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Well, after talking to several of my peers, it seems I am in the minority but you know what? I'm used to that.
My name is Sparkymarky and I have a confession to make: I hated The Dark Knight Rises!
Batman Begins was excellent. It set the pace and direction for future Batman films and was one of the better Superhero films around. The Dark Knight, I felt was notable only for Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker but otherwise forgettable. This though was the worst of the three yet.
The only stand-out performance here (other than Morgan Freeman who is always awesome) was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I thought she had Selina Kyle down to a tee. It was just a shame the direction was all over the place!
There was absolutely nothing about this film I liked and, for neither me nor my wife, it had no redeeming features! Hell, it took so long for Batman to actually appear I wondered if I was watching the right film!
Bane too left me unimpressed. He seemed to lack motivation and the whole respirator thing on his face just made him look silly. In the comics he is a serious threat - the man who broke The Bat. Here, he just seemed like a stupid villain - almost a caricature of the evil he was supposed to represent.
There are not many comic-based movies I hate. I even didn't mind Daredevil and Electra. In fact the only one I can think of that I hated was Spawn.
This though left me cold, it left me unimpressed and it left me bored.
I wanted to turn this off after 45 minutes, my wife insisted we watch till the end to see how it finished and also because she thought it might get better. It didn't.
I honestly hope they treat Batman better in the new Superman/ Batman upcoming movie, but seeing this I have my doubts. I also don't know how they will tie it in to this trilogy following this films ending.
Marvel are a virtual master-class when it comes to Superhero films. If D.C want to compete, they need to do much better than this!
The massacre at a Batman premier in America has cast a shadow over the film and is a tragedy that the film will always have to carry with it. This and the death of Heath Ledger after The Dark Knight has even given rise to labelling the films as cured, of course that is absurd.
Let's put that behind us and look at the film on its own merits. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, his injuries are both mental and physical. This of course also means that Batman has been missing too.
He is persuaded to come out of retirement after meeting a cunning and attractive cat burglar, but mainly the threat of new bad guy Bane. Bane and his gang appear to be after a fusion device that was built by Bruce Wayne but scrapped when he realised it could be used as a weapon. Only Batman can save the city.
The highly anticipated final chapter to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy seemed to be a long time in the making. I for one have enjoyed the films so far, unlike most I prefer Batman Begins to The Dark Knight but both are excellent. Was it worth the wait?
The plot of the film is quite messy, there is a lot going on and there is little time to get your breath back and process what you're seeing. The pacing was a lot better in the previous films, but he is trying to get a lot in.
The special effects are of course excellent, as we've come to expect from Nolan with less reliance on CGI as other action films. Where CGI is used it is quite noticeable. There are some truly breath taking stunts, my hat is off to them.
The acting is still excellent, there are of course some big names returning, my favourite being Gary Oldman who always excels. Anne Hathaway is the newcomer and she gets it perfect, a seductive and action packed performance. Also new is Joseph Gordon-Levitt who seems to be in lots of films these days. I always remember him as Tommy from Third Rock from the Sun, he seems to be a new Nolan regular.
I have to report I have mixed feeling about this film. It is a very dark film with little humour to provide relief. It's also a very messy film, Nolan seems to have squeezed in every idea he could think of, and this has made the film quite long too.
The acting is generally excellent, Nolan certainly has his favourite actors. The most interesting performance is cat woman, Batman almost feels like a secondary character in his own film.
It's nice to see that Nolan has not been seduced by 3D, which seems to be used more and more these days in action films, I can certainly live without it and the inflated ticket prices at the cinema.
There is also a problem with plausibility, for a film grounded in a futuristic reality there are certainly a lot of superhuman feats. After all Bruce Wayne is just a man, the knocks he takes would kill or totally paralyse any normal person.
I would recommend seeing this concluding film, especially if you've seen the first two as it doesn't really stand up on its own.
Main Cast List
Christian Bale - Bruce Wayne
Gary Oldman - Commissioner Gordon
Tom Hardy - Bane
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Blake
Anne Hathaway - Selina
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Running Time: 165 Mins
The Dark Knight Rises Film only
OK so this is the next installant of the Batman franchise.
SPOILER ALERT!!! - please take heed.
So at the end of the last film, Batman had taken the blame for the death of Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon hasn't done anything to stop this. This film enters eight years later, where Christian Bale, and Michael Caine haven't aged a day...
Gotham is a much nicer place, since the development of the practices that come down hard on organised crime.
The Batman has disappeared, and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse and is seen by no one except Albert. That is until a waitress is tasked with taking a tray to Bruce's private wing of the house where a benefit is being thrown downstairs while he hides away. Enter Anne Hathaway, who gets seen with a string of pearls that look just like Bruce's mother's - but couldn't possibly be as they are kept in an 'unbreakable' safe. After a bit of flirting with Bruce, she manages to back flip out the window, and the viewer becomes aware how she makes such a good cat burglar.
The movie has the usual themes for the Batman franchise - the weak being downtrodden, and rising with the help of a masked stranger, and the 'faceless' evil character out seeking revenge.
In the usual Batman character choice we have a baddie / madman who has a facial disfigurement who hatches evil plans to again make Gotham the organised crime bosses place to be seen. In the usual (rather stale) plot device we have some brains behind this evil henchman, who will reveal themselves towards the end of the film (if you haven't napped through the first 30 minutes of the movie you'll probably have guessed).
Bane - the masked madman / baddie is heralded as the baby that was born in hell, and that hell found him so distasteful, he was spat out...
The film has the usual issues for a Batman movie - Bruce suffers an injury that he needs to recover from, while things in Gotham look to get really bad. He obviously recovers from this while doing shirtless chin-ups, and getting a bit sweaty from doing push ups (*I mean I'm not exactly complaining - but do we have to see this in each film?)
Batman is as ever supported by his crazy clever tech guy - Fox. Morgan Freeman as ever gives a great performance, but I have to say the flying Batmobile - lacked a bit of excitement for me.
The brief cameo from Liam Neeson did give a bit of back-story - linking the Bane plot to the past movies nicely, but he wasn't in it enough for me to help to improve the rest of the movie.
The film is filled with rather predictable twists that help move the story along, and tie in nicely, however I couldn't help but feel that this film was a device for introducing the characters of Cat-woman, and Robin (while pretending to kill off Bruce's character).
I am a fan of the Batman Franchise (I mean Christian Bale - swoon) but I have to admit I felt there was something lacking from this film. The gadgets weren't impressive enough, the twists were predictable, and contrived and rather obvious from early points.
The film was too intent on introducing Cat-woman, and Robin (I'm expecting good things from them though), and not intent enough on the bits that make Batman - well Batman.
A lack lustre 2*s from me.
(I feel really bad doing this - and I'm hoping the next movie will be great, it was just too predictable, and we want an exciting Batmobile back please).
Cast From IMDB
Christian Bale ... Bruce Wayne
Gary Oldman ... Commissioner Gordon
Tom Hardy ... Bane
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Blake (Robin)
Anne Hathaway ... Selina (Cat Woman)
Marion Cotillard ... Miranda
Morgan Freeman ... Fox
Michael Caine ... Alfred
Movie rated 12
160 mins approx
Directed by Christopher Nolan
This film is set 8 years after its predecessor, The Dark Knight. Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, is now a recluse, and struggling to get his body back to physical health after his ferocious battle with The Joker. Gotham City is surviving well without him, at peace thanks to Batman taking the fall for Harvey Dent's murder, even though it's come at a high personal cost to Batman, who is now shunned by the city he strives to protect. However, Bruce feels that Batman needs to make a comeback when a mercenary known only as Bane appears in the city, threatening the inhabitants of Gotham and causing destruction all around him. But Batman finds himself struggling to better Bane, and wonders if he will be able to save the city before Bane allows it to be blown to pieces by his nuclear bomb. Will Batman and the few allies he has left in Gotham be able to overcome Bane and the people at the centre of this misery?
I was really curious about seeing this one for a while, after the press were raving about it, and the success of the other two movies which I really enjoyed seeing when they were released. I'm not a huge comic book buff so I don't know anything about the comic book stories from which these films originated, but I'm just going to comment on them from the point of view of a film-goer who enjoys movies and can appreciate a great story. Christian Bale continues his run as Batman in the film, and the rest of the cast from the previous two movies return, as well as welcoming in new faces Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and Tom Hardy who are fantastic additions to an already solid cast. At nearly 3 hours long, I was worried my attention towards the film would wane, but it really didn't. It was simply superb.
I have to say that although Christian Bale was fantastic as Batman/Bruce Wayne, he didn't have nearly enough screen time. For much of the first part of the film he wasn't even shown to us, then he appeared then seemingly disappears throughout the film which was a real shame. Considering the movie is named The Dark Knight Rises, we didn't see nearly enough of The Dark Knight himself. Bale's performance though is flawless, he becomes the character with ease, and is fantastic to watch on screen. I dislike the gruff voice he puts on to disguise himself when he's suited up as Batman, even to those who know his secret identity but other than that, he is great and very physical in role. He worked especially well with Michael Caine who plays Bruce's butler Alfred, and had some fantastic scenes with newcomer Anne Hathaway who plays Catwoman/Selina Kaye. He has some fantastic physical scenes with Tom Hardy who plays the menacing Bane, a former member of the League of Shadows (who trained Batman in the first movie), a physically frightening character who seeks to take charge of Gotham and free its inhabitants. Hardy puts on a great performance, relying heavily on his body language to convey emotion due to the lack of facial expressions thanks to the restrictive mask his character wears, but he is great to watch and puts in a superb performance.
