Ror Reviews: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Blu-ray (Film & Special Features)

On December 4th, the final part of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy will be available to own on home release, and we've got hold of it a little early for review. So do I stick by my initial 5 Star verdict? Click on to find out..

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By Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy - 12/1/2012
The Dark Knight Rises was a big hit with both fans and critics, but there are those that weren't happy with certain elements, and then those that dismiss the movie outright. But that's always been the way with Christopher Nolan's Bat-flicks - I would assume that if you were considering a home release purchase, you must be a fan, in which case I'm talking to you.



8 years after the events of The Dark Knight we find Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) a broken shell of a man. He's a recluse, only conversing with Alfred (Michael Caine), until he encounters Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) a highly skilled cat-burglar. Kyle robs him of his late Mother's pearls, and something else, something that kick-starts the story and sets Wayne/Batman on a collision course with the unholy terror, Bane. Aiding him are his old friends Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), as well as a couple of new faces in idealistic young cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and a new love interest in Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard). But, as his faithful friend Alfred warns him when he decides to put on the cape and cowl again, has he underestimated just how powerful and committed Bane really is?

There's quite a bit of plot - arguably not all needed - here which I'm sure I don't need to go into, but the basic story is a simple one well told. Very well told, in fact it might be Nolan's most cohesively structured narrative yet. The pacing is spot on, although one or two scenes do feel a bit rushed. Wally Phister's cinematography is second to none, and the Blu-ray conversion does it justice. The sound is also impeccable. Nolan has also definitely improved in the action/fight choreography department. That first clash between Batman and Bane is simply incredible - despite fanboy griping about Batman's fighting style. But these movies have never been about action and spectacle first and foremost, they work so well because of the characters and the time we are given to get to know them properly. Some say Nolan's Batman movies lack heart, and while there is undoubtedly a coldness to how the stories unfold, I disagree completely -- particularly with this final installment.

Here Christian Bale gives his best performance of the three movies, hands down. He takes charge of the usual stuff (action, charm, general Bat-manning) better than ever, but it's the scenes showing a side to Bruce Wayne we haven't encountered before -- ones shared with the great Michael Caine in particular -- that he really shines in. He has the usual level of excellent support from Oldman and Freeman too, but what about these controversial (at least for comic fans) cast additions?

Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway are both brilliant in this movie, in fact Hathaway threatens to run away with it altogether. Her Selina Kyle (never referred to as Catwoman) is crafty, sexy and most importantly adds a much needed sense of fun and playfulness to the proceedings. If anything my only gripe with her was that she wasn't in it enough. And then we come to Bane. Let's face it, no villain was ever going to compete with the character of The Joker for a start, he is the greatest comic book villain in history for a reason. Add to that the late Heath Ledger's incredible performance and I really don't think anyone could match up. That being said, Hardy gives it a damn good go. Acting from behind a steel muzzle which obscures most of his acting tools was never going to be easy, but he makes it work. A less interesting character than The Joker for sure, and one who's villainous motivations are a lot more conventional. But what he lacks in originality he more than makes up for in sheer brutality, and that much maligned voice? For me it was creepy and very effective -- even if I couldn't understand every single word! Yes, I'm afraid that old chestnut came into play in theaters, and here again in a couple of scenes. Joseph Gordon Levitt is also on top form as Blake, bringing humanity, decency, and probably a bit more physicality than you might be expecting to the story.



If there's a weak link, I'm afraid it's Cotillard. She's very good, but just doesn't have enough to do to make a real impact. And I'm sure we all know at thsi stage that her final scene in the movie is, well, pretty terrible!

Nolan was under a lot of pressure to deliver after the critical and commercial juggernaut that was The Dark Knight, and he has succeeded. Is it better? I really don't know, but the point is it is a worthy follow up, and a more than satisfying ending to the trilogy. I will echo a few other reviews by saying whoever reboots Batman - whether they deliver a more faithful interpretation or not - is going to have their work cut out.



Special Features

We know how Christopher Nolan is with his special features. He's not a fan of of any additional scenes or extended cuts, and we have no director's commentary either - straight away that is a big disappointment, expected or not. Fortunately what we do get goes some way to making up for it. The documentaries "Ending The Knight" and "The Batmobile" make for a fascinating watch, the former in particular providing an intriguing insight into the production. The 12 production diary shorts - some of which we've featured here - are also excellent, and In addition to some more cool character profiles, we have the usual trailers, art galleries etc. The Dark Knight Rises is a must buy on Blu-ray anyway, and is padded out with some great extras, but if that was all you were going to purchase it for, I'd think twice.











