Christopher Nolan’s first two Batman movies are two of the best superhero movies ever made. I’ve been wanting to see the final movie in his trilogy since I found out that he definitely was going to make it. The Dark Knight Rises completes Nolan’s masterpiece in a wonderful way.
I’m only going to briefly discuss the plot of The Dark Knight Rises. Anyone who prefers not to know anything about the plot before seeing the movie should skip the next paragraph. I will mention things from the first two movies that will be spoilers for them for people who haven’t seen them yet.
**Minor Plot Discussion**
Eight years after deciding that Batman should take the blame for Harvey Dent’s death, Bruce Wayne is living like a recluse while Gotham is mostly crime free. All that changes when Bane arrives in town and starts causing trouble. Bruce decides the city needs Batman again even though he isn’t exactly in condition to do it. Bruce encounters Selina Kyle, a thief, and John Blake, a young cop who still believes in Batman, while planning to take on Bane.
**End of Minor Plot Discussion**
There are no extra scenes during or after the credits.
The Dark Knight Rises is based on the DC Comic book character Bruce Wayne/Batman. I have read that the plot for the movie has been inspired by Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns, and No Man’s Land. I haven’t read those, so I don’t know what might have been pulled from them for the movie. This movie continues to show the events in a way that is more realistic so it is believable that someone would dress up as a giant rodent to fight crime. The toll this has taken on Bruce’s body is shown.
Until just recently, I had thought that The Dark Knight Rises was going to pick up fairly soon after the events in The Dark Knight. Within the first few minutes, it is made clear how much time has passed since the death of Harvey. Even though it is eight years later, those events are still influencing things. Batman hasn’t been seen since the night Harvey died, but Bruce really hasn’t moved on which causes some conflict with Alfred. Bruce and Jim Gordon both have to deal with repercussions from their decision and some citizens of Gotham hope for the return of Batman as Bane becomes more active. The plot is complicated, but not so much that it is hard to follow. Characters, especially Bruce, have a lot to deal with over the course of the movie. A few things happen that I didn’t expect, though with one thing, I’m not sure why I didn’t at least suspect something like what is revealed.
The Dark Knight Rises is over two and a half hours long, making it the longest Nolan Batman movie. While it does move slower at times, I never felt like scenes were dragging or that it was too long. If the movie was shorter, everything wouldn’t have been dealt with as well. Several threads, some more important or serious than others, are dealt with by the end of the movie. I think the conclusion works, not only for this movie, for the trilogy overall. Some people aren’t going to like it. I even saw debate online over the ending once I was home from seeing the movie. I think the ending is clear, but evidently others do not. The movie has a darker tone overall, just like the first two movies, though there are one or two moments that are lighter. People that haven’t liked the darker nature of the first two movies will probably have the same issue with this one.
Action turns up in various scenes throughout The Dark Knight Rises, with Bane involved in some way in most of them. He is an efficient killing machine, but far from mindless. He has no problem using violence to achieve his goals. He uses guns, explosions, and his fists throughout the movie and he proves to be a formidable opponent for Batman. The fight between Batman and Bane is very impressive and probably the best fight from theses movies. Batman gets a new cool vehicle which is highly effective in a fight situation. Selina is involved in a few fights as well, usually when wearing her skintight black latex suit. The action scenes are very well done and help to make the movie more entertaining. Nolan likes to use practical effects when he can, and I think that works for the movie. I don’t know exactly what CGI is used in the movie, but it works. The movie does deserve the PG-13 rating and this really isn’t a child friendly movie.
Bruce hasn’t been shown to have many relationships in these movies. He had feelings for Rachel, but that didn’t work out, partially because of his work as Batman. Things between them got more complicated during the last movie, and that is one of the lingering issues. Bruce and Selina first meet when she breaks into a safe at Wayne Manor. That does help to get Bruce going out in the world again, and their relationship is complicated. He also spends some time with Miranda, a woman who has a seat on the board of Wayne Enterprises and has been involved in a project that Bruce ultimately stopped. She does seem to be a potential new love interest for Bruce.