Speaking of Hathaway, her performance was probably one of the finest of the whole film. I'm not a huge fan of hers, so when I heard she'd been cast as Catwoman (although she isn't called this in the film) I was a bit unsure. However, she's brilliant on screen, performing in the action sequences with realism and skill, and is also equally accomplished in the verbal spats she has with Batman, which are frequent throughout the movie. I also liked the ambiguity of her character, I felt like I never really knew whether she was on the side of the good or the bad, and this came across well, she was enjoyable to watch. Michael Caine is fantastic as ever as Alfred, although I felt the important storyline between he and Batman could have had more screen time devoted to it, Bale and Caine have a fantastic chemistry and I love watching these two work. Alfred is very much the backbone of Bruce Wayne, and the relationship between the pair is more fragile in this movie, yet Caine's comic delivery of some lines is as usual spot on.
Gary Oldman (who will now forever be Sirius Black to me!) is back as Comissioner Gordon, one of the only policeman in Gotham who knows what truly happened to Harvey Dent, and that Batman isn't to blame for his death, and he is a driving force in the resistance against Bane. He doesn't have a huge amount of screen time, but holds your attention when he is on screen. French Oscar winning actress Marion Cotillard joins the film as an investor in Bruce's business, Miranda Tate. I love Cotillard as an actress, she was magnificent in Midnight in Paris, the first film I've seen her in, and she is very good in this movie also. I felt her character was likeable, and she worked well as a powerful female character in a quite male oriented world, and the friendship between her and Wayne was interesting. Finally, I have to comment on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, Officer Blake. Blake believes in what is good and right, despite the rules and regulations his job as a police officer hold him to, and he also believes in Batman, and that he isn't guilty for the crimes he has been accused of. Blake's character cleverly represents Bruce Wayne's own idealism about Gotham before his battles with The Joker and crime in the city. I loved Blake, Gordon-Leavitt was very watchable on screen and is certainly growing well as an actor.
The film itself is very dark, and has a gritty message to it as well. The plot isn't that complex, yet it relies heavily on the viewer knowing the stories told in the previous two films quite well, as there are many references to things that have happened previously, and I found myself lost in several places. I wish I had watched this film's predecessors before I watched this one, just to refresh my memory, but a quick look on Wikipedia brought me quickly back up to speed. The idea of Bane taking over Gotham is a good one, and it was interesting to see what happened once social boundaries were removed and people were free to act how they wished - perhaps not the ideal society we would all expect. Bruce Wayne himself goes through a lot of personal change in this film, beginning as a jaded recluse who doesn't want to face the city who has now turned against his alter-ego, to finally overcoming his demons and bringing back Batman to save his beloved Gotham for the final time. As I mentioned, I do wish there was more of Batman/Bruce in the film, but I enjoyed the way his character developed throughout the movie.
In terms of special effects, I was really impressed with this movie. There isn't much in terms of CGI, apart from scenes with Batman's new vehicle The Bat, and a few others but these are impressive, and I felt sat with well within the film, and Bale does well with these scenes too. The action sequences, which are more prominent in the second half of the film are very impressive, and Bale and Hardy take part in some physical battles, which at times did feel a bit laboured but were on the whole very watchable, especially with the inclusion of Catwoman, who injects some much needed femininity into the movie. I've read about viewers having problems understanding Tom Hardy's distorted voice as Bane, due to the facial mask he wears throughout the film but I didn't have any problems with this. However, my parents have an impressive sound bar with their television which delivers cinema quality sound, so I feel maybe on a lesser system I would have struggled more with this. The actions sequences are superb, but the first half of the movie really relies heavily on dialogue laden scenes to really set it up, so it's a film you really have to sit and concentrate with, especially with the numerous references from the earlier movies to pick up on.
This was a fantastic film that certainly lived up to my expectation, and is a superb end to Christopher Nolan's trilogy in the world of Batman. Many have said that it doesn't quite match the brilliance that was the second movie (The Dark Knight), thanks in part I think to the sheer brilliance of the late Heath Ledger as The Joker, but this is a fitting end to a simply fantastic series. With a stellar cast, a strong script and excellent direction, The Dark Knight Rises is a glimpse into a world where normal society crumbles and relies on the strength, determination and passion of one superhero to save it from certain destruction. There will be those who dislike this movie because it is too long, it doesn't have enough Batman in it, it doesn't stick to comic book stories.... but for me, it was an excellent watch and I was riveted from start to finish. I'll certainly be purchasing the trilogy on DVD to enjoy at my leisure, and hopefully some of those references throughout this movie will be clearer to me on second viewing. The Dark Knight Rises is a brilliant movie, I highly recommend it and look forward to watching it again!
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan
Running Time: 165 minutes
Christian Bale ... Bruce Wayne
Gary Oldman ... Commissioner Gordon
Tom Hardy ... Bane
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Blake
Anne Hathaway ... Selina
Marion Cotillard ... Miranda
Morgan Freeman ... Fox
Michael Caine ... Alfred
The DVD is currently available for £10.00 on Amazon.co.uk (January 2013 price) or as part of the 'Dark Knight Trilogy' boxset for £19.39 which includes this film as well as 'Batman Begins; and 'The Dark Knight'.
Thank you for reading.
If 'Batman Begins' is brown, representative of the villain of The Scarecrow and earthiness, and 'The Dark Knight' blue, creating a cool, slick, dark effect, 'The Dark Knight Rises' is white, or clear. I refer to these "colours" as quite important to Nolan's overall effect, in that he creates an identity to each of the three films. They're very much a unit and an entity, and despite a new storyline for each, they are sewn together by an overall story - influenced by the comics - of Bruce Wayne and Batman. This "clearness" that is the "colour" of 'The Dark Knight Rises' is ultimately a stripping away of a number of things: the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman and his psyche and physical state; the cool style of 'The Dark Knight', and ultimately, the reputation of 'The Dark Knight' too (as many feared Nolan wouldn't be able to top it); and the subtlety of The Joker's villainous attributes (they may not appear 'subtle' on the surface, but in comparison to the villain of 'The Dark Knight Rises', Bane, The Joker was all about tricks and mind games, while Bane is a raw, hugely physical figure), amongst others. With 'The Dark Knight Rises', director Christopher Nolan (known for other films such as 'Inception' and 'Memento') brings his Batman trilogy to a stunning end.
-== The Dark Knight Rises ==-
What Nolan offers with his trilogy is a far more realistic approach to an ultimately fictitious character, and with such a "realistic" approach, Nolan deals with a human's mindset superbly, in that the character of Batman isn't simply flying out of his Batcave, knocking out some thugs and returning to have his butler Alfred tend to him. Batman is Bruce Wayne - there's a human being behind the mask, and he IS only human. The Batman is appreciated in Nolan's Gotham City, but never fully accepted; the police always place a question mark above him, and in the end of 'The Dark Knight' (TDK), Bruce commits the most heroic act of all; he takes the fall for the crimes of Harvey Dent, the "White Knight" of Gotham - the "hero with a face", who was turned to evil by The Joker. The police hunt the Batman, but he goes into hiding, nursing serious injuries from a nasty fall. And in this realistic world, serious injuries last. 'The Dark Knight Rises' (TDK) begins eight years to the day of where TDK left off - a day of remembrance for the people of Gotham's finest hero: Harvey Dent, while Bruce overlooks from the rooftops of the rebuilt Wayne Manor.
An underground army pulses in the foundation of Gotham City. Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) is working undercover as a maid at Wayne Manor for Dent's memorial service, but in fact infiltrates the manor to retrieve Bruce Wayne's (Christian Bale) fingerprints - and rob him for good measure. Her motive is to trade the fingerprints to an important businessman: John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn), owner of a rivalling company to the declining Wayne Enterprises. However, when the trade with Daggett's assistant Stryver (Burn Gorman) goes awry, Selina manages to double-cross the double-crosser, and leads the Gotham City Police Department straight to bar where they are sat (she also manages to escape unscathed in a rather comical scene where, following a fine show of combat and gunmanship, she masquerades as a innocent bystander by sitting on the bar floor screaming with her hands over her head, before slipping out quietly). The police chase that ensues leads Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and his team into the sewers, where Gordon is captured and brought to a huge, ominous masked man called Bane (Tom Hardy). Young police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is determined to go straight in after Gordon, but his superior merely finds him in an irritation. But Gordon manages to escape, in exchange for a bullet in his side, and Blake finds him, weak. His independent work rewards him with a promotion to detective by Gordon. Blake soon after pays a visit to Wayne Manor, where he confronts Bruce Wayne and declares that he is aware that he is the Batman, and pleads for him to return. Little does Bruce know that the fingerprints that Selina stole have reached their destination: Bane will bring Bruce and the Batman out of hiding in his quest to execute the largest, most catastrophic terrorist event in the history of Gotham City.
Nolan will go out with a bang. His Gotham City has seen progression. Since Bruce's almost-graduation through The League of Shadows in 'Batman Begins' (BB) and his work since, combined with Harvey Dent's noble approach to cleaning up the streets of Gotham and the Dent Act that followed his death, which has helped the Gotham City Police continue his work, Gotham City has become a much safer place within a decade. Bruce was fuelled by the murder of his parents when he was a child, a scene which we witness with Bruce in BB. He trained with The League of Shadows, but disagreed with their beliefs, and utilised his experience to bring peace to his city. Bane is the new villainous force in Gotham in TDKR, but is ultimately an echo of a force believed to be dead-and-buried in BB. The echo that is Bane is essentially the primary reason why Bruce decides to resurface, both as himself and as the Batman. His butler and only true companion, Alfred (Michael Caine), expresses enormous amounts of concerns over Bruce's plans and decisions, mainly because he fears for his friend's safety (a most poignant and powerful scene between the two characters ensues, and both Caine and Bale and superb here). Bruce must rescue both his company (Wayne Enterprises) as Bruce, and his city as Batman, but the two aren't necessarily independent from one another. A fusion reactor that may soon become the world's most commanding renewable energy source also possesses the potential to be used as a weapon of mass destruction - and this is Bane's target. As Bruce takes a hit, courtesy of his new nemesis Bane, he entrusts his failing company in board member Miranda Tate (the beautiful Marion Cotillard), as he plans to approach Bane in a more direct, Batsuit-clad manner.
