Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises review

Before I get to my actual review of the film, I feel that it is necessary to make a statement about the tragic events that occurred in Aurora, Colorado. I woke up on Friday morning with extreme excitement. The Dark Knight Rises is something that I have been anticipating for several years and I was really looking forward to seeing it. I went to Deadline to check the box office numbers and I saw Nikki Finke putting her strong opinions into the articles as usual. But she was talking about something unusual. There had been a terrible tragedy in Colorado, where a mass murderer entered a movie theater and killed twelve people. Suddenly my excitement turned to anger and fear. More information has piled in through the day and it was revealed that the shooter was a man named James Holmes. Every single time I see his smirking face on TV, it sickens me. I've heard some people say that he was extremely planned and thus that means he's just evil and not crazy. That's wrong. He has to be crazy. Sane people, no matter how angry, bitter or violent they are don't shoot up movie theaters. It sickens me. I love movie theaters. They are my home and a place that I hold close to my heart and to think that a man would hurt people there is disturbing. The director Christopher Nolan said something similar and I found it to be fantastic. I hope James Holmes is brought to justice and I hope that without getting into politics, stricter laws on how many weapons people can obtain. There is no reason that a person should own a military style rifle. It doesn't make sense. My sympathies go out to the families of the victims in Colorado and I hope they can overcome the pain that one evil man has caused.

Now, on to the film. The Dark Knight Rises is the highly anticipated conclusion to his Dark Knight Trilogy. The film takes place eight years after The Dark Knight, with Gotham at peace and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living like Howard Hughes in his home. Bruce is thrust back into action after Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) tracks a man into the sewers and is kidnapped by a group of underground terrorists led by the masked man known as Bane (Tom Hardy). Gordon falls into the sewers and drifts out where John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) finds him. He tells Blake about the army and Bane and Blake urges Bruce to bring Batman back. I had a brief problem here. Several people in the film who are new characters seem to just know that Bruce was Batman. I guess they figured it out but still. Gotham soon falls under siege to Bane and his group of League of Shadows mercenaries and it's up to Batman to save it.

If you think that that is the whole plot then you would be wrong. There is so much going on in this movie, it's often hard to keep track of it all. There is too much plot for one viewing. The acting is top-notch. All the actors give superior performances, including Bale with his best performance of the series. Other stand-outs are Michael Caine as Wayne's butler Alfred and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Now, Selina Kyle doesn't especially fit in to the story all that well and she often treads the line between good and bad.

The film is long, clocking in at 2 hours, 45 minutes. That is long but once the film hits the second act, it blows by. There is so much action in this film and so many plot threads, it's amazing that Nolan keeps it all under control. I don't know how to say all the awesomeness this film has without spoiling it. I guess I will do a spoiler section.

Overall, The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic film that is a great conclusion to the trilogy. Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy will go down with Lord of the Rings, the ORIGINAL Star Wars, and The Godfather as one of the greatest trilogies of all time. I will not compare Rises to The Dark Knight or Batman Begins yet because as with all of Nolan's films, I have to see it multiple times to fully assess it.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A                                             (9.7/10)















Alright SPOILERS follow. The Dark Knight Rises is a ticking bomb story. I know people have complained about that but I thought it was just fine. What I really want to talk about is the ending. After Bane breaks Batman's back and sends him to his prison, he thrusts Gotham into chaos and anarchy. After blowing up a football field and snapping the neck of Dr. Pavel, Bane reveals that Gotham will be destroyed by a nuclear bomb in five months. Bridge fall, buildings collapse and utter chaos ensues. There is non-stop action and several twists and turns during the second half of the film. Alright, so after all that Batman returns and fights Bane. Soon it is revealed that his love interest, Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) is Talia Al Ghul, Ra's Al Ghul's child and the one who Bane took his orders from. That reveal really puts all the pieces together. She stabs Batman and leaves with the bomb. She orders Bane to kill Batman and he puts a shotgun to Batman's face before Selina Kyle comes in and blows Bane to smithereens. That part was extremely anti-climatic and I was disappointed, but whatever. Batman, Gordon and Catwoman chase down the bomb while John Blake is trying to get the kids from the boys home to safety. Batman knocks Talia into a hole in the ground where she dies. Batman takes the bomb and flies out over the ocean and the bomb explodes, apparently killing Bruce and saving Gotham. There is a funeral and the Batman is hailed as a hero. Then it is revealed to Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) that the Bat was put on auto-pilot. And then Alfred sees Bruce and Selina having lunch in a cafe that he mentioned before in the film. That leaves the question: Did Batman live or die? I think a good point that was made by a listener on the Rope of Silicon podcast (which you should listen to by the way) is that Alfred never met Selina except when she was a waitress and it is not his fantasy and has to be real. I don't know I think it would be hard for him to get out of the Bat that quickly. This is from Christopher Nolan, the man who put the unsure ending in Inception. We will never know.

The other thing I wanted to discuss was the fact that John Blake finds the Batcave at the end and that his full name is Robin John Blake. My question is: will he take up the responsibility of Batman or will he become Robin. And will Warner Bros. continue with that franchise? I think it would be fantastic if they did and did it with Nolan or a different director at the helm it would be great. It is a great ending. It ends a franchise while possibly beginning another. Instead of rebooting, Warner Bros. should continue on with John Blake as the Batman. It will be interesting to see where they take the property, but we shall see. That concludes my review but look for a second opinion sometime in the near future.

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