The Dark Knight Rises

2012-11-07 13:08
 
Dark Knight Rises
 
What it's about:

Eight years after the the death of Harvey Dent and the outlawing of Batman, Gotham seems to be a brighter, safer place but, no longer needed or wanted by the city he swore to protect, a physically and spiritually broken Bruce Wayne spends his days locked up in his mansion, away from both his life as Batman and as billionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne. It's not long, however, before he needs to come out of hiding in both his guises as he is confronted with a crumbling business empire and a new threat to Gotham in the form of Bane, a villain with a link to Wayne's past who is intent on showing just how fragile an illusion Gotham's new gleaming sheen really is. 

What we thought:

The Dark Knight Rises has a lot to live up to. Very easily the most eagerly anticipated film of the year, it not only has to provide a satisfying conclusion to Christopher Nolan's wildly revered Batman trilogy, it also has to live up to the increasingly acclaimed directorial career of Nolan himself – all the while working as the biggest summer blockbuster in a year when Joss Whedon's The Avengers already seems to be the superhero film to beat. No pressure at all then.

The Dark Knight Rises doesn't have the luxury of just being a "good movie", we are now at a level where the only way it could possibly live up to expectations is by being a "flabbergastingly brilliant movie". The only two other films released this year that had even remotely comparable levels of hype were The Avengers - which, by all measures, more than lived up to its five years of build up – and Prometheus – whose inability to live up to its promise of Ridley Scott's Second-Coming-like resurrection of the Alien franchise made it look a whole lot worse than it really was.

Well, Nolan, DC Comics and, of course, we, the audience, can breathe a sigh of relief: Judged on its own terms, The Dark Knight Rises is a very good, if flawed art-house superhero spectacle. As a conclusion to Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy though, it's entirely beyond reproach and more than matches our greatest hopes for it. As the end credits roll, not only will audiences have been witness to a truly great, genre-pushing film, but one that firmly establishes the seriesas one of the very few truly consistently excellent trilogies in film history.       

This does, of course, mean that before so much as stepping foot into your local cinema to catch what is certainly going to be one of this year's most talked about films, it is absolutely imperative that you have seen Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) beforehand. In fact, even if you have, it's worth digging them out to prepare yourself for The Dark Knight Rises.

It's not so much that you won't understand the film without being familiar with its two prequels, it's that you will get so much more out of it when you can clearly see just how perfectly Nolan has pulled all the diverse story and thematic strands from three different movies into one breathtaking finish.

If Batman Begins was a very focused hero's journey and The Dark Knight was a more expansive crime drama that centred as much on the hero's city as the hero himself, The Dark Knight Rises maintains the scope of the latter, while delving further into the idea of Batman as a symbol of hope. It's interesting that, unlike The Dark Knight, Batman is squarely at the centre of the film, even if he spends a fair portion of it off screen for plot purposes.

More than just an amalgamation of the two previous films though, Rises has a very unique tone, in large part due to the introduction of Bane, a villain quite unlike any we have seen in the last two films. Nolan notes that his intention for this film was to introduce a villain that challenges Batman on a purely physical level – and if you know anything about the comics (this is the most faithful Batman film to date), you will know just how much of a challenge he is.

Tom Hardy is spectacular as Bane - even if he is burdened by the fact that his highly processed voice and entirely covered mouth makes him somewhat hard to understand at times - playing the character as a purely and brutally physical force of nature. It's hard not to miss Ledger's Joker, but it was a very smart move on Nolan's part to go for an antagonist that is the Joker's complete opposite. 
 
If the film does have a problem, it's that its rigid three-act structure means that the first third of the film is all about setting the pieces in motion and with this many characters and plotlines, a few of the film's most promising elements seem underused in the film's final two acts. Still, with a finale this gripping, this explosive and this simultaneously open-ended (though it's unclear how open ended it truly is) and satisfyingly conclusive, it's hard to care. Especially because this essentially means that the film's biggest crime, aside for being slightly wonky pacing-wise, is that it leaves you wanting more.

The great things about the film are almost too many to mention. Bale offers up his best performance yet as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, while Garry Oldman's spectacular turn as James Gordon remains the heart of the franchise. It's pointless at this stage to gush over just how great Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are in their roles - it is known. But let’s just say that the most heartbreaking moments of the film come down purely to Caine's beautiful portrayal of Alfred as Bruce Wayne's surrogate father.

The newcomers are no less impressive, but the less said about what Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon Levitt's roles are in the film the better. And then there is Anne Hathaway who all but steals the show as the big screen Catwoman that fans have been waiting for. They can't announce a spin-off soon enough.

The true star though is Christopher Nolan who, with the substantial help of his long time Director of Photography Wally Pfister, creates a truly singular cinematic experience. The film looks gorgeous but never at the expense of Nolan's faultless storytelling instincts. It may not be perfect but at nearly three hours in length and featuring a dozen or so pivotal characters, it's still astounding just how focused and tightly controlled The Dark Knight Rises ends up being.  

It is less "high-minded" than The Dark Knight (and to be fair it's not quite as good overall) but Nolan has still created a highly ambitious superhero epic that sets a new high watermark for what the genre is capable of, all the while delivering the kind of spectacle that only someone as devoted to the physical aspects of filmmaking can pull off. There is some CGI, to be sure, but this is the first blockbuster in a while that is sure to have audiences wondering just how the hell he managed to pull off all those incredible set pieces. And in this day and age, that's no small feat.