Bruce has changed a lot from the man who first decided to dress up like a bat and fight crime. He has become a recluse, not leaving the house and not even keeping up with what is going on in the business. He ends up going through a lot, adding to the complexity of an already complex character. Christian Bale is wonderful in the part. Alfred is still with Bruce, but very concerned for him and a strain develops between the men, creating the most emotional moments of the movie. Michael Caine is absolutely perfect in the part, especially in those scenes.
Jim Gordon, still the commissioner of the police department, is struggling with things that go back to the decision to cover up the truth about Harvey. He doesn’t get to do as much, but Gary Oldman is still very good in the part. Lucius Fox is still running Wayne Enterprises while developing new potential gadgets as well. Morgan Freeman is good in the part. Foley is a high ranking official in the police department who doesn’t take Bane seriously at first. This is the first role I’ve seen Matthew Modine play in years, and I think it is the best I’ve ever seen him.
John Blake is a young cop who is promoted to detective by Jim. John hopes that Batman will return and he works hard to deal with situations caused by Bane. Joseph Gordon Levitt is really good in the part. Miranda has been trying to convince Bruce to continue with a project that he ended, a part of the board, and a potential new love interest. She isn’t around as much, so she isn’t as developed. Marion Cotillard is good in the part.
I have been very interested to see Nolan’s take on Selina Kyle and I think this is a very good version of the character. She is a thief, who did what she felt she had to do to survive who now wants a new start. She knows of Bane and is a bit conflicted about certain things. I like this version of the character and think Anne Hathaway does a very good job with it. She isn't actually called Catwoman, but that works for the movie. It is nice to see a good Catwoman character after the disaster of the Halle Berry movie.
The Joker in The Dark Knight is one of the best movie villains ever, making it hard for anyone to follow him in this movie. Bane is very different from Joker, and that is probably part of why he works as a strong, effective villain. This is not the mindless flunky of Poison Ivy from the steaming mess of Batman & Robin. This Bane is intelligent and a strong, formidable adversary for Batman. From things I have read over the years, this version of the character is more like the Bane from the comic books. He wears a mask that is creepy and intimidating. Tom Hardy does a really good job with the part.
Christian Bale - Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine - Alfred
Marion Cotillard - Miranda
Morgan Freeman - Lucius Fox
Joseph Gordon Levitt - John Blake
Tom Hardy - Bane
Anne Hathaway - Selina Kyle
Matthew Modine - Foley
Gary Oldman - Jim Gordon
Christopher Nolan - Director
With The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan has done what no one else has. He has completed a masterpiece of a superhero trilogy without the final movie turning into a mess in some way. Raimi did finish his Spider-Man trilogy, but the third movie was the weakest because of cramming too many villains in. X-Men: The Last Stand combined too many story elements so that ultimately nothing was properly dealt with. The Superman series went downhill in a big way with the third and fourth entries, just like the first Batman series. Nolan has escaped that and made an absolutely wonderful, awesome movie that is one of the best of the year.
This review is part of elvisdo’s 2012 Funny Pages Write-off.
I will be adding this movie to my list of the best superhero movies.
Batman Begins ~ The Dark Knight ~ The Dark Knight Rises ~
Other Batman Related Reviews
Batman: The Movie ~ Batman ~ Batman Returns ~ Batman Forever ~ Batman & Robin ~ Batman The Animated Series - Volume One ~ Batman: Gotham Knight ~ Batman: Mask of the Phantasm ~ Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero ~ Batman: Under the Red Hood ~ Birds of Prey - The Complete Series ~ Superman/Batman: Public Enemies ~ The Essential Batman Encyclopedia ~ Batman: The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight ~ Harley Quinn Batman 2010 Hallmark Ornament ~
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