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The Dark Knight Rises

July 26, 2012


The Dark Knight Rises is a massively ambitious film that swings for the fences.  It has been several days since I saw the film and I am still breaking it down and absorbing the final Batman. My conclusion is that it is frustrating, over-important, intelligent and colossal.


It is complicated, gloomy and open for interpretation. You have to think about this film. The issues of fear, class and terrorism run rampant throughout and you have to wonder why Hollywood millionaires feel the need to tell this story. Between this and The Avengers this summer has been a tale of two comic stories. The Avengers was wonderful but it felt managed because of all the money, egos and producers. The Dark Knight Rises feels orchestrated and championed by one man. You could tell that Avengers had Whedon DNA but he had to give every character their moment to shine and create room for future films. Nolan is concluding his trilogy by introducing new characters, leaving Batman out for massive chunks and making class warfare an important aspect. At times the movie feels self-important and could be retitled The Dark Knight Makes Big Speeches. However, Nolan has earned the right to do whatever he wants and he succeeded in not dismantling the hype train like Spidey 3 and X-Men 3 did.

The biggest problem with The Dark Knight Rises was that it had to follow The Dark Knight. Expectations were raised to unnatainable levels.Fanboys ran rampant with Joker love and they were ready to declare the third film that greatest thing ever without watching it. However, after the first trailer was released you started to hear grumblings about Bane’s voice being inaudible. The problem was fixed but it showed that the movie was under a microscope. I too examined the film too closely. I was bothered by Bane fighting like he was an extra in Road House. I was troubled by Batman not being in the film for huge chunks and I still wonder why Marion Cotillard’s character was so underwritten. However, these are small gripes in the big picture.

Where the movie succeeds is tying together all three of the Batman stories into a cohesive whole. The theme of these films has been fear. Batman Begins started with the Scarecrow then moved to the anarchy of the Joker and now into the cruelness of Bane. A man who wants you to have hope only to destroy it. All three of these men use their powers in different ways to paralyze the populace with fear.


My biggest worry about this film was the addition of all the new characters. Several other films have been hampered by the addition of too many people. For instance, Pirates 3, Spider Man 3 and X-Men 3 all faltered under the weight of too many new faces. Christopher Nolan manages to make the new additions three-dimensional and likable. Tom Hardy is able to capture the frightening physicality of Bane. Behind the creepy baboon looking mask is an intelligent and cruel man who likes to make people suffer. Bane is a physical match for Batman and isn’t afraid to throw down by himself. However, behind the mask lies a hidden weakness bound to be exploited.


I was fully expecting to be annoyed by Anne Hathaway representing the 99%. However, her portrayal of Selina Kyle is a mature, intelligent and flexible. She walks the line between right and wrong and eventually regrets getting what she asks for. Hathaway is a perfect foil for Bale and together they develop an attraction based on equality and muscle tone.


The most important part of the puzzle is the addition of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s cop character named John Blake. He is smart, capable and feisty enough to team up with Gary Oldman’s commissioner Gordon. His story goes hand in hand with Bruce Wayne’s and you wish he could have his own spin-off. I love how JGL can be equal parts nice, tough, angry, indie and capable. I won’t give away any more….


The Dark Knight Rises is a marvel of IMAX beauty. It is occasionally frustrating, often beautiful and always engaging. Do not put this movie under a microscope. DKR is a thrilling conclusion to an intelligent and ground breaking super hero trilogy.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2012 4:35 pm

    Hof – Somehow Blake, out of the clearly gazillion cops (looked like a gazillion when they emerged from the obviously very accommodating sewer system, clean shaven and spit-shined in full-to-spec uniform after three months), was able to appear EVERYWHERE in this film. How did a regular chili dog and donut cop end up in every place at every moment? Speaking of which, how did Bruce Wayne make it from Durka-Durka-stan back to Manhatt–um…Gotham City to exactly where Catwoman(?) was rescuing a cute little kiddie, clean shaven and sporting a thumb drive? They couldn’t get a busload of orphans OUT, but Bruce somehow waltzes in beyond even detection of the camera.

    Ok there’s lots more, but ….maybe next time. I was much worse when I unfortunately saw Battleship.


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