The Dark Knight Rises: Movie Review

This film had so much excitement and hype going into it, but the horrific actions of one man scared people from going to their movie theatres, let alone seeing The Dark Knight Rises. But, despite the initial horrors and fears of many people (myself included), people decided that they would not be frightened away from the movie because of one man, and Rises made $160.8 million in its opening weekend. The last I will mention of the Colorado shooting is this: we applaud the actions of the Aurora police and first responders, have the most heartfelt thoughts, prayers, and wishes to all the victims and their families, and that we will not let some criminal take the movies away from us. We will collect ourselves and rise from this tragedy, and those that don’t like that or will want to stop us will just be left behind.

We will now begin the review and discussion of the film, starting with the plot (any spoilers will have a large WARNING sign). Rises commences with a large charity event held in honor of Harvey Dent, who died in the previous film after burning half of his face in an accident and seeking vengeance by attacking Police Chief Gordon’s son. Dent’s death was covered as a murder and that Batman unjustly killed him, which is why both Batman and Bruce Wayne disappear for eight years (you would think people would catch onto that). As a result of Dent’s death, the Dent Act is enacted, which eliminates organized crime in Gotham, but imprisons the criminals without a chance at parole. Continuing, Wayne goes into hiding to recover from the death of Rachel, who was Wayne’s lover and killed by the Joker, and his severe injuries (he has no cartilage left in one knee). Within the first ten minutes, the audience is introduced to Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, who is a master manipulator and skilled at robbing from the wealthiest of citizens (including Wayne himself). As well, the audience is introduced to Bane, whose goal is to burn Gotham to the ground through a “revolution” (essentially, it is the French Revolution, only with walking across ice rather than a guillotine) and atomic bomb. (WARNING SPOILERS) At some point, Selina sells Wayne to Bane in order to get them to leave her alone and let her search for a device that would clear her name completely. Bane beats Wayne, even as Batman, to a pulp and throws him into the same prison he lived in (it is an enormous pit). Wayne spends about six months recovering (Bane breaks his back and the way another prisoner “fixes” it is by slinging Wayne into a rope harness and punching his vertebrae back into place– as someone with four herniated vertebral disks, I absolutely cringed during that scene) and building up muscle in order to climb out of the prison. After several attempts, he finally escapes and travels back to Gotham. Meanwhile, the police have been held captive in the subway tunnels, Gordon is hospitalized after Bane tried to kill him, and a young officer named John Blake (who knows Wayne is Batman) is organizing a counter revolution to bring Batman back and save Gotham, and Miranda Tate (who is on the board of Wayne Enterprises and is Wayne’s lover) is held captive by Bane. Once Wayne returns to Gotham, he teams up with Selina, Gordon, and Blake to take back the city and stop an atomic bomb. Through a dramatic climax sequence (which had to have taken a lot of work to accomplish), Bane is defeated by Selina and Miranda reveals herself to be the true mastermind of the whole thing because her father was Al Ghul, who was killed by Wayne in the first film. Miranda is killed and Wayne straps the bomb to his flying vehicle, called “The Bat”, and flies it out of the city, but supposedly dies when the bomb goes off. But about ten minutes later it is revealed that Wayne becomes romantically involved with Selina and they go to live in Italy (whether this is real or a hallucination by Alfred is debated). And finally, John Blake (who is Robin, literally) assumes the role of Batman to keep the symbol alive.

The acting in the film is brilliant. Christian Bale was fantastic as Wayne, especially when he had to convey a deep hurt/vulnerability and sense of hatred at the outside world, and he maintained a good job at portraying Batman. Anne Hathaway was amazing as Catwoman and portraying the many facets of Selina (and kudos for fighting in five inch heels). Jason Gordon- Levitt was fantastic and effectively conveyed the complicated mixture of earnestness and bitterness (there is a monologue he has around the end of the first third of the movie that was beautiful) that was a part of John Blake. Tom Hardy, in my opinion, deserves an Oscar nomination for his role as Bane because he effectively built the character and his emotions through just the tone of his voice and his eyes. Marion Cotillard was very good in her role as Miranda/Talia, she effectively played a femme fatale without being too obvious. And all of the returning actors (Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine) were fantastic once again– but would we expect anything different, honestly?

And finally, the directing. Christopher Nolan finished the trilogy effectively and without a dramatic amount of hiccups. The biggest struggle for the film itself was the shadows of The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s brilliant performance as the Joker. While this film was still good and had a great style to it, you could still feel the absence of that previous character and the cinematic brilliance of that film.  Personally, and this may cause some controversy with some readers, I preferred The Amazing Spiderman to The Dark Knight Rises. While I wish the villian in Spiderman had been developed slightly more and I loved the acting in Rises, I am just not a huge fan of Batman (I grew up with a love for Spidey, and I am unapologetic about it). Do I still recommend seeing The Dark Knight Rises? Yes, of course, I do. All I am saying is that I think Batman fans will like this movie more than fans of other superheroes (I honestly went strictly to see their interpretation of Catwoman). But no matter what, go to the movies and enjoy this film, it is very well done and worth seeing atleast once.

FINAL RATING: 8.5/10

What do you think of The Dark Knight Rises? Are you a fan of Batman or are you a fan of another superhero, but can still appreciate this trilogy? And has any of the recent events involving this film changed your viewpoint on the film or going to the movies in general?

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