About four years ago, Christopher Nolan impressed us all with his version of the Batman vs. Joker rivalry in the Dark Knight film. He wound up setting the bar pretty high for super hero movies and managed to push the limits of suspenseful darkness. So when he announced the third movie in the series, he had some pretty big shoes to fill for many fans of the batman film franchise. Did he accomplish that goal? This reviewer is here to give some insight into that question and try to verify the truth of what the ads say on TV. So gear up for my review on the Dark Knight Rises.
Like most Batman movies, The Dark Knight rises (DKR) is about a villain once again trying to bring Gotham city to its knees and spread chaos. The villain they chose for this movie is Bane (Tom Hardy) a normally drug induced DC version of the Hulk who just smashes stuff. Seeing this guy as the main villain didn’t raise my hopes too high, but to my surprise they did a nice job with his sinister side. Nolan’s version of the muscle mad men actually had a brain some coordinated fighting, and even some speaking roles. Unfortunately for me the threat of Bane gets waned from his voice, which sounds a lot like Sean Connery trying to make a threatening speech. However, once he stops talking and starts taking action, his menacing power returns once more and the audience are once again reminded at how criminal insanity of Batman can be a scary thing.
Perhaps the best additions to the movie are Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who added some spice, pizzazz and subplot to the movie to help deviate from the linear Batman fights bad guy plot. Hathaway played her role fantastically and captured the seductive, sleek, and controlled thief to a much needed level. She certainly did her homework for this movie and for me filled some pretty big shoes, or should I say very high heels, to bring the legendary cat burglar to life. Yet why Nolan and the storyboard team decided to make her an idiot when it came to Batman’s identity, she couldn’t tell between Wayne’s normal voice and his grunting, I’ll never know. Regardless girls will be impressed with Hathaway’s females rule atmosphere on the movie, and guys will be happy to see her walking, fighting, and driving in tight spandex. Like most of his movies, Levitt does another fantastic job playing a big role and what a role indeed. Nolan had the character Blake act as a bridge that linked together many of the stories, many of the characters, and many of the scenes itself. Levitt once again managed to do a good job adapting to each situation and provided the emotional edge required to bring the audience into the moment, which is something to be admired.
The rest of the actors did a good job in the film and fit into their character roles well for the shifting story. However let’s get to some other important things about this movie that people are interested in hearing. Let’s start with the story of DKR. For the most part it’s essentially Batman trying to stop the bad guys from once again destroying his city. However, what differs in this film is the character developing plots and scenes that are meant to bring us closer to the characters. Where the first movie was about identity and the second one was about justice, this third film was about redemption and the future. Nolan has somehow used his gifts to help tie past into present and somehow pave the way to the future all while keeping the story interesting. A few “twists” helped add some shock value to it, but if you are a fan of the series and pay attention you can predict most of the things. All of the characters in this movie though, minus the extras of course, are involved in the story development and each adds their piece to the redemption puzzle. Unfortunately, Nolan still likes to make half of his characters clueless to the fact that a simple change in voice is enough to fool their otherwise brilliant minds.
Now let’s talk about the action. Of the three Dark Knight movies, this is by far the most action packed. The movie has a number of chase scenes that are stunningly detailed and designed to fit into the dark world. Although the bike sometimes looks fake, the graphics team still had me excited as the Dark Knight overcame obstacles and obstructions that would make many cyclists jealous. The new bat plane even had a good chase scene, but aside from that well it mainly just hovered and looked pretty for the audience. Instead the action was used as a story telling device in this movie mainly as a ploy to help describe the chaos of the city. A couple of the scenes even used the action to help elaborate more on Bane and Wayne’s pasts and motives for being and what drove their characters to do the things they did. Regardless the fist on fist fights were rather fitting for a Batman movie, though don’t expect them to be jumping off walls, using swords, or summoning anime bolts of lightning. If you do, well guess what you’ll be disappointed. As for the mob fight scene you see in the trailer, it’s okay, but like so many movies the budget forced them to essentially resort to ant swarm syndrome, where the camera just zooms out and you see a whole bunch of people running into one another.
I guess the only last thing to share is some of the weaknesses in this movie. For one thing the time of the movie is a little overbearing, as almost three hours for a batman movie is a little tedious for me. The editing department could have tightened up the movie a little better and eliminated a few scenes that were meant to raise hope, but instead just had my butt falling asleep. There were also a few times in the movie where the situation was incredibly dire, yet the team decided to make some of these scenes a heartfelt dialog moment. Although the dialog was well written, it still was hilarious because it was so inappropriately timed. Perhaps what was also the most hilarious thing to me was how careless they were with a few pieces of equipment. What I mean is in what real life situation can you remember dragging a bomb on the ground by a cable and it not exploding? I guess in the intense moments one may not realize it, but for my friends and me we couldn’t help but chuckle at the silliness of the situation.
To wrap this up, The Dark Knight Rises may be one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen. Action fans may find this one to be the best of the trilogy, as there is enough to drive the story and be entertaining. The phenomenal cast Nolan recruited combined with Nolan’s directing talent did make an entertaining story that will stir up a plethora of emotions and thoughts. However, three hours of a movie that drags in some places may be a thing to think about when planning on seeing this film. So did Nolan fill the big shoes he set up with the Dark Knight? I say for the most part yes, but I still think the Dark Knight was the best of trilogy for me. The scores for this movie are the following:
Movie Overall: 8.0
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but it is worth a trip to the theater to see. However, if you go make sure not to take kids who are easily scared, as their crying and whining will be a distraction to many audience members. So until next week, this is Robbie K signing off and telling you to continue enjoying the movies.