TDKR is a powerhouse of a movie. Easily in the top 10 most expensive films of all time, it is epic on many a level - aptly so, because on the back of the excellent TDK, it certainly needed to be huge. Nolan quite rightly makes a very different film to TDK, but it's not as good as its predecessor. TDK, as I stated in my last review (see 'Nolan's Batman Trilogy - II. Rise'), stands alone boldly, while BB and TDKR are tied quite closely with the League of Shadows storyline - and it really is a modern masterpiece - absolutely superb. As to whether BB or TDKR is better, it's hard to say, but I lean towards the former. That said, TDKR remains a brilliant film, despite some flaws which I will outline in due course. With the release of TDKR in 2012, Nolan has created one of the most successful trilogies in the history of film, rivalling others such as the The Godfather trilogy, the Star Wars trilogy and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and surpassing (in terms of filmmaking at least) the likes of franchises such as Harry Potter. Nolan's Batman trilogy is only the inception of a new age in superhero movies, with the likes of 'Watchmen', 'Avengers Assemble' drawing influence, and future releases such as 'Man of Steel' and 'Justice League' inevitably due to take heed. Nolan is right to cut his ties to Batman with the completion of TDKR; his trilogy stands tall as the biggest success in superhero-film history, and one of the greatest achievements in film history.
TDKR finds its foundation in its two predecessors, but arguably also its pitfalls - it always had a lot to live up to. Nolan and his team develop the story introduced in BB, while the story of TDK feels like an episode; a bridge to this final chapter for Nolan's take on the character of Batman - and it possesses a strong story. One of the most dominating elements of the first two films was the character and portrayal of The Joker. Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for best supporting actor in 2009 for said portrayal, and this is a fine symbol of his excellent performance. His interpretation was sublime and spine-chilling, presenting a villain with far more depth than most. He has a history, credit for which is mostly given to Nolan and his team, but how Ledger conveyed this was inspiring. With TDKR, Nolan decided to go with a villain a little less well-known to the general public, but one comic book fans were sure to remember. Bane is played by Tom Hardy, an actor whose current celebrity status is chiefly down to Nolan, due to Hardy's employment as Eames in Nolan's 'Inception' in 2010. Prior to 'Inception', he may be found in 'Bronson' (from Nicolas Winding Refn, director of the superb 'Drive') and 'Layer Cake', as well as a small role (as his debut) in the fantastic HBO mini-series 'Band of Brothers', and has since starred in slightly bigger films such as 'Warrior' and 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' - and has also been rumoured to play Tom Fisher in a Splinter Cell movie; but I digress...Tom Hardy was called to supersede Heath Ledger, yet not supersede him at all; Tom Hardy and Bane and wholly different to Heath Ledger and Joker. Tom Hardy is a British actor, and had to bulk up A LOT for the role, despite already having a rather muscular physique prior to his work on TDKR. This is because Nolan's Bane is essentially a wrecking ball; he is raw, which goes hand-in-hand with the "clearness" that is the predominant "colour" of TDKR. Bane is a character very far from what The Joker is, and it was a tactical move from the director, and a clever one. While bearing in mind that half of Bane's face is covered by a demonic, mechanical mask, Tom Hardy is outstanding. His on-screen presence is absolutely terrifying, and one seriously fears for the Batman, not like in the other films. While his bulkiness and terrorist attitude creates this "raw" edge, however, there is once again depth to the character, and Hardy miraculously manages to actually evoke sympathy at one point in the crux of the final part of the film; Nolan's superb directing manages to aid this quite a lot too, however. One criticism I have heard for Bane is his voice; lucidly overdubbed, dry and absurd, I can see where the criticism stems from, but I think it's brilliant, and rather defining to Hardy's portrayal. He evokes feelings of horror, and his strange, diabolical voice only aids this.
From one man with an apparently annoying voice, to another: the Batman, and Bruce Wayne. I covered this in my previous review, but the bloke needs to put on a voice when dressed as the Batman, okay? Otherwise he wouldn't scare anybody and someone would soon recognise that he's bloody Bruce Wayne! Christian Bale, as Bruce, shines in TDKR, more so than in the previous two instalments. Nolan has focused on the character of Bruce as vital to the construction of the hero of Batman throughout, and it reaches its climax in TDKR. He performs well as an injured Batman, but is all the more awe-inspiring as the righteous Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, Michael Caine also provides a trilogy-best performance in TDKR, yet has less screen-time. It is really these three actors that provide the core for TDKR, but the others are great too. Yet one is drawn somewhat to one character in particular: John Blake, who, frankly, is overbearingly cheesy! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor, but his role in this is bizarre, in a word. It's clearly intended for him to be noble and heroic, but I'm with that police superior who wouldn't let him go after Gordon in the sewers - he's quite irritating; but, he's important. The theme of generations is in play here, and Blake is the young cop with potential, ready to help remove Gotham of its crime, as Gotham's current heroes, like Harvey Dent and injured Batman, decline. Meanwhile, Selina Kyle, or Catwoman (despite not a mention of this superhero name, thank god!), may to some seem somewhat of a head-scratcher, in that her purpose in the movie isn't prominent enough, but here I think people expect too much. As outlined in my earlier reviews, Nolan is a huge Bond fan - and since when has it been mandatory for Bond girls to have a particularly crucial role? She ties plotlines together, is important to Bruce, his morals and his ultimate quest, and provides a bit of eye candy, too.
Nolan goes for scale with the third of the trilogy. Some scenes are absolutely huge, with the scene at the American football stadium not only being one of the most shocking, but also presenting stunning effects and seeing one of the biggest congregations of movie extras in history (doesn't quite beat 'Gandhi', though). Meanwhile, TDKR is the first in the trilogy to have parts of New York shut off from the public for filming (something which not many directors have been granted), and while that may not be particularly apparent to the audience, it's quite impressive nonetheless. The fight scenes, the flight scenes (namely, the hugely impressive and complex opening scene and also the inclusion of the 'Bat') and many other scenes are visually astonishing, while the grand scale of the story and cast is impressive too. Nolan scales down, however, with those providing the soundtrack to his final outing in Gotham City. While both Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard scored the first two films, only the former returns for TDKR. The reasoning for this is still not definite, but it has been rumoured that Newton Howard stepped down, seeing that Nolan and Zimmer had formed such a strong relationship (only Zimmer scored Nolan's film between TDK and TDKR: 'Inception'). Zimmer works heavily with leitmotif with TDKR, creating a "sound" for both Catwoman and Bane, and reviewing his motif for Batman and Bruce, as the character, for Nolan at least, reaches its end. While Bane's menacing chant backed by terrifying dry percussion is superb, Catwoman's theme is primary and uninventive. Meanwhile, Zimmer finds a way to develop Batman's basic two-note motif by reversing it - "why didn't I think of that earlier?!". Overall, the score isn't as good as TDK, but is fitting, and the final cue offers some truly powerful, hair-raising stuff. While the score could be a downside to the film, there are others too. As aforementioned, certain characters' roles and their executions are hazy, and this causes somewhat of a disjunct nature. It's quite inexplicable, really, but Nolan seems to have a goal in mind, yet the story just doesn't flow anywhere near as seamlessly as in TDK or BB. There are certain aspects, such as the well-prison, that are slightly bizarre too, and overall, there is an edge to the TDKR that causes it to fall, rather than rise. Either way, it cannot be denied: with TDKR, Nolan ends his trilogy fantastically and in style, inspirationally so, and provides a satisfying finale to a sublime and captivating story.
-== A Final Word ==-
'The Dark Knight Rises' closes Nolan's visiting of Bob Kane's Caped Crusader, eight years after the release of the first film: 'Batman Begins'. While Nolan is undoubtedly a filmmaking phenomenon, there is a disappointing edge to TDKR. I wouldn't say that this was inevitable off the back of 'The Dark Knight', because Nolan appropriately creates something fresh with TDKR, but rather, something just doesn't sit right. I'm not disappointed by the numerous things people have complained about (i.e. Bane's voice, the lack of time Bruce spends in a Batsuit, its quality in comparison to TDK etc.), but rather important elements such as characters and execution, and the flatness of certain plotlines, in that some parts feel slightly rushed and archaic; but I can't complain for very long - I'd be hugely ignorant to do so. Christopher Nolan has ultimately blessed the film industry with his work on the three Batman films, and TDKR is beyond doubt a enormously enjoyably movie, a fine piece of filmmaking and an end to a story that has as much heart in its formation as it does brains - oh, and muscle, thanks to Tom.
After 'Batman Begins', Christopher Nolan was unsure whether he'd return and make a sequel, let alone a third film. Imagine now if he had decided to not make 'The Dark Knight' - I'm hitting the nail on the head here, but it simply wouldn't exist. Nolan's not really a director to make sequels, but something must have compelled him to give it a shot with 'The Dark Knight', and it would have simply been rude to end it there. With Nolan's Batman trilogy, he offers something fresh, invigorating and inspiring. He manages to pull off something that taps into both ends of the spectrum: all three films are undoubtedly blockbusters, but are vastly intelligent, too. 'Batman Begins' sets the scene and introduces the key characters, while 'The Dark Knight' offers something different. The latter rises in many aspects, and The Joker and Heath Ledger are certainly up there as the most important features. 'The Dark Knight Rises' responds by presenting the colossal Bane, and Tom Hardy - strong and resolute - portrays a villain that I will boldly declare matches Ledger's excellent performance. I dwell on characters here, but there are vast quantities to discuss with this trilogy. In the heart of the trilogy is 'The Dark Knight', though. While 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight Rises' are such great films, it is 'The Dark Knight' that is the strongest. It stands alone as a film in its own right, and also as an exemplar in many ways. It's the perfect superhero film, but also an inspirational and influential cinematic offering that ticks all the boxes - and I don't even care that I just used that cliché, nor this one: this is a trilogy to end all trilogies, and Christopher Nolan has produced something special here - something which will be remembered and treasured for years to come.
