Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - No-Spoiler Movie Review

I know, I said I'd write about Pokemon. But I'm a film student and I just saw The Dark Knight Rises.

Bear with me, it's been a good few months since my last review and I expect this one to be more lengthy than my Avengers review despite the fact that I like that movie just a smidgen more. There will be for the most part no spoilers, just a few cast details and such.
The main thing I want to address since lots of people are either pro-Avengers or pro-DKR is that both movies try to do different things, and in my opinion both succeed. I also believe that most comic book fans prefer one company over the other, but are at least fans of the other. If you're not, you're missing out. On to the review! There will be no spoilers.

It's not a Mark Review without a picture.

The plot is a bit slow to pick up, but there are even more new characters in this movie than the previous in the trilogy. There are many establishing moments and the movie is well-paced. I was never too confused and even though there were plot twists, there were no moments where I wished the movie would backtrack to explain something. 
I was completely satisfied with the plot and it also served as a closing to the circle of the Dark Knight Trilogy, which Hollywood seems to be avoiding at the moment. That itself shows that Nolan knew how to handle these movies. As you may have guessed, the "Rises" in the title tells the audience that Batman has all but vanished from Gotham, and needs to come back one last time to set the city on the right path. The plot reflects that and there are many micro-stories that set up every big event that occurs in the movie, instead of big stories that build up bigger and bigger like in Spider-Man 3, to put it in perspective. 
The movie also doesn't drag too badly if you're already a fan of the series. If you aren't, it may suffer in that regard, but each character is given a spotlight and then some. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end...and a clear end to the trilogy as well. There could be room for questions but in the end it's not a big deal because - well, let's face it, he's Batman.
As far as comic accuracy, I personally don't feel there needs to be careful attention to detail in every single scene to a certain comic. When I go out to watch a movie, I go to enjoy it as a movie, and this film succeeds at that with no doubt in my mind. They are different forms of media and should be treated as such. I may be biased being a film student, though.

This is a point I don't address's in my nature. However, I enjoyed the score and nothing really stood out as bad. It picked up where it needed to, certain scenes that could have done without were accentuated with it, and overall it made the movie more enjoyable, which is what a film score should set out to do.

As I said before, there are many new characters introduced in this sequel. The mayor, the new cop, Catwoman, Bane, and many more. They all fit into the Nolan mythos well and hold up the movie on their own strengths. There are also recognizable faces such as someone Torchwood fans will see as Owen Harper. It was cool to see and like The Avengers before it, this film has an all-star cast consisting of only the best actors.
Anne Hathaway played Selina Kyle really well, certainly much better than Halle Berry (not that it was hard, but you know). She plays off of Bruce like Catwoman should, and evokes an image of the character that is both deceptive and resourceful.
Speaking of which, Bane was also well-played. In the comics, Bane is very smart and resourceful, but he is generally a larger, burlesque villain. In the film that is smartly reduced to someone still powerful, but there is more emphasis on how intelligent Bane is and his plans to revolutionize Gotham. It's yet another version of the character that was written to fit in these three films and it shows. I would say I enjoyed Bane more than I did Joker in the previous film, though I do love TDK. 
The cop in the movie played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is good as well. He represents what Commissioner Gordon does but in a younger light, and that is important because of many of the actions he pulls off that Gordon would generally have trouble with - not that Gordon skips out on some awesome scenes, because he doesn't.
As for the other characters, there's not a lot I can say without giving away anything major, but they're all very good and the old non-deceased characters also come back with a bang. They all carry this movie with the magnitude it needed, and I wouldn't have replaced any of them.

That is one of the biggest themes of the movie, I feel. Magnitude. While watching the film, that was the major word in my mind. Everything is important, everything was important, and this was undoubtedly the film that carried the most weight in the trilogy. Is that to say I liked it more than TDK? ...Yeah, I'd say that. Every single move by the characters left me wondering what would happen next, what the repercussions of each action was, and what might happen should the heroes fail.
Of course, you expect the heroes to win. There's no other way to end the trilogy. But with the ultimate win, there are many penultimate losses. Failures. Souls breaking, bodies dying. That much was necessary, as without each one, the movie would have left with an unsatisfying ending. Not to say it wasn't happy, as indeed it was.
Overall, I'd say that The Dark Knight Rises succeeds at what it set out to do - tell an incredible Batman story, be heavy-handed without being anvilicious, and ending the trilogy on a very high note.
I still like the Avengers better, yes, but that movie was about fun and style. This movie was about the people of Gotham and what Bruce Wayne needed to do to be the real hero.
I can't give it a perfect score, but I haven't seen the perfect movie quite yet. However, this is one I will speak praise about, just the same as my other favorite movies.
I believe in Batman.



  1. How'd you feel about Bane's super quick write off at the end?

    1. Yeah, that was rushed. I didn't mind it so much because of what else happened at the end, but I agree it was a little jarring.

  2. Do you feel that the "twist" did more harm than good? Especially the whole sewer fight where Bane was saying something along the lines of "I was born in darkness". That applied more to Talia. After she stabbed the bat I couldn't help but feel he was a secondondary character after that. And Talia didn't feel like a villain really much at all. I couldn't help but feel the whole ending was extremely anti-climatic for the last of the franchise.

    1. I did feel like that was kind of cheap. I also feel the movie kind of slots into the second of the trilogy much better than TDK. Change up the writing and scenes a bit and you could basically pull off switching the two.
      I don't really like that, but it's just how things turned out. The ending -was- a little bit too hopeful for how the rest of the movie turned out, but with Ra's al Ghul in the first movie you had to kind of expect Talia to come in eventually. It might have been better handled a different way. Nolan always fits two villains in his Batman movies but sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It didn't detract too much from my enjoyment, but I agree it wasn't objectively satisfying.


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