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REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises

For those who are about to see the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Be warned. This review will be containing spoilers and as such it should not be viewed by anyone who is about to go and see the film or is planning to see the film.
Before all that though, I obviously cannot review The Dark Knight Rises before mentioning the events that occurred this morning near Denver, Colorado.As someone who has been looking forward to see this film. It is a shame that for 14 people, they did not get the chance to see the full film before some sick bastard went and decided to go on a fit of violence. My thoughts and wishes go out to the families of those killed and to the injured. A cinema is a place people go to and escape from the outside world. Not to have its ugly face placed in front of  them. Before the media goes down the path of pinning the blame or inspiration for this event on the film itself or the films crew. I would like to point out one thing. It is with deep regret that this person did not stop to think of or follow the Batman’s golden rule. He never carries guns and more importantly. He never kills.
Back on topic. The Dark Knight Rises is Christopher Nolan’s Third and final Batman film. Nolan did great work in Batman Begins (a film I still count as the definition of a comic book adapted movie) and did even greater with The Dark Knight. My greatest fear was that this film would go the route so many third films go and not be able to live up to the quality shown in the previous movies (X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, Blade Trinity to name but a few). Despite that, I still trusted Nolan. His two Batman films were very close to perfection and Inception was another film that I hugely enjoyed.
The Dark Knight Rises delivers on all fronts. It is a film that hugely builds upon and improves the groundwork that was set in the previous 2 films. In fact The Dark Knight Rises is incredibly connected with the two previous films. Each actor in the film delivers their performance on a level I could only expect from Nolan. Christian Bale is now completely settled into the Bruce Wayne / Batman role. Gary Oldman continues to prove why he’s one of the best actors in the world and the addition of Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy are prefect. Much like I had to give praise to Heath Ledger for his performance as the Joker in the Dark Knight. Tom Hardy deserves just as much praise for his role as Bane. The character had only appeared in one previous Batman film and that was the “film I shall not name” and that “film” had reduced him to nothing more than a bumbling idiotic sidekick. Hardy delivers a character who is a very physical threat but also an intellectual threat as well. The Bane that appears in the film is very similar to the Bane that appears in the comic books. Despite he doesn’t use the Venom drug, the character is still very intimidating and when he breaks the bat, just like in KnightFall. It does make you question just how the Batman can return. Anne Hathaway is a very believable Selina Kyle / Catwoman and her character is treated as more than just a woman in a catsuit. They make her very human and she’s a great character.
On the negative side, the film isn’t as great as Batman Begins. But that doesn’t make it as bad a comic book movie as The Amazing Spider-Man. The only problem I had with the film was that at times the voice of Bane was difficult to follow. In an effort to make Bane sound threatening, they had made him slightly difficult to understand and at times I often found myself spending time trying to understand Bane than actually watching the film. That’s my only complaint to an otherwise perfect film.
Just as Batman Begins used Batman: Year One for its source material and The Dark Knight used The Man Who Laughs, The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke. The Dark Knight Rises uses The Dark Knight Returns, KnightFall and Batman: No Man’s Land for their source materials. It’s Nolan’s use of the established Batman mythology that makes his efforts all the more remarkable. Amazing Spider-Man failed on so many levels because it ignored the established background of the comic books as a basis. Nolan doesn’t make this mistake. He allows the mythology to bring the movie and character to life.
Throughout the long wait for this films release, I had made the conscious decision to avoid any and all spoilers about the film. A decision that I found had hugely paid off during the film. I was completely unprepared for the revelation that Ms Tate was actually Talia. I was even less prepared for the return of Liam Neeson along with Cillian Murphy making a 3rd appearance as well. The whole experience of the film reminded me of why spoilers should be avoided. A film should be enjoyed and for the first time. It shouldn’t have every detail about it revealed before. It removes the surprise and the enjoyment.
Will there be another Batman film is the question that most will be asking. Obviously by the end of the film people will know that there is certainly the potential to carry on the storyline. It should be worth noting before people start complaining about how a different character ends up taking on the Batman’s legacy. Dick Grayson did the same at the end of the Batman RIP storyline and it worked. Dick Grayson’s Batman was a refreshing change of pace. So if there is a fourth Batman film, if it carries on under a different name (character, actor and director) then as long as they continue Nolan’s work and his quality to his work. I won’t mind at all.

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  1. Cactus Jack
    July 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm | #1

    Who’s to say it couldn’t pick back up with Bale as Batman, and JGL becoming Robin? Bruce Wayne obviously retired from the cape and cowl once and returned…who’s to say he can’t do it again??

    I left the theater nearly in tears knowing Nolan was done with these films, and with how fantastic they’ve all been…and with so much of the Batman lore left untouched….I only wish I could get in this brilliant man’s ear and attempt to persuade him to keep it going!!! I want some Nolan-Penguin, dammit!!!!

    • July 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm | #2

      Christian Bale has already stated that he doesn’t want to return to the character. So if Bruce Wayne is to return then it will most likely be with a different actor.
      I would prefer Nolan to keep on making Batman films but I do understand his reasoning. It’s better to go out with a bang and on a high than risk running the series into the ground. If DC and Warner Bros. do decide to continue with the film franchise I only hope that Nolan continues to be involved even in some small way. Of course, I wouldn’t want to be the person who has to fill Nolan or Bales shoes. If there is another Batman film, the weight of expectation on it would be crushing.

  2. July 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm | #3
  3. July 27, 2012 at 10:57 am | #4

    Good review on your site, agree completely about your view on Bane. Thanks for commenting.

  4. July 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm | #5

    Great review. I too loved the performances by Bale, Hathaway and Levitt.

    Nolan ended his trilogy in style!

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