Star - Christian Bale
Genre - Super Hero/Action
County - US
Certificate - 12a
Run Time - 165 minutes
Blockbusters - £3.50 per night
Amazon - £10.00 DVD (£15.00 Blue Ray)
So, Batman Begins, delivering us the gruff, brooding and brilliant Christopher Bale, for me the best comic book film ever made, the second film not so good but the third a real cracker. It's hard to argue that Bale is indeed the greatest big screen movie superhero of all time, making the Nolan trilogy the best of all time.
Before Nolan's Batman and Sam Raimi's Spiderman our Hollywood superhero were camp and silly, terrible costumes and dreadful corny scripts, aimed at 12-year-olds. But that fan base got older and comic book heroes are now cool and not so geeky and so huge money to be made. These guys' movies dominate the top 30 and have to be taken seriously now in Hollywood. The current Batman is certainly the most consistent cinema run and the first Batman trilogy to have the same actor and director all the way through, Christopher Nolan, the king of clever and inventive action movies now. Sam Raimi and Toby McGuire matched them with the equally brilliant Spiderman trilogy.
This would be Nolan's fifth film with Michael Caine, who has become rent a butler these days in modern day action movies, young and thrusting 'Alfie' maturing into old and wise 'Alfred'. Rather impressively there are a total of four Oscar winners and four Oscar nominees in The Dark Knight Rises. The last Oscar winner I recall in a super hero film was Marlon Brando in the dreadful Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Sexy Anne Hathaway (nominated for the golden statue for the tiresome Rachael Getting Married) was originally cast to play Black Cat in the Raimi\ Spiderman but went with Cat Woman here instead, because, and I quote: 'the leather costume was tighter'. Halle Berry remains the best squeeze into any Comic Book Lycra for me though, Scarlett Johansson not far behind (and what a behind!) in Marvel Avengers.
The Dark Knight Rises has already taken one billion dollars from its $250 million budget and currently the seventh biggest grossing film of all time, and only just released on DVD outside of America and so could make the top three one day, closing in on Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Transformers. It's also notorious for one of the opening night screenings being shot up in America by a man dressed as the Joker, currently on trial and facing a longer sentence than any superhero villain in cinema history, apart from Lex Luthor when he was imprisoned on some planet or another. Or was he killed by Brainiac? I'm sure you will correct me if that is wrong.
Christian Bale ... Bruce Wayne
Gary Oldman ... Commissioner Gordon
Tom Hardy ... Bane
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Blake
Anne Hathaway ... Selina
Marion Cotillard ... Miranda
Morgan Freeman ... Fox
Michael Caine ... Alfred
Matthew Modine ... Foley
Alon Aboutboul ... Dr. Pavel (as Alon Moni Aboutboul)
Ben Mendelsohn ... Daggett
Burn Gorman ... Stryver
Its eight years since Batman (Christian Bale) saw off The Joker and now just fading billionaire Bruce Wayne, and a bit of a recluse, happy that Gotham City is peaceful once again and so Batman not required for crime fighting, and would be arrested by the cops anyway for the alleged murder of DA Harvey Dent, a.k.a Two face', the Dark Knight all but retired now. But he is needed once again by Gotham as we have a new villain in town, that of 'Bane' (Tom Hardy), a semi masked deep voice hulk of a man who is in town to crush Gotham to chastise Batman for unknown reasons to do with The League of Shadows.
Bane's plan is to get control of the near broke Wayne Enterprises to steel something very special to them, what has been eating up all the money over the last eight years. Bane intends to torment Batman first, though, and try and get control of the city that way, the plan to turn the people against the police and authorities. Wayne is not in the best of shape and carrying a limp but this the challenge he has been looking for, weapons and sciences man Fox (Morgan Freeman) spending those eight years wisely to develop some new bat gear. But Bane is a formidable foe and so Batman will need help in the shadows, a young street cop called Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and sexy cat burglar Selina (Anne Hathaway) the best he can hope for to save Gotham.
If Gotham falls, so does Bruce Wayne, is the emotional centre here, fighting against supervillains and the decay and corruption that created them, ingredients for lots of cool special effects and action sequences. But, just as I loved Batman Begins for its originality, story, characterization and Bale's brooding dark knight, I scoffed at the unoriginality and by the numbers Dark Knight approach, seemingly pinching action sequences and special effects idea from other films just to pack it with suitable segments for the X-Box game. But The Dark Knight Rises is great stuff and back on form and although the longest by far at 165 minutes (each film increases by 12 minutes, apparently) it whizzes by, the sign of a good movie. Nolan never patronizes the viewer, a decent script; a political edge and good characterization a plenty with some tongue-in-cheek cheesy dialogue throw in. There is also a surprise in the film towards the end that suggests there are more films on the way with Bale.
Post 911 the super hero genre has really stepped up its game as Hollywood feeds into that supernatural need for a savior. We could have done with Bale's Batman and gizmos at the World Trade Centre on September 11th that's for sure. Americans believe in Hollywood dreams and that's why Fantasy and Sci-Fi dominate the top selling movies of all time. Without the comic book hero's and fantasy adventures the modern American film industry would be nowhere near the size it is now, the success of the above allowing the studios to fund smaller projects and invest in talent. Who knew the geeks would end up running Hollywood.
---The top 10 selling movies of all time---
1 Avatar........ .............................................................$2,782,275,172 *(2009)
2 Titanic........ .............................................................$2,185,372,302 (1997)
3 The Avengers..........................................................$1,511,757,910 (2012)
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2....... $1,328,111,219 (2011)
5 Transformers: Dark of the Moon.......... ...................$1,123,746,996 (2011)
6 Lord of the Rings: Return of the King....... ..............$1,119,929,521 (2003)
7 Dark Knight Rises........ ....................................................$1,080,720,045 (2012)
8 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest...........$1,066,179,725 (2006)
9 Toy Story 3............................................................. $1,063,171,911 (2010)
10 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.........$1,043,871,802 (2011)
Imdb.com - 8.7/10.0 (499,234votes)
Metacritc.com -78 % critic's approval rating
Rottentomatos.com -80% critic's approval rating
The San Francisco Examiner - 'It addresses the darkness in everyday life, acknowledges the pain, and fights back'.
The Guardian - 'Christopher Nolan insists on the seriousness of the Batman mythology; he has thoroughly reinvented it, re-authored' it and thought it through, in a way no other director has done with any other summer franchise.
CNN.Com - 'Others will see it differently, but for me this is a disappointingly clunky and bombastic conclusion to a superior series -- Nolan's biggest and worst movie to date'.
Movie Reel - 'The Dark Knight Rises succeeds in surpassing 2008's 'The Dark Knight' to become the best of his three films. Whether that will be enough to secure his Best Picture Oscar is frankly irrelevant - because what matters is that this is Batman's best picture'.
Cine Passion - 'Every shred of wit, mystery and humanity is pummeled out, leaving only a bullish mishmash of zeitgeisty anxiety'.
The Independent - 'Doubtless flawed and arguably overlong, it's nonetheless a personal and heartfelt ode from the director to the greatest comic-book character ever committed to paper -- and now film'.
= = = Special Feature = = =
Behind the scenes stuff.
= = = = = = = = =
July 16th saw the Bat Signal shine up on the night sky to alert movie goers that The Dark Knight had risen. TDKR is the follow-up to the smash hit Dark Knight (notable for Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker which scored him a posthumous Oscar) and concludes Christopher Nolan's caped crusader trilogy which started back in 2005 with the brilliant Batman Begins. Although this series of Batman movies has helped establish the superhero genre in Hollywood it manages to distinguish itself from other comic book flicks by setting its focus on fleshed out characters and a deep story rooted in a realistic world. Like many other movie goers I am relieved to report that the days of ice puns, costumes with nipples and bat credit cards are now firmly behind us.
Christopher Nolan has an excellent track record when it comes to movie making, but some early reviews hadn't exactly been glowing in their assessment of this third Batman film. It's too long, there's too many plot holes and not enough Batman in costume the critics bemoaned. I started to fear that the movie I had been anticipating for so long would fail to live up to the hype. Would Batman stumble at the third hurdle much like Spider-man and the X-Men had done in the past? Thankfully I am able to report that The Dark Knight Rises manages to wrap up the trilogy in a satisfactory manner. Granted it's not without its faults, but it's still an excellent movie and probably my favourite of the three superhero summer blockbusters. Sorry Avengers, you were a lot of fun but the plaudits you got were excessive given your wafer thin plot. Spider-man? Not terrible, but I wanted more than the unnecessary retelling of your origin with a weak main villain that we got.
Set eight years after the last film, The Dark Knight Rises starts off by showcasing the aftermath of Joker and Two Face's rampage. Gotham City has managed to rid itself of the crime which plagued its streets, but the victory is bittersweet for the heroes who fought for it. Commissioner Gordon is wrestling with the guilt of pinning the blame of Harvey Dent's death on Batman whilst praising the former DA who actually threatened his family after losing his mind (horrific scars to your good looks and the death of your fiancé will do that to a man.) It's a necessary evil though as the cover up allowed the passing of a new law which helped take down the criminal organisations that had a stranglehold over Gotham. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) has lost his purpose in life. The demise of his romantic interest robbed him from a chance of happiness and with crime eradicated there is no need for his pointy eared alter ego. Wayne now spends his days a recluse at home... much like myself only with a bigger bank account.
