The Dark Knight Rises review

Christopher Nolan
Christian Bale
Tom Hardy
Anne Hathaway
Gary Oldman
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Rated: PG-13

Time to use Bat-Computer to write Bat-Review for Bat-Movie!

“The Dark Knight Rises” is the third and final film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy and takes place eight years after the end of “The Dark Knight.” We pick up with Gotham City now living in a state of relative peace. Because of Batman (Bale) and Commissioner Gordon’s (Oldman) cover-up of the Harvey Dent situation, the city was able to put away most criminals and clean up the streets.

Since then, Bruce Wayne has hung up the cowl and stays reclusive in his mansion. However his services once again become required when a new threat comes to Gotham in the form of Bane (Hardy), a terrorist with a lot of strengths and some old ties with Batman’s past.

Bane proves to be more than a match for Batman and unleashes absolute havoc on the city. This causes Batman to face challenges he’s never had to before and join forces with a cat burglar named Selina (Hathaway).

The plot of “The Dark Knight Rises” is good, but not great. It starts off strong and has a good ending; however, the middle really has some problems where the film seems to sag. There’s a period where Wayne leaves the city, and despite the intention to put the focus on Bruce for character development, I felt it served more for just exposition for Bane.

The third act does pick up well and is exciting, yet by this point I just felt like there wasn’t much of a connection with what was going on. It may have been that the villain’s plan was a little bit rehashed, having seen similar ideas from the first two Nolan Batman movies.

And this time, there isn’t the great philosophical battle between anarchy and order like there was in the last film.

The acting is superb of course with all the performers being Oscar caliber. Bruce Wayne has a lot of depth here and Christian Bale brings that depth to the fore front. Despite the multiple levels here that explore Bruce’s motivations to be Batman though, I feel almost as if by this point it’s not as necessary anymore, and some of the time devoted to him “re-finding himself” feels a bit wasted.

Anne Hathaway delivers very well here, having by far one of her best performances to date. She manages to steal a lot of the scene by giving a sly but not silly Catwoman. The relationship between Batman and Catwoman though feels a little bit underdeveloped. It’s not unconvincing, yet there should have been more to it.

Tom Hardy’s Bane is very good. He’s menacing, having both brain and brawn to be the perfect match for Batman. Hardy plays the role well giving the character a level of menacing arrogance, he’s able to be a legitimate threat to Batman, being able to talk some trash and back it up. Unfortunately, as I previously stated, his plan feels like it has been done before, and there isn’t as great of a hero-villain deal.

One of my favorite characters from the film was the new comer Blake, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, a young, idealistic cop who allies himself with Batman. His character was refreshing, having a younger character joining forces with Batman. The role feels familiar, the young new cop in a crime drama, and it’s welcome, his character is really relatable.

One of the best parts of this whole trilogy has been the veteran actors, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. All three of them return here and once again give strong performances, especially Michael Caine who has some really emotional moments.

The film does deliver with its action. The excitement factor is raised as Nolan provides a huge scope for the battle scenes and multiple explosives going off. There’s also the introduction of the new vehicle for Batman, simply titled the “Bat.” It’s a flying vehicle that can do all types of maneuvers and damn is it cool. The hand-to-hand combat scenes are also great, having become much improved since “Batman Begins.” The fight choreography and the way the scenes are shot are great.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is a nice way to end the trilogy; it is a very technically sound film, with great performances and good direction. However the middle is a little to jumbled leaving the third act a bit lacking. Also, I won’t spoil the ending but I didn’t really feel that it fit. It’s a good film but not the masterpiece like its predecessor. This one comes in at a low 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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