If you are reading this then you have no doubt spent countless hours reading about and anticipating Christopher Nolan’s epic trilogy ending film, The Dark Knight Rises. Before attending the 12:01 IMAX showing all I heard about was how there was no way this film could live up to expectations. I now strongly and proudly can say that this movie lived up to the expectations; it was awesome.
A very brief synopsis: 8 years after Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent’s killing spree, Batman has disappeared from action as Gotham appears orderly and lawful. All appears well but a growing separation between the 99%ers and the rest of society has been growing and all reached a boiling point when Bane, a masked and mysterious mercenary wreaks havoc in Gotham demanding the people take control of their lives. With the help of a sly thief, Selina Kyle, Bane helps the people take over Gotham as Batman is forced to back into action.
Disclaimer: Spoilers Below- Don’t read further if you have not read the film.
Wow! What a movie, what an end to arguably the greatest trilogy of all-time. Let’s break it down.
No one thought Nolan could ever create a villain close to the same level as Heath Ledger’s Joker. While I will not stand here and say Bane was better than the Joker, I cannot honestly say that Bane won’t go down as one of the most infamous villains ever. Tom Hardy physically transforms himself for the role (see Bronson) and nails it. Bane’s brutal force and evil make him one of the most horrifying villains ever. His physical dominance over Batman was shocking and awesome. Honestly, every scene he is in, I sat there anticipating how Bane was going to next brutally deform somebody. Bane was methodical and exact in his plans as he turns Gotham inside out.
Every time I go into a film of Anne Hathaway’s I don’t expect her to be good; yet she always shocks me and rocks every role she is given. This film was no different. Anne Hathaway probably stole this film. She in my opinion was the best and most outstanding performance. Her character Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) was perfectly done. An “adaptable” scavenger, Selina does what she needs to survive, even when that means leaving Batman to die. Hathaway was sly and intriguing. In other words, when she was onscreen I loved every second of it and when she was not onscreen, I wanted her there.
Joseph Gordon Levitte is one of the best actors in Hollywood. With his breakout role in Inception, JGL proved he can play a crucial role in a film and nail it down. His John Blake offers us a character of morality and normalcy in a world of Batmans and Banes. JGL plays the straight arrow perfectly here as Gotham’s best cop. As the ending suggests…. We will get to the ending soon.
Mario Cotillard is one of the most breathtaking actresses in all of Hollywood. She opens her mouth and you find yourself mesmerized by her. TDKR is no exception. Cotillard is awesome as Miranda Tate, a high level Wayne Enterprise executive who has a thing for Bruce Wayne. It is only revealed at the end that she is actually Talia al Ghul, Ras’ daughter who has been working with Bane all along. We will discuss more of the ending.
Commissioner Gordon, Luscious Fox, Alfred
The fact that the supporting cast of this film includes 3 of the greatest actors of the last 50 years does nothing but add to the greatness of the film. Oldman is always amazing and good for a laugh or two. Freeman is Freeman and there is no man wiser. But of the three, Michael Caine brings the most to the film as Alfred. His relationship with Bruce gets more focus and we get a glimpse of a much more personal and emotional character. His pain when Bruce/Batman suffers reminds us why Caine is such a good actor.
Christian Bale is the best Batman ever. He is believable as the rich snobby Bruce Wayne (see American Psycho) and awesome as the Dark Knight. Bale is asked to play a brittle and frail Bruce Wayne who cant shake off what happened with Dent. Bale of course does a great job and fights back as Batman better than anyone else. This film focuses more on Bale than TDK and I have no complaints.
I don’t have many complaints about the film and the ones I do have are really nitpicky. But if I had to question anything in the film it would have to be the following. Firstly, I thought the pace of the film was slightly off. At a solid 2:44, the film is quite lengthy and though I don’t mind the length I feel like the film was oddly paced. When moving fast, the film was amazing and Nolan delivers as he always does. It was more the middle slower parts that I thought actually slowed the film down a bit too much. That being said, the film was amazing. Additionally, very un-Nolan-like, I actually felt that he telegraphed some of the films biggest surprises. The film’s two biggest surprises John Blake possibly taking over for Batman and Miranda Tate actually being Ras al Ghul’s daughter were both hinted to way too much. There were just too many hints and long speeches given to John Blake to not expect him to take over for Batman. The second twist was better hidden but still slightly predictable. A final issue that didn’t bother me so much but I got asked about 1,000 times was how John Blake know Bruce was Batman. So Blake recounts how he met Bruce Wayne years ago when Wayne made a visit to his orphanage. He intuited that Bruce was hiding a big secret. Blake says he'd learned to put on a false face to hid his own pain and he recognized that same mask on Bruce. And that is how he knew Bruce was Batman. Still don’t get it.
The ending to the film was amazing and executed perfectly. I loved the story line of Miranda being the daughter of Ras al Ghul, as she infiltrated Wayne Enterprises for the League of Shadows was a great “coming full circle” touch by Nolan. Nolan was probably asked a million times about the film’s ending and whether or not he would kill off Batman. As the film culminated with the bomb going off, seemingly killing Batman, I felt that Nolan had given everything we wanted. Then as the surprises kept coming, we learn of the fixing of the autopilot on The Bat, of Blake’s seemingly assignment to take over for Bruce while running the orphanage, Blake’s middle name being Robin and Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina at the Paris café brough the beautiful story of the Dark Knight to a close.
Nolan’s Batman was always about something greater than Batman himself. Batman in this trilogy represented an ideal, a fear in the minds of criminals. In a world with so much corruptness and evil, the symbol of hope and good is something Nolan truly establishes with this final film. Blake is almost too perfect of a man and that is exactly what we need to know the Batman mantel will be in good hands. This trilogy was really perfectly crafted. The story comes full circle in terms of the League of Shadows and Ras al Ghul and we are truly given a full analysis and portrayl of everything that Batman is. From vigilante, to Dark Knight, to Hero; Batman is by far the most intriguing and complicated character in comic book history and Nolan has done him justice. I personally thank Nolan for his incredible work on this project. TDKR is an amazing film as part of an unbelievable trilogy. What the future holds for Batman is unsure but what I can tell you is that as of right now, his name has never been greater.