The peace is however shattered with the introduction of Bane a masked terrorist and former member of the League of Shadows (the group responsible for Batman's training in the first movie.) In one foul swoop he takes care of the Gotham police department plunging the city into anarchy. Bane's endgame is to destroy Gotham by using some sequestered Wayne Industries technology and ultimately succeed were Ra's al Ghul failed in the first film. Batman is forced out of retirement to tackle this new threat, but rusty after eight years out of action and nursing numerous injuries from his crime fighting escapades how can he possibly beat this new masked menace who would be a serious challenge even during his prime?
Christian Bale's portrayal of Bruce Wayne maintains the high standard he set in the previous instalments of the franchise. It's hard to not like the guy unless you happen to be that lighting bloke he lambasted during the filming of Terminator Salvation (oh good for you.) Tom Hardy also proves what an accomplished actor he is as Batman's nemesis Bane. The muscle bound terrorist proves to be a worthy match for Batman both physically and mentally as proven by the elaborate scheme he concocts to bring Gotham to its knees. My only complaint with both actors would have to be the silly voices they adopt. Bane, as has been pointed out by others, appears to be mimicking Sean Connery and in a few scenes it is hard to make out what he is saying due to the mask which covers his mouth. As Batman, Bale continues to speak in the gruff tone that has been parodied since the last film. I can understand the need for Wayne to disguise his voice, but Batman persists with the hoarse delivery even when speaking to characters who know his secret identity.
Much like Heath Ledger who won over critics as the Joker, Anne Hathaway proves the naysayers wrong with her take on Selina Kyle (Catwoman.) She's the character that I enjoyed watching the most and not just because she fills that skin tight outfit so well. If we analyse the film thoroughly it could be argued that her appearance could have been trimmed out altogether, as it doesn't serve a major part in the story, but I'm glad she was included as she injects an element of fun which balances out an otherwise dark tale. It was always a hoot seeing her get the better of Wayne in their exchanges, although when you consider how many times she double crosses him I cannot help but wonder why he entrusts her to come onside during the finale. Even though in the more realistic Nolan-verse a cat suit wouldn't wash, I'm glad they incorporated a feline design to her appearance via some cleverly shaped cat ear goggles.
Apart from the leads the movie benefits from having a strong supporting cast. Morgan Freeman returns as Lucius Fox - he is to Batman what Q is to James Bond. Gary Oldman reprises the role of commissioner Gordon and delivers a solid performance, although he is given much less screen time this time round as his character isn't as integral to the plot as he was in the last film. This time round most of the detective work gets delegated to John Blake a rookie cop played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Since I first spotted him on 3rd Rock from the Sun I have been impressed with how he has matured as an actor. Blake constantly strives to do what is right reminding viewers of what a younger Bruce Wayne was like, in contrast to the movie's current protagonist who is jaded after all the tribulations he has had to endure.
Is The Dark Knight Rises the weakest movie of the trilogy? Yes, but that isn't much of a criticism given the exceptional standard of its predecessors. It's a fine movie in its own right, managing to keep me entertained throughout the almost three hour long running time (no mean feat given my short attention span.) Viewers should however be warned that this a dialogue heavy piece and early on moments of action are sparse. Later on things do however pick up and those patient enough to put up with the exposition heavy beginning will be rewarded with some exciting chase scenes courtesy of Batman's new toys, the Bat cycle and a flying vehicle known simply as the Bat.
What worked less well were the actual fights involving human characters. Near the end the remnants of the Gotham PD take on Bane's forces in a battle were I was left scratching my head. Why had everyone involved seemingly forgotten how to use firearms? Batman's encounters with Bane could also have been better. Their duels came across as sluggish, possibly due to the limitations of having to choreograph the sequences with a bulky bat suit in mind. In the end Catwoman upstages them all with the acrobatic displays she performed earlier in the movie. I guess it's only ironic that a cat burglar would "steal" the show.
The Dark Knight Rises won't get the universal acclaim of The Dark Knight, but I can still highly recommend it. The loss of the Joker is noticeable, but I think Bane is a worthy replacement. He's not as charismatic as the clown prince of mayhem, but this take on the character is still more engrossing than the roided up grunting version we saw in Batman and Robin. Those familiar with the source material should enjoy how Nolan managed to take ideas from some well known Batman books and weave them together into a coherent epic with twists and turns that will catch audiences off guard. Just be sure to watch both Batman movies prior to seeing this one because it really is the end chapter of a trilogy. If you are one of those people who has only ever seen The Dark Knight you may get lost due to the frequent call backs to Batman Begins.
The first thing i found from watching the new batman series was that I didn't like batman begins, which set my standard for the rest of the series. Thanks to a truly exceptional performance from the late Heath Ledger, The dark knight exceeded expectation, and I really couldn't see the dark knight rises topping that. My expectations were truly blown away.
I went to first see the film at the cinema, the depth of the film was interesting . I won't give anything away apart from saying there is not one boring section throughout and you truly will be on the edge of your seat. There are many loose ends but the climax pleases all of those questions that you have throughout. Many may say that a bad point would be the length of the film, but yet again Nolan needed to create that to truly bring a meaningful end to a more realistic film (as weird as that sounds).
I'll be honest, I didn't like Christian Bale as batman, but he had a deeper and more meaningful story in the final of this trilogy, that this time it worked. The film is truly made by Anne Hathaway, who I have never seen do a movie like this before. When I heard she would play an on screen villain, I was worried. I pre-ordered the dvd purely because of her performance.
Obviously everyone watching the film knows the theme is dark, however many other emotions are added into this and action sequences aren't predictable or boring. The graphics withing the film are also mind-blowing, and until the unfortunate events in america i seriously thought this might get cinema ratings close to those of any Cameron movie.
There's not enough I can say for this film, it has something for everyone, boys and girls, and will enjoy watching over again. Many trilogies get continuously disappointing, but The dark knight series grows with every film. If you haven't seen it, I recommend strongly to anyone.
Film only review
This third entry in the Christopher Nolan vision of Batman is as far removed from the campy third film in the Warner Bros series during the 1990's as you can get. Where that film had reduced Tim Burton's moderately colourful Batman with dark undertones to a schyzophrenic rollercoaster of mayhem, Nolan has managed to retain a cohesively dark tone to his trilogy that gives the film a feeling of continuation that wasn't present in WB's original series.
This film catches up with Bruce Wayne eight years after Batman fled the scene of Harvey Dent's death. Painted as a murderous villain to protect the Dent Act, Wayne is now holed up in his rebuilt mansion where nobody has seen him in years. He is brought out of his refuge though after he agrees to host a charity event that Selina Kyle is waitressing at. When he discovers her attempting to rob his jewels, the two start a daliance that is neither favourable nor hateful.
Meanwhile, Gotham City is brought to the brink of destruction once more by the arrival of the almost faceless Bane. Bane is a hulking creature hellbent on bringing Gotham and its police force to its knees, which he does quite purposefully, under the watchful eye of the League Of Shadows. His act of terrorism forced Bruce Wayne to re-evaluate the past eight years, and ultimately bring Batman back out of retirement. As the city hurtles towards destruction, only Batman and his allies have a chance of saving it from the mad clutches of Bane.
Its difficult to pinpoint where this film loses its way, because effectively everything that was good about the previous two lengthy entries is still obvious. The ultimate problem with this Batman is that it takes so long explaining Batman back into existence that I was getting restless by the time he finally donned the rubber suit. Then, just when he seemed to be back in action, we were thrown into a further absence of the Dark Knight with a lengthy expose about breaking and rediscovering the human spirit.
The other problem is that, despite placing excellent actors in the roles, the baddies are generally a concoction of the ill-developed and the faceless. Tom Hardy has proven to be one of the best British actors in current cinema, and yet is hidden behind a mask for the entire film preventing him from using facial expression for the most part, and even his voice is hidden behind some kind of voice box that prevents him from being audible for the most part. It seems such a waste to get such a credible actor to play the part and then make him almost indistinguishable from any stuntman that could have taken on the role.
Anne Hathaway fares somewhat better in her rather delicious (and unnamed) Catworman role. In the original Batman sequel, Michelle Pfeiffer played Catwoman with such relish that it was difficult to accept anybody in the role since. Hathaway doesn't have Pfeiffer's unusual mannerisms or look, but she still manages to give Selina Kyle a complexity that has become the norm for Nolan's movie's. It's typical of his characters that it's never obvious whether they are all good, all bad or a little in the middle.
There is an army of other big names splattered across the screen for your perusal. Matthew Modine, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Joseph Levitt Gordon, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy (reprising his Scarecrow role for the third time), Burn Gorman, Ben Mendohlson and Gary Oldman who comes back as a guilt ridden Commissioner Gordon. Oldman is the actor who is given the most to work with here, battling with his conscience whilst reaping the rewards of their betrayal.
So onto Christian Bale. The only thankful thing about Batman getting less screen time this time round is that we have to tolerate that daft voice of his less. Bale is an actor who is capable of this role both physically and emotionally, but Nolan's obvious attempt to disguise him resulted in one of the more irritating and frustrating aspects of the performance. It was admirable that he went to such lengths to separate Wayne from Batman, given that most superhero films result in the audience asking "How the hell didn't everybody know who that was", but the Batman voice was really over-egged. That said, this film permits him to be a little more vulnerable than last time round, and therefore a little more humanised.
