A fire will rise.
The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, written by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, and Syncopy, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is based on various Batman comics by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. It stars Christian Bale and Tom Hardy. The film was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the third and final film in the Dark Knight trilogy. It was preceded by The Dark Knight.
"Nobody cared who I was 'til I put on the mask." -Bane
After eight years in hiding, Batman is suddenly called back into action at the appearance of a clever, sneaky cat burglar that robs Bruce of his mother's prized necklace. After resurfacing, though, Batman is not welcomed by the police. This weakness in Gotham prompts Bane, a violent and aggressive mercenary, to strike and take over Gotham. The Dark Knight must now face all of his fears in this final chapter to the Batman story.
The first thing that I have is the final forty minutes of this film are some of the best in the Dark Knight trilogy. This film has a massive scale and massive stakes. It feels like the Endgame of Batman, which is really is at its core. When Batman climbs the wall, it feels so satisfying and inspirational. That is one of my favorite moments in the entire trilogy, which is saying something. The final fight between the Gotham police and Bane's army of prisoners is fantastic, especially with Batman and Bane duking it out in the middle of the chaos. Batman's "sacrifice" at the end hits hard, but it makes sense.
Out of all of the films in the trilogy, I think that the cinematography in this is possibly the best. I love the cinematography in all three of them, but some of the way these scenes are shot are breathtaking. The scene in the football stadium is absolutely horrifying and gives you goosebumps. Some of that is the wide shots of the field as the game begins as well as Bane's silhouette getting ready to blow Gotham straight to hell. Some of the other stuff, such as the bomb exploding, is just shot beautifully.
The villains in Rises are just as good as the others. Obviously, out of the Dark Knight trilogy villains, the Joker is, by far, the most iconic and the best. But Bane and Ra's al Ghul are both phenomenal antagonists, and Bane is just terrifying. He is so brutal and ruthless, and it is elevated by Tom Hardy's bone-chilling voice. The hulking, masked figure is, in some ways, scarier than the Joker, because he breaks Batman. Speaking of, I thought that that was a great element. I loved that they did the Knightfall storyline for this film. It makes Bane all the more intimidating and great.
The acting in this film is amazing. Nobody can compare to Heath Ledger's Joker, but the acting is still way above average. Christian Bale leads the crew with his typical Batman performance, suspicious as always and still dark and brooding. He makes you feel the loss that he suffered in The Dark Knight. He makes sure that it still haunts the audience. Like I mentioned before, Tom Hardy's strangely terrifying Bane works super well. The voice is unforgettable, as is the character that Hardy created. Anne Hathaway is perfect as Catwoman. She has the usual seductiveness that Selina Kyle has always had, but she takes it to a new level with a sense of caring and self-righteousness. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a Robin-type character works perfectly. He has this mature type sense to him that the Robins in the comics have, but he also has a sense of child-like antics. The ensemble of Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Matthew Modine are all great. They aren't huge parts, but they contribute or continue to contribute as they have in the previous two.
I think that the story is overall more positive than negative. There are some very weird plot beats that make the movie much more complex than it needed to be. I thought that the way that Bane started by hiding in the sewers was good and very foreboding. Pulling Batman out of hiding through John Blake and Selina Kyle worked for me. Then Bane broke Batman's back. I think that going with that storyline wraps up the trilogy perfectly.
This also has the best action in the trilogy. Batman Begins has one really cool action sequence in the beginning, but it doesn't really deliver on the rest of the action. The Dark Knight doesn't have a ton of great action scenes, but the ones that do are nowhere near comparison to The Dark Knight Rises. The first time Bane and Batman fight is great. There is no music, and you just feel Batman's pain as he gets brutally beaten by this masked monster. Like I said, the final fight scene with all the Gotham police and all the prisoners is an Endgame sized battle that is just tons of fun to watch.
Finally, this movie has very rich themes of pain. I said in my Batman Begins review that each of the movies in this trilogy has an ongoing theme, and The Dark Knight Rises has pain. Bane and pain literally rhyme, which is a coincidence, but it makes sense. He wants people to feel pain and he wants Gotham to suffer. He breaks Batman and makes him feel pain and makes him suffer. This theme is consistent throughout the film as soon as Bane enters the picture.
First thing here is some of the plot stuff. The plot is good overall, but Bane's plan is overly complex. It doesn't make sense that he'd wait three weeks before destroying Gotham if he won't let anybody get out. The writers obviously just wanted an excuse to have Batman heal and be able to get out of the cave so he can get back to Gotham as the bomb is about to decimate the city. It was a lazy plot point and it was disappointing that that was the only way they could get our hero back in the finale.
I also did not like that Batman was sidelined for about an hour in the middle of the film. They love to get rid of our main characters that we've had throughout the series. Batman is sitting in a cave for a third of the movie doing nothing. Gordon is sitting in the hospital for half of the movie doing nothing. Alfred just leaves at the beginning and is in almost none of the film. They really make this a villain-centric film, and it is kind of annoying. Bruce Wayne isn't in as much of the film as he should be, and he has about twelve minutes of screen time in the Batsuit.
Now, the ending is not bad. That is not what I am intending to impose when I touch on this. I do wish, though, that they had actually clarified if Batman died or not after the bomb explodes. Nolan left it ambiguous, and it really feels kind of unsatisfying. If he died, fine. That's a good ending. If he lived and went on to spend his life with Selina Kyle, great. That's a good ending. But the end leaves those as the two possibilities and I wished that they'd clarified.
I also think that Bane's death is horrible. He is such a good and intimidating villain, and I cannot believe that they thought that Catwoman crashing into the building on the Bat-cycle and shooting him would just deal with it. They don't show a body or allow the characters to think that they just got rid of the main villain. It was a disappointing end to a fantastic character.
Despite some plot and character problems as well as a bit of an unsatisfying ending, this film succeeds with giving us great action, acting, and a mostly great ending to Nolan's epic trilogy.
I will give it a Savory rating. Age range is 11+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
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"The Dark Knight Rises"
Fun Factor: 9/10
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Released on July 20, 2012
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some thematic elements, language
2 hours and 45 minutes
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Tom Hardy as Bane
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake
Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon
Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox