Review of Dark Knight Rises

Posted: July 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

ImageThis weekend I was finally able to see The Dark Knight Rises. Now, I have been a Batman fan since I was a kid. Not just of the old, cheesy TV show starring Adam West, but of the comic book as well. I used to have such classic graphic novels such as A Death in the Family and The Killing Joke. All of which showcased the dark side of Batman. I loved Michael Keaton’s Batman in 1989 Image, I was in the 8th grade at the time. I didn’t care so much to the rest of the films in that franchise.

However, since Batman Begins, I’ve been hooked on Christopher Nolan’s version. Finally, someone got the spirit of the comic book right. The dark vibes, the tone, the pacing, all perfect. And it seems so far, each of his movies is better than the one before it. So how does Dark Knight Rises hold up?

I’ve seen some mixed reviews, but I think its important to remember, this is the third movie in a trilogy, so it is in fact the third act in a longer story. It begins eight years after The Dark Knight. Since that night the Joker was captured and Harvey Dent/Two-Face was killed, Batman hasn’t been seen, and Bruce Wayne himself has become a recluse. 

At the beginning of the film, however, we are introduced to Bane. Image

Bane, played by Tom Hardy,  is the first villain we’ve seen so far who is superior to Batman physically and intellectually. Bane is hired by one of Wayne Enterprise’s board members to come to Gotham and help him in a corporate takeover. This board member soon realizes he is in way over his head. Before Bane makes his big move, Bruce meets Selena Kyle/Catwoman played brilliantly by Anne Hathaway.Image

so Bruce brings Batman out of the mothballs as a result of both people making their appearance. He first shows up in pursuit of Bane after a robbery at the stock exchange. To Batman’s surprise, the cops ignore Bane and the other robbers to focus on Batman. 

Added to the mix in this film is Joseph Gordon Levitt who places Officer John Blake. Blake, like Bruce Wayne was also an orphan due to his parents being murdered  and on his own figures out who Bruce Wayne really is. His character often acts as a conscience for Batman and Commissioner Gordon, who are tired and jaded, while Blake reminds them of their ideals when they were younger.

As the story unfolds and without giving up too much, Bane launches a violent takeover of Gotham, a takeover that makes the Joker’s exploits look like a trip to Disneyland. I felt Tom Hardy did an excellent job as Bane. With the mask on, he often sounded Darth Vader like at times. Plus his massive size, he came across as very menacing. In one confrontation, he man handles Batman like a naughty rag doll (the hazard of being out of the game for eight years I imagine).

Catwoman as in the comics is a dynamic character, siding on the side of Batman and Bane at various times, whichever suits her. I love the fact that in her portrayal of Catwoman, she was able to kick ass, had plenty of spunk, and didn’t crawl around purring and making silly cat-like gestures. What made her “Cat” like was the fact that she was a skilled cat burglar. Of her suit, everything was functional, even her “cat ears” flipped down as night vision goggles. So like the rest of the costumes in Christopher Nolan’s Batman universe, every piece served a purpose. She had no tail nor any silly claws. 

The movie was incredibly intense. By the time it was done, I felt like I needed to catch my breath. LIke any final act, Nolan places Gotham and Batman into circumstances that seemed even dire and impossible to overcome than ever before. While in Dark Knight, the Joker was only out to wreak havoc for his own amusement, Bane had a distinct purpose and as that purpose came to light, it was quite ugly.

There is a lot of political symbolism in this one as well. Bane and his revolutionaries use a lot of “occupy” rhetoric about the rich and the establishment. There is talk about people being wrongfully imprisoned due to “The Dent Act” named after Harvey Dent, you could insert “Patriot Act” there I assume. There had been talk before the film’s release that Bane somehow represented Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, but the character Bane was created in 1993, so that is kind of silly. The film does take the side of the establishment however, and does show what happens when there is now law and order to keep the peace.

The ending in some ways made sense, yet in others, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I won’t give anymore away other than that. I just recall a few good story lines in the comics that they could have gone with here, and I think they missed an opportunity some something more unique. Over all, I loved the movie. Sure, there are some plot holes and a few more scenes with some awkward or unrealistic dialogue, more so than the first two films, but you hardly notice. It was well worth it, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it in the theater again.

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