There is plenty of action in Nolan's direction, although sometimes the action sequences are a little flattened by the tone and pace of the rest of the film, which is, unfortunately, slow and somewhat predictable. There is plenty to be in awe of, including Batman's new toys, and some of the fights between him and the ferociously built Bane. The rest of the time though, the action takes a back seat to the story which feels padded out and somewhat patchy in places. The whole middle act is a snooze fest, and the last act is over so briskly that you'll wonder why they didn't cut the crap and extend that.
In hindsight, it's not obvious to me that Nolan has created his masterpiece in this trilogy. Batman Begins was a stodgy and extended affair, whilst The Dark Knight was only so good because of an irreplaceable performance by Heath Ledger, although it's no surprise that fans are up in arms against any negativity towards this film, citing an occasionally dreary affair as the template for the perfect superhero sequel. There's no doubt that Nolan is an artist in the peak of his career, and the Dark Knight trilogy is certainly film making of a high standard, but to label this film flawless would be sychophantic and a little short sighted. In the end, it's a patchy film that has moments of brilliance, but the flaws are too obvious to ignore.
I'll be honest, I only went to see The Dark Knight rises because my friend dragged me along and I just wanted to hang out. I knew that The Dark Knight rises was seen to be one of the most anticipated films of the year and everyone who had seen it before me was ranting and raving about it and comparing it to The Avengers (which I, shamefully, have not seen yet), but for some reason, I just couldn't get excited about this film. I watched The Dark Knight when it first came out and everyone said that it was absolutely phenomenal and I'm not doubting that Heath Ledger's performance was exemplary, but I just really didn't like the film itself. I watched about two hours of it and then I got too bored to carry on so I never finished it. Not too long later, I re-attempted to watch the film, but again, I never made it to the credits and after that, I just gave up on Batman altogether. I can't explain why I felt this way, perhaps it was my underlying loyalty to Spiderman that stopped me from liking Batman at all, I don't know, but the point is, I hated Batman.
So as you can see, I went into the cinema with a less than favourable attitude towards Batman, and having almost zero knowledge about the rest of the trilogy because I'd watched them so long ago and hadn't really paid very much attention at all, but I came out speechless, I had been completely won over and I just didn't know what to do with myself.
Now, I have never, ever give a film a five star rating, in fact, I don't give ratings period because I can't possibly translate everything that I want to say into a few stars. Anyways, back to my point, I've never given a film a five star rating, but here I am, giving one now. The Dark Knight Rises is an absolutely phenomenal film and I really don't think I'll do it any justice with this review. The reason I'm giving The Dark Knight Rises five out of five stars is because prior to watching the film I hated Batman. I hated the Dark Knight Trilogy, I hated Christian Bale, I hated everything to do with Batman, but when I came out of the cinema, I was completely smittten. I knew right then, that a new obsession had been born and that I would be all BatmanBatmanBatman for a long time yet. I don't think my views on a film or series have ever undergone that rapid a transformation from hate to obsession within the space of two and a half hours, and that is why I am awarding The Dark Knight Rises with my first five star rating.
The Dark Knight Rises is set eight years after the events that took place in The Dark Knight and there is peace in Gotham. The criminals are safely locked up in Gotham prison, all 'thanks' to Harvey Dent, and violence and organised crime have basically been eradicated from Gotham city. Bruce Wayne has shut himself up at Wayne Manor and is now a ghost of his former self. He no longer comes out in public and has become a total recluse. Wayne Enterprise is nearly bankrupt after Bruce's investment in a clean energy project which he promptly shut down once he realised that the fusion power could be harnessed into a nuclear weapon. Of course, this peace was just too good to be true and it's not long before Bane arrives on the scene, attacking the stock exchange, bankrupting Bruce and forcing him to relinquish control of Wayne Enterprises. That's just the beginning of Wayne's problems.
I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to understand what was going on in The Dark Knight Rises having no knowledge of the previous films. Being the last film in the trilogy, I was fully expecting The Dark Knight Rises to be tying up any lose ends and revisiting past dramas that I wouldn't really understand, but I was surprised to find that I actually grasped and understood everything that was going on. There were, of course, references to past characters and past events but not in such a way that not knowing the details about them dampened your experience of this film in any way at all.
The plot was absolutely fantastic and there was so much drama packed into a mere 165 minutes of film. Ordinarily, I get slightly bored, at least at some point, whilst watching movies of this length (with the exception of Lord of the Rings), but I was completely absorbed for the entirety of this film so hats off to Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. I don't think anyone in that cinema screening could've predicted the events of this film, I know that I certainly couldn't have. At certain points during the film, I thought that I had an inkling about what was going to happen next, but then something else would happen completely out of the blue to blast away any predictions that I had. Towards the end there were more and more twists and turns and even a moment where the entire audience gasped in unison and then sat in shocked silence for several moments. Some of these twists and turns were references to things that I was completely clueless about and yet, somehow, they still made sense to me, a Batman noob.
The graphics in this film and mind numbing-ly awesome. I fully expected this film to be full of CGI and impressive scenes but these shots were seriously out-of-this-world awesome. Usually the graphics and CGI effects are something that I take particular notice of, but I actually wasn't paying that much attention to them in this film. This is not to say that they were bad, because, as I said, they were incredible and better than most other films I've seen, it's just that there were so many others things to concentrate on, like the brilliant plot and acting, that the graphics were pushed to the back of my mind. I suppose that's a good thing - when the film has so many awesome things about it you're not really sure which bit you should be more absorbed by. The best bit of CGI was undoubtedly Bane's appearance because I honestly had no idea that it was Tom Hardy, even though I already knew that it was Tom Hardy (if that makes any sense at all).
This film was absolutely brilliantly cast with a whole host of very famous and very talented actors. I hadn't done much research into the film beforehand so I was pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces. The most prominent actors were: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordan-Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Marion Cotillard.
As previously mentioned, I hated Christian Bale prior to watching this movie. I didn't think he was fit, I thought his normal voice was annoying, I thought his Batman voice was annoying and I didn't that he was that great an actor. Now, I am one of his biggest fans. Christian Bale did a phenomenal job in this film playing so many different personalities as both Batman and Bruce Wayne went through so many 'phases' throughout the movie. He proved that he can literally play any role be it kind, caring, romantic, generous, strong or hard, steely, forceful, mean, relentless or pathetic, beaten and subdued. He basically plays two characters in this film so he should be given double the credit that he is due.
One of the only things I was looking forward to in this film was Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Catwoman and she most certainly did not disappoint. She, like Christian Bale, was also playing two characters in this film and she showed that she too could play many different personalities, all of which were convincing. She managed to be innocent, conniving, deceitful, playful, sexy, treacherous and more in a very short space of time. Although she's a very good actress, she hasn't been brilliant in all of her roles, only some, but I'm so glad that she gave such a great performance in this film because it really made it just that much better.
My one, and only, criticism of this film is Bane's voice. If you've read any other reviews of this film then you've probably already heard about this, but seriously, I had no idea what the heck was he saying for the entirety of the film. During all the high speed chases and action packed fight scenes I could hear people intently munching on their popcorn, absorbed in the drama, but every time Bane came on screen there was silence. Pure silence as everyone strained their ears desperate not to miss a word. His voice was incredibly low, raspy and indistinct and whilst it added to the general tense and frightening atmosphere of the film, I'm sure it would've been even more frightening and tense if I could understand the evil stuff coming out of his masked mouth.
Speaking of Bane, I am still abso-f***ing-lutely mind blown at the fact that Bane was played by Tom Hardy.
Back to the good things. Tom Hardy was a fantastically mean and frightening Bane. I don't want to give anything away, but Bane also has many different sides to him which Hardy was able to portray most effectively and I was most surprised by this, not because I didn't believe in Tom Hardy's talent, but because he was just so intense.
I felt like a little kid in a sweet shop, a frickin' massive sweet shop at that, whilst watching this film as my sense were completely taken over. I am so angry with myself for not getting into this series sooner and for not realising its brilliance until it was all over. If there's any doubt in your minds as to whether or not you should watch this film, then slap those doubts down right now because this film is beyond incredible. I just rewatched the film trailer to remind myself of some of the good bits and it sent tingles down my spine. This is an absolutely extraordinary film that far exceeded my expectations (not that I had any) and is undoubtedly the best film of 2012 so far and I doubt I'll be this impressed by a film for a very long time. I went on an emotional roller coaster whilst watching this film, I laughed, I (nearly) cried, I was shocked, I was amazed, I gripped the edge of my seat, I bit my nails, I covered my eyes, I covered my mouth - basically I was completely mind blown in a way that no other film has ever made me feel.
I also just thought I'd mention that with Christian Bale as Batman, Andrew Garfield as Spider-man and Henry Cavill as Superman, the British are rocking the Superhero world!
Having watched Nolans Batman Begins and Dark Knight several times thoroughly enjoying both particularly the latter, I was of course very excited about the conclusion to the trilogy -The Dark Knight Rises. So much so that me and my boyfriend booked an afternoon off work to see it on release weekend in the hope it would be quieter! We had seen several trailers including the extended trailer shown during the Imax performances of the final Harry Potter film. We saw the leaked version of this online and later saw the usual trailers for the film, all of which gave us a very positive outlook and our expectations were set very high.
The film is directed by Christopher Nolan and was released to the general public in the UK on Friday 20th July.
The film opens 8 years after the disasters incurred as a result of villain ' The Joker' and Gotham is at peace, inspired by the deceased District Commissioner Harvey Dent. Despite Gothams improvement the same can't be said for Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) who is in a sorry state of depression and disability, hiding away in Wayne Manor. We discover that even his wealth is at risk following his investment in friend and board member Miranda Tate's (Marion Cottilard) clean energy project in which consists of a device which they have learnt can be modified to become a nuclear weapon, thus the decision is made to shut it down.