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GiantNerd - 12/1/2012, 12:02 PM
When Gotham is ashes...you....have my .....permission........to.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Preston - 12/1/2012, 12:11 PM
I respect your opinion "RorMachine", but I'm going to respectfully disagree with you. I agree with Doug Walker's Review:



"Batman Begins, I liked the first half, second half kind of boring. The second one I loved even more, one of my favourite movies. The Dark Knight Rises, I didn't like this one. I think that this actually kind of sucked."

-Doug Walker (Nostalgia Critic)
GuardianAngel - 12/1/2012, 12:11 PM
Not sure if I should buy the regular Blu-ray or spend double the amount on the limited edition broken cowl set.
Darkknightman - 12/1/2012, 12:11 PM
This movie was the weakest of the series. It's very bloated. I am a hardcore Batman fan but this film seems to bring out the fanboyism in comic book fans. Nolan creates a realistic world for the most part in the first two films and then ejects that realism in Rises with an army taking over a city and the with introduction of a nuclear device. Batman stories are best told in a more personal manner. A nuclear device and mass genocide are far too much a departure from the first two films. I just didn't like it as much as some I guess.
GuardianAngel - 12/1/2012, 12:13 PM
@Preston, we get it. You don't like The Dark Knight Rises, but posting the same video on every article isn't expressing your opinion. It's spamming.
Preston - 12/1/2012, 12:14 PM
@GuardianAngel

I posted the 8min BUM review, this is different.
GuardianAngel - 12/1/2012, 12:14 PM
@Darkknightman Though I like it more than Batman Begins, I'm completely agree with that comment.
AsianVersionOfET - 12/1/2012, 12:15 PM
Okay. Why are my comments not posting?
AsianVersionOfET - 12/1/2012, 12:15 PM
Oh NOW they post? What the FU*CK
AC1 - 12/1/2012, 12:16 PM
Really? Nolan's 'most cohesive plot'? I'd say it's his least. Very hard to follow in places, riddled with plot holes and poorly written character moments...

However, I will agree with you on some of the other stuff, particularly the sound and the acting, both of which really are the best in the series (acting is best overall in the series, although Bale, Ledger, Oldman and Eckhart were equally brilliant in the previous film).
mawilli4 - 12/1/2012, 12:19 PM
Most (not all) of the people who liked TDK better than BB didn't like TDKR. Primarily because TDKR has much more in common and in keeping with BB. I love all 3, personally.
AC1 - 12/1/2012, 12:19 PM
However, acting and sound can only do so much for a movie, and the story really lets it down, so it's still the worst of the three IMO, by a country mile. I'd also say it's a far from satisfying end to the trilogy, in fact, apart from the acting and the sound (particularly the score), I'd say it's not only the worst of the three, but the most disappointing film I've seen.

Still getting the ultimate collector's trilogy on Blu-Ray next year.
HarveyDent88 - 12/1/2012, 12:20 PM
@Preston you don't like the movie everyone gets it. Now move on with your life.
jessepostal - 12/1/2012, 12:22 PM
Something's going on with the bat cowl edition, I preordered it last week, I just looked it up and amazon now has it marked as currently unavailable, but when I ordered it it was only 25 bucks, so not much more than the regular blu
95 - 12/1/2012, 12:24 PM
@GuardianAngel I'm getting the limited edition broken cowl. If it isn't sold out, of course. It'll top my Batman collection.
thetrojan - 12/1/2012, 12:26 PM
Darkknightman

the movie is in your avatar....I dont rate it .
Preston - 12/1/2012, 12:26 PM
HarveyDent88 and GuardianAngel

You guys don't state your opinion, but disagree with mine and want me to shut up.... alright...

some_text

0ptimusCrime - 12/1/2012, 12:28 PM
at our local media store the tin edition (broken cowl) is 18 dollar....kinda lame if they let you pay more
DioFoRio - 12/1/2012, 12:29 PM
Nolans Batman started off as a good intro to a Bigger comic bookey universe and in the middle to the end turned into a good ELSEWORLD tale with a definitive end. Good for what it was...but now it's time to create a celluloid shared universe with the DC characters, we've waited long enough.
DioFoRio - 12/1/2012, 12:32 PM
My opinion
superherofan21 - 12/1/2012, 12:34 PM
@ACira At what point did you find the movie hard to follow? The first time I saw this, I never had a problem with anything. Even upon multiple viewings, I still found nothing to dislike about it. The plot made perfect sense to me. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the best in the trilogy. This was the only Batman movie that actually made me cry (except for Batman & Robin, but I only cried because that movie shouldn't exist).
TheLoveDoc - 12/1/2012, 12:37 PM
@Preston
We all understand you don't like the movie, so now I will "respectfully" ask you to stop trollng all of the Batman articles.
rockerdude22 - 12/1/2012, 12:39 PM
Nice review Ror! While I greatly enjoyed TDKR, I do feel that it was the weakest of the trilogy (I think of it as the Return of the Jedi of this series). TDK is definitely the best film out of the three. TDKR was still a good movie, though.

