Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

“Calm down, Doctor! Now's not the time for fear. That comes later.”

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Gary Oldman
Writers: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan

Finally the end of the epic Nolan trilogy that everyone’s been waiting for and it’s probably been one of my most anticipated movies as I’ve been hankering for a good movie featuring one of my favourite Batman villains Bane. Probably one of the harder things in taking a look at this movie is separating the movie reviewer from the comic book fan. But I’ll try to be as impartial as possible but I thought I would put that out there.

For a final conclusion to everything that Nolan has been setting up, The Dark Knight Rises delivers big time. Thanks to the careful crafting of the series, the ending feels organic and not pushed. There is also an increase of the stakes that are involved in this movie. The threat that Bane represents is one that constantly weighs on the audiences mind as the thing that could end the Batman. Of course I can’t get any further into the story without giving major things away, but needless to say if you enjoyed the themes of the previous two films, you will enjoy this.

The first two Nolan Batmen movies were packed to the brim with great actors, and Rises doesn’t stray from that formula. Bale is always good as Batman, and it’s interesting to see him without the cowl. In this movie he’s truly a broken man, and we don’t normally get this intimate with Bruce Wayne. As for the newcomers, Tom Hardy brings a primal physicality to the role of Bane. While this isn’t the Bane comic book fans may know, there are enough similarities along with some excellent acting to create a memorable villain. Anne Hathaway is pretty darn good in the movie but she isn’t really given much to do. Catwoman is more of a convenient plot mover than an actual character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young idealistic beat cop John Blake. It’s interesting to see a fresh go through the change in Gotham that Bane brings about. A little more time of him on screen might have been appreciated but the run time on this movie is already epic. Everyone else does a good job but there does seem to be a lack of screen time for them.

Nolan really uses Imax to his advantage and this is such a beautiful movie to watch. You get immersed into Gotham, and get an excellent sense of how the city operates. There is also attention to detail that gives little nods to the comics fans will appreciate. On top of the crisp visuals the Hans Zimmer score is excellent and while it works with the other two, there are elements used to create a uniqueness that helps reinforce the themes of this movie. With Nolan’s eye, and Zimmer’s music, they create this epicness and in the final action scene it feels that we are witnessing something that truly lives up to this epicness.

However not is all right with this movie. I hate to be the one to be the party pooper but there is a serious flaw present, and that’s the script. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great movie, but it isn’t as good as The Dark Knight. It might be that there is a little too much in this movie, which is saying something as it’s nearly three hours long. Characters get lost and aren’t given enough time to develop, and the set up for the end is telegraphed. Due to so much happening certain scenes are used to quickly set up things but come off pretty ham fisted. There is also the problem of coincidence. Characters discover things, or do actions that seem very coincidental. Funny thing is if this movie was split into two, more time could have been given not only for development of character, but allow events to occur a little more naturally. Thinking upon it I’m pretty sure The Dark Knight had similar problems, but being a more focused film that wasn’t trying to connect all the dots, this problem wasn’t as obvious.

Don’t get me wrong, this movie is great but when compared to its forbearers, small cracks do appear under the weight of this tale. The Avengers was probably a better put together movie, but then it wasn’t as ambitious as The Dark Knight Rises and that’s saying something. If you like the previous two movies, then you will love this. It’s a satisfying conclusion to the story, and a worthy film to put some time into.


  1. Fine review Dan. Bane is no Joker, but he is pretty intimidating and proves a great threat to Batman, which may surprise some people because it doesn’t seem like Bane has much going for him, other than a scary physique. However, Bane is one of the many reasons why I loved this flick and I’m so glad that Nolan ended this near-perfect trilogy with a bang.

  2. Great review!

    I agree with you that this was not the best movie in the trilogy, but still was an fitting end to the trilogy.

    Check out my review .