We are soon introduced to our new villain, Bane (Tom Hardy) who raids a city stock market altering the figures to make Wayne Enterprises bankrupt, thus forcing Bruce to take control of his business once more. Bruce as Batman falls for a trick set by Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) in which he attempts to track her down but instead is led directly towards Bane who proves to be far stronger than Batman and reveals that he too was trained and took over The League of Shadows following the decease of Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson). After beating Batman and breaking his back, he takes him to a remote prison. Bruce learns from his inmates that escape is virtually impossible, however there was one exception, the child of Ra's al Ghul who escaped many years ago. The inmates help Bruce regain his strength before attempting escape.
In the meantime Bane takes over the city of Gotham by luring the cities policeforce underground and trapping them there by letting of explosives on their escape routes. He closes off Gotham by blowing up all bridges and keeps the impending military and public on the verge of rebellion under control by revealing that he is in possession of the nuclear weapon and can set it off at any time should anyone attempt escape or rebellion against his regime.
Gotham is shown at its worst and all hope is lost. The questions left are will Batman escape to confront Bane? Will Gotham remain under Banes control or will the nuclear weapon be detonated? And the ultimate question on ours and probably most other viewers mind - will Batman survive??
It's a big statement to make but I would say this was the best film I've ever seen. Part of it was the anticipation after waiting so long for this final instalment, but then a lot of it was the film itself which in my opinion is a huge triumph.
The storyline worked in so many ways, I think to surpass the first two films it needed to show Gotham and Batman going down in a major way, to the point where it would appear there is no hope whatsoever. And it achieved this excellently and made amazing viewing of the epic downfall of Gotham, which had previously been under the temporary control of villains, however this was on another level. The villains in this film were also much more complex and not entirely what they seemed at the start. This gave the film an edge which the previous films didn't have. There was also much more of a plan devised by the villains on this occasion which gave a much more serious note to the whole film, especially in comparison to the Jokers haphazard way of working.
The plot moved at an incredibly fast pace considering the length of the film, for this reason it went very fast and justified the longer running time. A lot of story was packed into this one film, to the point where it could have been drawn-out over two films (although I'm very glad it wasn't done this way!) The amount of action and plot within the film suited it well and added to the panic felt by Gotham during the swift take-over of Bane. But it never felt too rushed and it was still easy to follow what was going on and understand everything. I wont give away the ending but the film does give the viewers the conclusion they deserve and no open questions remain, which was a relief.
I'll admit the Batman films are far fetched in some respects, yet at the same time everything that happens within these films could well happen in real life, or at least in a future world were technical advancements have been made. I like the fact that the Batman films remain realistic and don't go too far into the fantasy realms. This makes the films more enjoyable and meant the audience could really relate to what is happening and imagine it happening in the real New York City. The variety of settings also helped the film, particularly because it was so long, it needed a change of scene every now and then. The scenes beneath the city in the sewage system and the scenes of Bruce trapped in the prison gave it some variety and prevented the setting from becoming too boring.
Despite all the positive comments I've made above about the storyline, bad acting could still have potentially ruined this film for me. But thankfully the acting was strong throughout and did the excellent plot and concept justice. I had no concerns about Christian Bale who has given a strong performance through the first two films and continued in the same way during this film. His performance didn't take my breath away but only because I already knew how good he would be based on his previous performances. I think his role within this final film was more challenging than the previous films and sees him dealing with a wider variety of scenarios and emotions, plus his character has become even more complex in time due to past events such as the decease of true love Rachel Dawes in the last film.
I was pleased to discover that Tom Hardy would play Bane. I already have a high opinion of Tom Hardy due to his faultless performance in Warrior and Inception, and he gave another strong performance in this film. However I felt his character was made slightly easier by the fact that the majority of his face including his mouth was covered for the duration and his voice was edited heavily as part of the role. But I still think he did well particularly with his body language and movements.
Anne Hathaways role as Selina Kyle (Cat Woman) worried me slightly as I haven't really seen her in ay worthwhile films and didn't really rate her as an actress, particularly in a film of this level. Yet I was surprised to find she did a good job with the role and pulled it off really well. I'm still in two minds about whether someone else could have done it better or may have suited it better.. Marion Cotillard who plays Miranda Tate is an actress I wasn't familiar with at all, but I thought her performance was convincing and strong throughout. All other cast members did an excellent job, including Michael Caine as Alfred, Bruces Butler and friend, Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. These are all strong actors who performed well in the previous 2 films and continued to consistently portray the characters they had set-up so well already.
I thought as a whole the film was well cast and the original cast members have developed and keep a consistent performance to match the other films. The acting complimented the film perfectly and did justice to an amazing production and storyline.
Film production plays a huge role in this film which is set in a bleak future city. The majority of the sets are heavily edited to the point where they border on unreal, but this simply highlights the fact that this is a fictional world and adds to the dark feel that the film promotes. The sets were flawless and completely believable and realistic looking. I not only enjoyed the storyline, but actually enjoyed looking at the amazing sets and taking in the surroundings. This is something that I don't often do, and I usually find myself focussing more on the cast and ignoring the background, but this offers so much in the way of scenery that its impossible to ignore.
There are large amounts of special effects used during dramatic parts of the which were breathtaking. The most notable was shown on the trailer and consists of Bane blowing up the Gotham baseball ground while the players are on the pitch and we watch while the pitch completely collapses into the ground yet leaving the audience stands in tact. This scene was absolutely amazing to watch especially on the big screen and was a memorable part of the film for me.
I also noticed the soundtrack despite it not consisting of songs with words, but the background music seemed to heighten each of the scenes and create an air of panic which mirrored the terror felt within Gotham.
As I've already made clear this film was perfection on every level and demonstrated excellence in movie making, plot writing and acting. I really can't fault it and after waiting so long there was nothing to be disappointed about. I would recommend it to anyone providing you have seen the other two films already which do link to this and provide an essential background knowledge. I am a fan of comic book adaptations, yet feel this trilogy could be enjoyed by anyone.
We have all waited a long time for this. Ever since Christopher Nolan practically reignited a dying fire surrounding the Batman character seven years ago with his astonishingly gripping origins story "Batman Begins," and after he started breaking records with the sequel "The Dark Knight," anticipation has been rising exponentially each year with what Nolan was prepared to do for his third and final entry. There was a brief period of panic and worry when Nolan stated that he wasn't sure whether he would return to direct after the extremely high standard set with "The Dark Knight," a feat only Nolan himself could potentially achieve. So we all sighed in relief when he eventually signed on, with the outstanding original cast returning to their roles.
So we all though the final chapter of the franchise was in the clear. The intense marketing began, and despite the criticism focusing on the new villain Bane's (Tom Hardy) incomprehensible voice, the expectation began to grow, and perhaps all the hype has turned into a massive negative blowback as more than several critical reviews started coming in, with the ever-so faithful and loyal Nolan fanboys ferociously attacking anyone who dared to speak out against the film. But the bottom line for me is this: "The Dark Knight Rises" is a disappointing film. It doesn't break the high standard set by its predecessors let alone goes near it. It is an overlong, overstuffed and overbloated film that spends too much time talking, whilst simultaneously not having a lot to say.
It has been 8 years since the events of "The Dark Knight," and Gotham is a different city. Under the new Harvey Dent Act, created in honour of the late District Attorney who died a hero, Police Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) has managed to lock up a large number of individuals related to organised crime. He knows the truth about Harvey and how Dent's newly-created alter-ego "Two-Face" was in fact a lunatic, but cleaning up the streets of Gotham has always remained a priority for him. Gotham, it would seem, has finally found peace, and is no longer in dire need of a superhero saviour; which is just as well, because Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), after injuries and loss of the love of his life, has chosen to go into seclusion, never going back into the public spotlight, hanging up with Dark Knight Cape for good.
The aforementioned Bane however, has another plan for Gotham. Hell bent on reigning terror and fear, he arrives, and through his elaborate underground network and some astonishingly well-timed terrorist plot, he turns Gotham into a city-state, cut off from the world, and manipulating a high-tech equipment built by Wayne Enterprises as a powerful nuclear bomb, he holds the entire city hostage, and allows chaos to run amok. Finding out the truth behind the cover-up of Harvey Dent's death, he releases all those who were held under the Dent Act, and essentially lets violent criminals roam around the city.
It becomes all too obvious that Batman has to intervene although Bane, superior in almost every single aspect compared to our caped crusader, simply squashes him the first time they have a confrontation. This is the first time we as the audience ever actually feel worried for Batman's well-being. The Joker was a truly terrifying individual with master manipulating skills, although in physical terms a one-on-one battle between him and Batman would have seen an easy victor in favour of the hero. But Bane is a completely different story. Bane even has the relaxed, care-free nature to let Batman take a few swings. The punches and kicks Batman throws hardly affect him, and with a single move from Bane, Batman is lying on the ground, face down. Hardy, in truly menacing shape, looks like the one person you never want to cross paths with, and the mask covering up most of his face never deters Hardy from putting on a frightening performance. It's amazing to see what the actor can achieve with less than half of his face visible, but a lot of this is undermined as soon as he starts speaking. A touch of incomprehensibility is not the issue here - his voice sounds too funny, too caricature, and too much like a futuristic animated villain to be taken at all seriously. For a man trying to distance himself from technology and unrealistic CGI, Nolan has done a terrible job in creating a human, grounded villain.
Aiding Batman in his fight, we see the usual faces Alfred (Michael Caine), Lucius (Morgan Freeman), and Jim Gordon, as well as some new ones, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard). Caine is at his usual warm and sympathetic best, standing by our hero and looking out for his safety, Oldman and Freeman prove themselves rather useful at several key points with numerous tricks up their sleeves. But despite boasting a stellar batch of new faces, Nolan struggles to fit them all in, and all three new recruits go to utter waste.
