“The Dark Knight Rises”
9 out of 10
Warning: I apologize if some of my review sounds a little vague but my aim is to keep it spoiler free.
I really had my doubts about 45 minutes into this one that it was going to be anywhere as good as the previous two in the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy. It opens with a spectacular introduction to Bane’s character and then meanders and lulls for almost an hour before it picks up again. To the film’s credit, all of that exposition explains what has happened to Bruce Wayne since the events of the Dark Knight and sets up the ending, which I wouldn’t dare give away here. But, there’s almost zero action whatsoever and the plot isn’t really progressed as it is updated. However, once you see Batman show up, the film absolutely soars and at the end of the day comes out as the second strongest in the recent Batman series (Dark Knight is in a word…perfect). The performances are all spot on. Christian Bale is still the best Batman ever and has a lot more dramatic weight to his character this time around. Michael Cane is still the perfect Alfred, Anne Hathaway shines as Catwoman, and Tom Hardy’s Bane is far more interesting than the comic book version of the character ever was.
As great as the performances are, it’s still the writing and directing of Christopher Nolan that has elevated this trilogy to more than summer blockbuster fare. There’s a brain behind all of the gadgets and comic book bravado. One of the key choices that Nolan made in the writing process is to have the motivations of the villains not be to destroy Gotham City but to have Gotham City’s own citizens destroy themselves. In all 3 films, those opposing Batman were anarchists that wanted to put the guns in the hands of the people and then watch them shoot each other.
I’d hate to give away more and ruin the plethora of surprises that await you at end to this groundbreaking comic book trilogy. I’ll just say this is by far the “biggest” film of them all. Gotham has never taken a pounding like it does in this film and Bane truly turns Batman into an underdog. And the ending is the perfect cap to those who have patiently awaited the final installment. It’s great to wait several years for a film and NOT be disappointed.