Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Its been four long years since we rode around in the streets on our Batpods and cleaned up of the streets of Gotham City. Christopher Nolan’s final chapter, The Dark Knight Rises, brings us back up to speed in the Batman universe and it feels like home. A home that is littered with criminals, degenerates, and super villains, but a home none the less. As I watched the first few minutes of the film I couldn’t help but smile at the notion of what’s to come. That smile rarely left my face. I’m sure the people next to me thought I was a grinning idiot, but who knows!

With each sequel Nolan has upped the stakes. This is the proper way to have a trilogy go, and he follows that formula quite well. The Dark Knight Rises starts us off eight years after the events of The Dark Knight where a villain named Bane has decided that Gotham needs to be destroyed. Bane is willing to do anything to anyone to accomplish his goal. The grand scale on which he plays this out sets the groundwork for the massive feel of the film. While it takes place mostly in Gotham, we do see our characters leave home and do some globetrotting. The feel of the film is also increased by the large sweeping IMAX shots that Nolan did. Even when we are in Gotham the action set pieces seem so grandiose that you forget that just two movies ago we saw Batman fighting in between two container cars. Everything is bigger, but does that mean better?

The number one question that everyone is asking, “Is this better than The Dark Knight?” I would argue no, it isn’t better. However, before you level death threats towards me let me tell you why. The Dark Knight, in my opinion, is a 4.8/5 and The Dark Knight Rises gets pretty close to that but falls short. The reason for this is mainly the script. Due to The Dark Knight being a smaller scale film it benefited from not having too many balls in the air at once. With Nolan not wanting to disappoint by keeping the scale the same he had to put more balls in the air. Its a risky move, see Spider-Man 3 for an example of how NOT to do this correctly. At times TDKR just doesn’t feel as tightly put together as 2008’s The Dark Knight. Now that being said, Nolan juggles all the grandiose ideas, action set pieces, and characters quite well, but makes a few missteps.

The characters have been the backbone of the Nolan Batman films, and The Dark Knight Rises is no exception. Newcomers to the trilogy, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway all do great jobs. I especially liked Bane’s portrayal, just a tad better than in the Joel Schumaker travesty! I was the most skeptical about Anne Hathaway of all of the casting and I was 100% wrong. She was the best female casting to counteract Nolan’s absolutely abysmal female choices in the previous films. Hardy’s Bane was a fun one to watch. His, clearly, redubbed voice was piped in a bit loud in parts, but I assume this was due to the use of IMAX cameras, which are notoriously loud. All the returning cast were just as good as the previous films, however, Michael Caine really stood out this time as Alfred Pennyworth. His level of emotion made any scene he was in feel heavy and real. Bale’s Bruce Wayne is pitch perfect, but the Batman voice still prevails, its better but still there.

All and all, The Dark Knight Rises is nothing to sneeze at. It brings an excellent end to the trilogy that we all know and love and respects us and the characters while it does it. This isn’t The Avengers or The Amazing Spider-Man, those are good movies. The Dark Knight Rises is the last film in a trilogy of proper films. I wouldn’t even bother comparing them. They are very different things. I love the silliness and over the top action of the two aforementioned movies, however, TDKR brings something completely different to the table, and that’s always a great thing.

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image via whogottherole.com