THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - A Review By The Mighty Asterisk
Christopher Nolan's previous two Batman films are two of the best CBMs ever made, and my personal favorites. How does this epic finale hold up to me? Find out after the jump.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are two of my favorite films. They succeed in Nolan’s initial goal of finding reality in the character of Batman. But we all knew it had to come to an end. We have been waiting for four years for the 3rd installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and it has finally arrived. Does it hold up? How does it measure against the other two near-perfect installments of the trilogy? Let’s analyze.
The film is about Bruce Wayne who, after the events of The Dark Knight, has quit crime fighting and has become a recluse for 8 years, even having to use a cane from unknown injuries. But a terrorist known as Bane begins a hidden agenda that threatens to tear Gotham to pieces. To tell you much else would be spoiling this movie, which is a shame because, yes, this is the best film in the trilogy.
Now, “the best film in the trilogy” is a bold statement to make, since everyone fell head over heels with the last film, and with its antagonist, Heath Ledger as The Joker. This film doesn’t even mention The Joker, yet it comes up with a story that seems infinitely more powerful than its predecessor. The villains seem more powerful, the stakes are higher, and Batman and Gotham won’t come out unscathed. This movie left me shaking after it was over. It was that good.
Christian Bale brings a much better performance this time as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Most of his time on screen, like the last film, is spent as Bruce Wayne, but that’s okay, because the film is about more than Batman. However, whenever Bale does don the cape and cowl, he seems more like Batman than the previous two movies, entering iconic Batman poses and actually fighting as a viable opponent. During the beginning and later on after a traumatic accident that I won’t dare spoil as it is possibly the greatest moment in the trilogy, Bale actually seems frail and like he has to work in order to become the hero again, and finally, he seems like the icon the character should be.
Tom Hardy portrays one of the best villains I’ve seen since, well, The Joker, as Bane. Many have issues with the character’s very accented and almost robotic filtered voice, but personally I thought it made him all the more menacing and made him sound more intelligent. Again, I can’t say too much about his character since that would spoil a big revelation in the movie, but I can say that he is just such a good villain. He might even be BETTER than Heath Ledger as The Joker. During the first half of the movie, he doesn’t appear often, but when he does show up, you can just feel the evil radiating from him. He can just snap at any moment, but he keeps his cool, seeming very cold and calculating, which is really what I like in a villain. A very Bond villain-esque performance, and one of my favorites in the film.
Many people expressed their displeasure at the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman as she really didn’t seem like the character and the costume seemed a little off. I’ll admit, I DID agree with both of those statements, but I remember telling everyone, “That’s what we said about Heath.”. I knew that she would surprise us, and loe and behold, Anne Hathaway is the best screen Catwoman ever. She just completely exemplifies the Selina Kyle character, right down to a very husky and mysterious voice. The script does no injustice to the character either, as Selina is a straight up thief, stealing everything she lays her eyes on. I knew from one of the very first moments she was on screen that she would steal the show, and I wasn’t wrong.
The supporting characters are quite good, too. Joseph Gordon Levitt brings his A-Game to his cop character John Blake, but, again, if I told you anything about him, I would spoil the movie. The same goes for Marion Cotillard, who also plays a character very shrouded in mystery. Michael Caine puts in his best Alfred performance since Batman Begins, but he doesn’t actually appear much in the movie. Gary Oldman, one of my favorite actors, returns to his role of James Gordon in high form, but the character doesn’t have much do either. There are other bit parts, like Selina Kyle’s accomplice Holly Robinson, Matthew Modine’s anti-Batman cop character, and of course, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, but they also don’t have many things to do when Bane and Selina Kyle are being attention grabbers.
While this is the best film out of the three, it isn’t without its own flaws. There are quite a few plot holes, but none of them really hold down the movie. There is a revelation about Marion Cotillard’s character near the end, which, despite being pretty awesome in terms of geekdom, is pretty expected and kind of a let down, because it disproves a possible plot point brought up earlier in the movie which would have been possibly better. There is also a small cheeky revelation about John Blake near the end which, though again being pretty awesome in a fan’s terms, could have been a lot better.
Overall, the film is great. The action scenes are the best in the trilogy, the villain is iconic and leaves his voice echoing in your head, the actors all do their best and succeed, and the ending is so iconic you’ll be thinking about it for days. There are some flaws, possibly even more than the two previous installments, but they still somehow don’t hold down the film from being the best in the trilogy. The movie is an enigma, but it just really really works.
P.S. Though it never bothered me, if you have a problem with Christian Bale’s Batman voice from the previous two films, you’re still going to have a problem with it.
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