Is it the best superhero movie ever? Who knows and, frankly, who cares. The Dark Knight Rises is an incredible piece of work in its own right and a truly stunning conclusion to a series that collectively bring new meaning to the word "epic". Who on earth knows where Warner Bros are going to take Batman next but one thing's for sure: They're sure as hell going to have their work cut out for them.


A powerful, engrossing, moving and utterly satisfying conclusion to one of the greatest film trilogies of all time and one that is guaranteed to leave you begging for more.

hfkasdhfjas 2012/07/25 9:31 PM
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AWESOME
ramiz 2012/07/25 11:14 PM
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Rises is certainly flawed but I promise you , the impression it leaves is utterly powerful!!!
Batman begins 2012/07/26 5:54 AM
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Id give it 8/10. The end action sequences are amazing however I didn't find the twists completely surprising. But obviously this is must watch stuff. If you liked the first Batman Begins, this one will be great. Solid 8 :)
jack black 2012/07/26 4:31 PM
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I give it a 3/10. This has to be one of the worst movies I've seen for a very long time. A more appropriate name would have been: The Dark Cheese Rises. I'm also left wanting more - like my money back! Nolan should hang his head in shame and offer to pay the legal fees for the Colorado shooter - without whom this movie would have crashed and burned...
Mr:D 2012/07/26 5:14 PM
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my co-worker's step-mother makes $69/hr on the computer. She has been out of work for 6 months but last month her income was $17799 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site http://snurl.com/24g56wd
Biodroid 2012/07/26 7:40 PM
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@Jac Black - we can see why just by looking at you name, dikhed.
Testio 2012/07/27 8:23 AM
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@Jack Black u must be one of them ppl that lives in a hole, the movie is superb and a fitting end to the Legend. go get a life Jack Black
DeanMachine 2012/07/27 9:20 AM
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@Jack Black - clearly you loved Dare Devil and The Punisher!
Kill Jack Black 2012/07/28 10:59 PM
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Why isnt there a report button on channel24? Even comments like this (see Name - Kill Jack Black) should be able to be flagged by users. And the movie was awesome . No Avengers yes, but in its own Trilogy a superb ending. You want more ... Catwoman ...a spinoff Robin ...
BeatSamurai 2012/07/30 8:42 AM
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Very good conclusion to Nolan's trilogy, however, kinda feel like Anne Hatheway didn't quite fit the Catwoman role...not too sure why,just something was missing in that department,maybe she's too young or not the right kinda sexy!...but overall, a nice one!
Renee 2012/07/30 12:04 PM
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@Kill Jack Black: Why do you want to report jack black's comment? Just because you disagree with his opinion? Seems a bit petty to me...
John Doe 2012/08/01 2:55 PM
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Awesome watch
Bat 2012/08/02 9:39 AM
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Awesome movie lacking the wow-factor of the 2nd but a great ending to the trilogy! Loved the way everything was tied up and linked to the 1st and 2nd movie. the ending was truly satisfying! Felt like standing up and cheering :)
Maverick 2012/08/03 9:59 AM
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Awesome MOVIE!!!!!!!
Jeffrey 2012/08/03 4:16 PM
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This was the best movie i've seen all year. Yes there was The Avengers but The Dark Knight Rises had such a great and interesting story.Anyone who says this film is anything but good is crazy,i will definitely be watching it again.
Lilly 2012/08/14 10:27 AM
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The BEST Batman movie thus far! I have been waiting for this movie ever since I heard it first started shooting, and when i finally got the chance to watch it, I was NOT disappointed! Christophar Nolan has done it again and may I just say, a job well done! The actors were brilliant, the story kept me at the edge of my seat and I especially enjoyed the new faces (Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). A MUST WATCH (again and again and again)!!
Timothy Hill 2012/09/05 10:44 AM
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What was to me the most anticipated movie of 2012 was nothing less than a sensory experience begging to be experienced. Christopher Nolan's last film in his Batman-trilogy uses rich narrative techniques interwoven with splendid cinematography, superb acting, a stellar ensemble cast,a pulse-pounding script, breathtaking action-sequences and the best end to a film-trilogy ever to create an experience like none before it. Although lacking in the deeper character studies that was so enriching in the first two films, this movie is a two and a half hour thrill ride of epic proportions. Higly recommended for fans of the other two movies seeking a satisfying end to what will become the best film trilogy ever committed to celluloid.
Timothy Hill 2012/09/05 10:46 AM
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What was to me the most anticipated movie of 2012 was nothing less than a sensory experience begging to be experienced. Christopher Nolan's last film in his Batman-trilogy uses rich narrative techniques interwoven with splendid cinematography, superb acting, a stellar ensemble cast,a pulse-pounding script, breathtaking action-sequences and the best end to a film-trilogy ever to create an experience like none before it. Although lacking in the deeper character studies that was so enriching in the first two films, this movie is a two and a half hour thrill ride of epic proportions. Higly recommended for fans of the other two movies seeking a satisfying end to what will become the best film trilogy ever committed to celluloid.
Batman Fan 2012/12/12 3:45 PM
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Worse Batman movie of the current series. Way to long, plot is stupid. Could have been better scripted and edited
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