One of my biggest pet peeves with the film (and the trilogy in general) was the long exposition speeches that Alfred gave. Don't get me wrong, Caine was great in the role and I always enjoy watching him act, but I really feel like the writing could have been better. As an aspiring screenwriter myself, one thing I"m gonna try to avoid is long needless exposition.
rockerdude22 - 12/1/2012, 12:42 PM
Of course, I've only watched the film once so far. My opinion of the film might be better after I re-watch it the first time (getting the DVD for Christmas).
Supes17 - 12/1/2012, 12:51 PM
Personally I loved the film. I though it was fantastic.But hey, that's just my opinion. It's worththe same as everyone else's lol
rockerdude22 - 12/1/2012, 12:53 PM
Remember, everyone here is entitled to their own opinions. It's fine if you don't agree with someone else. It's what makes us human after all haha
BlueDemon - 12/1/2012, 12:56 PM
While watching the TDKR:

TheLoveDoc - 12/1/2012, 1:09 PM
@BlueDemon
I do the same while looking at your comments.
armagedom - 12/1/2012, 1:11 PM
TDKR sucked WB sucks lets move on
rockerdude22 - 12/1/2012, 1:14 PM
@AmericanPsycho Doug has his own site now called ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com. He, and a whole bunch of other people on there, post their videos there. One of my favorite sites, actually.

Him and James both make good stuff. Big fan of them both!
birdfists - 12/1/2012, 1:26 PM
Meh, TDKR I give a 6.5/100.

There was just so much wrong with it, batman became dumb, nobody had a motive for 90% of what they were doing, 'hey we need a love interest, throw it in the script', wost death EVER, How the hell did Batman survive? Really?, How did Jim gordon survive in the back of the truck, while talia in the cabin died?, etc.

It seemed like Nolan got a call one day ''We need the entire script/screenplay etc. by tomorrow'

Nolan: 'But I just started it and-''

''TOMORROW''
JokerFan21 - 12/1/2012, 1:27 PM
Was this the guy that said Anne Hathaway gave a better performance than Heath Ledger or was that another one?
GoILL - 12/1/2012, 1:30 PM
Cool review Ror, i'll be picking up the standard combo pack on Tuesday.
abw2 - 12/1/2012, 1:43 PM

@rockerdude22: You're, absolutely, right... Personally, I, really, did enjoy The Dark Knight Rises - I, actually, went ahead and saw it three times... Were there flaws? Yes, of course there were... I mean, seriously, a human being made this movie... So, of course, there are going to be a few flaws here and there, but then again, the only real flaws that I noticed in the film, and these are really nitpicks, more than anything else, were number one, with Bane's voice during his Harvey Dent speech... When he emphasized certain words in his speech, his voice just sounded a little, too, weird, even for me..., and number two, was the U.S. president... Our president is black, but in this film he was played by a white actor... I suppose that that would better qualify as more of an observation than anything, especially since I know how much Nolan likes to toy with race and/or skin color, if that makes any sense... Other than those two, minor, details, I really did not have a problem with this film at all... To the people who did not like The Dark Knight Rises, however, I will say this, to each his/her own... If you didn't like, then, hey, you didn't like it. I, really, wish that that wasn't the case, because again, I, really, found this film to be very enjoyable, hence the three viewings of it - However, I, still, choose to respect other people's opposing opinions of the film, especially, the ones who give intelligently thought out reasons for their, negative, feelings... It's, just, all good, here, ya know? It's all good... *cool*/P :)
gillri - 12/1/2012, 1:46 PM
after second viewing its my favourite of the trilogy, awesome film
DoomXfactor - 12/1/2012, 1:47 PM
I'm so buying the TDKR cause who needs to count sheep when you can watch this boring mess of a movie

gillri - 12/1/2012, 1:49 PM
also red letter media absolutely loved it id give a 4.5/6
thewonderer - 12/1/2012, 1:49 PM
I had this fantasy, that I might one day come into a comicbookmovie article and see only fans of the movie commenting.

The trolls wouldn't say anything to me nor me to them, but we'd both know they'd finally learned to stop clicking articles in which the subject is something they dont like

I want something better for them than that, I still do
DoomXfactor - 12/1/2012, 1:52 PM
@tea- LMAO!!! You're awesome
Ha1frican - 12/1/2012, 1:56 PM
This movie was suc mixed bag for be. Some parts i loved, some parts were just meh and some parts (mainly the ending) were face palm inducing. Alot of the fights looked very cheesy, there were some really wierd pacing/editing problems, and overall it just didnt feel like Batman at all. Pretty much other than the back breaking scene it was a major letdown, and it seems like Nolan stated to believe his own hype and got cocky but maybe my expectations were just to high..
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