewing the Dark Knight Rises film and breaking down the high points, the low points, and everything in between. Where did the film succeed and in what ways did it fail? Is The Dark Knight Rises the best in the trilogy or does it fall to the third film curse?
Everyone has their favorite superhero. Mine happens to have always been Batman. Going into this, I was very nervous as not only could it turn out to disappoint me as a Batman fan, but it could also disappoint me as a lover of film, seeing as how well I praise the first two installments of this trilogy. With a huge weight on its shoulders, what aspects of it do I think blew me away and which ones made me sink in my chair?
Here's a link to a previous post I made about what I was excited and worried about:
WARNING!!! - Contains spoilers below. Do not read if you have yet to see the film and wish to avoid, well, being spoiled.
THE GOOD COMMENDATIONS:
1. These characters were NAILED. Pretty much everything you could possibly want to represent these characters was shown on screen. Talia is deceptive, a manipulator, someone who could run a business but is also just as gritty to run a terrorist unit. Selina is a morally shady thief who ultimately does have the right heart for it. Bane's got a variation of the Venom reliance, the Santa Prisca prison angle, the strength but also the intelligence, and he even says he'll break Batman and does so in Knightfall style!
2. I'm always a huge fan of cyclical patterns in life, whether it's the thrill I get for making a second joke by referencing a previous joke in the conversation. This film had tons of callbacks, setups that paid off, allusions to little things here and there, and most importantly a solid foundation and current of the same motifs. Why do we fall? The climbing out of the cave. The multi-year absence and the multi-year absence. So on and so forth.
3. I personally have always considered Talia to be the #2 love interest, second only to Selina Kyle. The way I usually explain my viewpoint on Bruce's love interests when it comes to these two is that Talia would be the ex-wife (where you thought it would work out but it ultimately wasn't right, just one thing was missing) and Selina is the true love (because she has that one thing that's missing - the compassion). This film echoes that in a lot of ways. Although some might disagree and think Talia is the better ultimate love interest (or Silver St. Cloud, or Vicki Vale, or Sasha Bordeaux) it's a mileage-may-vary situation and I walked out of this a happy man.
4. Robin reference! Albeit, it had some bad thrown in there, but still!
5. Nobody was made an expenditure solely for the sake of shock value. Foley's death served a point (sacrifice to justify his heroism) but he also wasn't someone to throw to the wolves out of the core cast. What I mean by this is we didn't have to see Lucius or Alfred killed by Bane just to make him a more credible threat. It works for Joker with Rachel, but it didn't need to be done in this one, and I'm thankful they didn't just play that card.
6. The Bat. Nolan figured out a way to not only do the Batmobile, the Bat-Cycle, and the Batwing, but to combine them all into ONE vehicle in theory, and put his own spin on things. All of them looked ugly and weird to me before I saw the films and all of them made me change my mind afterward.
7. Bane and Selina have two good themes in the score. I still personally like Selina's theme better in Batman Returns, but this worked very well. Hans Zimmer is the man.
8. If it was intentional, nice tip of the hat for the Darth Vader introduction to Bane.
9. Do my eyes deceive me? Is that a black cop named Allen? CRISPUS Allen? I've been saying for the longest time that one of my absolute biggest gripes in comic book films is when they have a character that is essentially someone from the comics but they don't utilize them. Why do we have Dr. Ratha in Amazing Spider-Man when we could have Smythe? Why are there two cops (a big burly white male and a Hispanic female) in The Dark Knight that aren't Bullock and Montoya? If this was a nod at Crispus Allen, then kudos.
10. We finally got a true Bat Cave!!!!
THE BAD NITPICKING:
1. I still think Catwoman would have benefited from a little more Catwoman-esque costume decisions. The idea of a whip on her waist representing the tail, a more prominent ear setup for her face, etc.
2. Too much John Blake which made us not get enough Batman.
3. John Blake as Robin? Couldn't have had his name as Rick Gray and reference Grayson, or make it Drake or Todd or Terry? There's too many Robins out there, so that kind of annoys me that we have ANOTHER one to add to the list.
4. Bane and Selina having a good personal theme is great, but I feel like we didn't get as epic of a finale theme as we could have for this score. It was basically just the same theme we hear 100 times in each Batman movie - not to say that's a bad theme, but I just wanted something above that.
5. Although I appreciate callbacks and praise the ones they did to a high degree, I could have done with a little change to the plot. Another "League of Shadows abducts a Wayne Enterprises tool, weaponizes it against the city and focuses on bridges and such" type of plot just seemed a bit redundant.
6. Bane was still hard to hear every so often and at times sounded a little silly to me.
Christopher Nolan had already carved his place in Hollywood history before this movie, but this cemented it even more. He's done what is nearly impossible in that he created three outstanding movies to round out a FULL trilogy. He put his own spin on things without deviating too much from the adapted material so as to upset fans. He focused on making solid films instead of bending to stereotypes and "powers-that-be" bullshit. This is very much one of those situations where you have to view all three films and judge the series as opposed to each individual film when talking about its contribution to film and pop culture - and when you look at all three, this was able to end it with a bang AND with class. I pity the person who follows this with their interpretation of Batman, as topping this trilogy may very well be an impossible task.
DO YOU THINK CHRIS NOLAN ROSE TO THE CHALLENGE OR DID HE FALL AND NOT PICK HIMSELF BACK UP?
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