Kyle, for example, is a cat burglar. She initially has a selfish agenda of her own to puruse, which is fine, and the sultry, elegant Hathaway slips into the role (and incidentally, her tight leather costume) with a cheeky femme-fatale angle worthy of her own spin-off film. And yes, she does get to show off her athletic abilities, beating up men twice her size with slick moves. But when it comes to the climax, very little is seen of the Catwoman, and she hardly participates in crucial moments. Blake, introduced as a good and honest cop who has faith in Batman, initially appears useful and intelligent, putting pieces together and slowly uncovering Bane's evil plot for Gotham, which is good to see, especially since the enthusiastic Gordon-Levitt looks and acts the part of a rookie but talented cop. But again, in the key events, he gets sidelined to take part in a very minor, boring side of the action, unnecessarily dragging out the finale.
Treated even worse is Cotillard's character, who has a much juicier part than what you might initially be lead to believe, but is never given the proper chance to fully develop. She has an emotional background story to tell, shown to us in repetitive flashback sequences that do surprisingly work as intermittent additions, thanks mostly to Cotillard's acting chops, but after the final big reveal of her character, she is discarded as a disposable extension of the plot and ends up with an undeservingly rushed fate. It is the most anti-climatic scene in the entire film, and I suspect delaying the big "twist" worked against the film, as it was already looking at a running time of almost three hours and hence couldn't afford any more time to focus on a new and interesting individual, a rarity in comic book films.
Nolan has always been praised and found pride in his more humble, human interpretation of this superhero franchise, and has always kept the action at bay, choosing to use real humans instead of computer graphics to deliver an equally potent, exciting scenes of adrenaline-fuelled combat, of which a lot is missing in his latest "epic conclusion." There is a lot of ear-shattering music, courtesy of Hans Zimmer, who often decides to override certain lines of dialogue in favour of his crashing music, but there isn't a whole lot of awe-inspiring action. Of course, when the Batpods appear, they lead to some incredible chase scenes, but the film's most built-up event, the street-fight between Gotham's police force against the army of thugs commanded by Bane, is surprisingly empty and hardly packs in any significant punches. It's clear what went wrong with this concluding entry. Too busy and caught up in setting a dark and brooding atmosphere for Gotham, Nolan has forgotten to concentrate on his many, many characters, as well as trying to set up something truly astonishing for the eyes. Therefore whatever emotional payoff he tries to ram down our throats never quite works and although everyone does find closure of some sorts towards the end, none of it feels satisfying. Of course, Bale is as excellent as ever, and in what will be his final outing, adds more humanity and vulnerability to his appealing character, an impressive accomplishment for the actor, but it's a shame to see him stuck in such a mediocre film.
Third films in a series don't have the best track record. Spider-Man 3 was a confused, over-blown mess, Terminator 3 was a pale imitation of what had gone before and even Return of the Jedi had bloody Ewoks. Given the quality of the previous two Batman films though, hopes were high that director Christopher Nolan and writer/brother Jonathan could buck this trend and turn in a worthy end to their Batman tale.
Set eight years after the events of the end of The Dark Knight, Batman has retired following a significant drop in major crime, thanks to the inspiration the citizens of Gotham took from Harvey Dent's battle against crime. Crippled both emotionally and physically, Bruce Wayne has become a recluse and his corporation is foundering. Meanwhile, a new costumed villain, the super strong Bane is threatening to take over Gotham and rip it apart.
For those in the know, The Dark Knight Rises relies heavily on three key graphic novels from the Batman world: the epic Knightfall series, the later No Man's Land storyline and (towards the end) the more recent Batman RIP story arc. If you have read these three titles (or even the first two), The Dark Knight Rises will hold no surprises. This is something of a disappointment, since one of the key strengths of the earlier films has been their ability to take elements of key storylines (particularly Batman: Year One) and adapt them into a slightly different tale.
Even if you're not familiar with these titles, it's fairly easy to work out what is going happen; partly because, The Dark Knight Rises is nowhere near as dark or complex as the two earlier entries (although it likes to think it is) and partly because some of these developments are rather signposted through some rather laboured and portentous dialogue.
Trying to combine storylines from a number of different books inevitably leaves the plot feeling slightly disjointed and messy. It really is almost like a film of two halves where part one deals with the Knightfall elements (the rise of Bane and his initial battle with Batman), whilst the second switches to No Man's Land. Unlike previous films, where the Nolans have taken disparate elements and meshed them together into a coherent plot, The Dark Knight Rises never quite knits together so easily.
The pacing is also a little off-key. Some things happen far too fast and without enough explanation, leaving you feeling as though you are missing out on some key information; at other times the film is rather ponderous and slow. This is particularly true of a rather pedestrian opening (which, after the high octane start to The Dark Knight is a real disappointment) and a bloated middle section. Other ideas (the deteriorating relationship between Alfred and Wayne; the mutual attraction between Batman and The Cat (Catwoman, although never referred to as such)) are not given enough time - and these are precisely the elements which could have given the film the greater depth enjoyed by its precursors.
In general, the script seems to lack the polish that the two earlier scripts enjoyed. Whilst some accused them of being a little overlong and pretentious, I found them to be tightly plotted and highly enjoyable. They captured the spirit of the comics, without slavishly following them and provided an interesting interpretation of some of the key characters, interspersed with some brilliantly staged set-pieces.
The Dark Knight sort of has all these elements, but they feel more forced. This is blockbuster writing by numbers. There were times when there were things happening on screen that could have been inserted into pretty much any other generic blockbuster without too many changes. In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan had created a vision of Gotham that could only belong in Batman's world. Here, things start to slip. The two previous films felt like they had been put together with surgical like precision; this one feels a little more like a sledgehammer is being used to crack a nut.
At least the script does try and tie everything together and brings things full circle. There are very strong echoes of Batman Begins and this element works well in helping the viewer feel that this is very much a continuation of an on-going story, rather than just another adventure featuring some of the same characters. This is a nice idea and helps to give the sense that the trilogy is moving towards a very definite goal. It's just a shame that sometimes it seems as though Nolan decided first where he wanted to go and only then started to think about how he might get there, leading to the slightly uneven script.
There's also no denying that there are some superb set-pieces and when the final battle for Gotham's heart and soul kicks in, the film finds another gear, combining high octane excitement and impressive special effects with an intelligent look at what happens when societal norms have fall apart. If only the rest of the film could have delivered to this standard, then it would have been a four star film, minimum.
There's also no getting away from the fact that the writers make a grave error in sidelining Batman for so long. The film is called The Dark Knight Rises, so why on earth does the titular character feature so little in the early stages? Yes, The Batman's "retirement" and subsequent return are an important part of the plot, but there's no need to drag it out for so long.
Cast-wise, it's also a bit of a disappointment. Christian Bale is as good as ever as Batman/Bruce Wayne, but is absent for far too much of the film leaving a void which is never really filled. Using other characters to cover Batman's absence is a tactic which has been used successfully in the comics but it never really works here. Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon is as good as ever, but he is very much a support character and doesn't have the strength to carry the film on his own. Newcomer Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows promise but has a pretty predictable character arc so that there are no real surprises come the end. Even Michael Caine's Alfred disappears for large chunks of the film and his acerbic wit is sorely missed.
There's been a lot of talk about Tom Hardy's muffled voice causing problems with dialogue. I didn't find this an issue and (one or two minor moments aside) it was perfectly intelligible. I had more issues with the accent. Tom Hardy certainly looks the part and can cut the mustard in the action sequences, but he saddles Bane with a ridiculous accent that made me want to laugh every time he uttered a word. It sounds like a cross between Borat and the old Harry Enfield character, Stavros. The odd, high-pitched voice really did not sit right with such a character.
Thankfully, help is at hand from Anne Hathaway's Catwoman (as already noted, she's never actually called that, but for the sake of ease, that is how I'll tag her). I have to admit when Hathaway's casting was announced, I wasn't convinced. I'm now not only convinced, but wonder how on earth they could ever have considered using anyone else. Leaving behind the pantomime theatrics of Michelle Pfeiffer, she is sexier, darker and funnier. She perfectly captures the altruistic nature of Catwoman - someone who is neither wholly on the side of the good guys; nor wholly on the side of the bad guys. She is utterly convincing in the fight and other action sequences, yet exchanges some excellent hard-edged banter with Bruce Wayne/Batman that shows her mind is as quick and agile as her body.
It's not the The Dark Knight Rises is a bad film, it's just that after the high standards set by the previous two, it falls short of expectations. Over-long, predictable and poorly paced, it's a bit of a disappointment when hopes were so high. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan deserve massive credit for revamping the Batman and bringing him closer to the Dark Knight of the comics. On the evidence of this, though, perhaps it's just as well that Rises marks the end of their reign in Gotham.
Three stars might seem a little mean. However, I'm trying to be scrupulously fair and judge each of the Nolan films in relation to each other. It's nowhere near as good as The Dark Knight (which I awarded 5 stars) and not quite as good as Batman Begins (which got four). In the absence of being able to award a half star (which is probably a more realistic reflection), 3 is the only possible choice.
The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Running time: approx. 164 minutes
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012
Seeing this film at the weekend, I have for a few days been deciding whether or not writing a review of the film would be appropriate, given the devastating incident in Denver last Friday. I came to the conclusion that people will still see the film and information can be found on many websites such as IMDB, etc. Unfortunately the consequences of one disturbed individual have ruined the lives of so many, and my thoughts go out to all the family and friends of those who lost their lives so unnecessarily.
Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy is for me one of the best trilogy's in film history. Having studied film and TV history at degree level I have seen many many films. Some good, some bad, but never a trilogy which is so so good! The fact that Christopher Nolan is British makes it even sweeter, and although already a massive name in the film industry with The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception under his belt, at only 42, I think we will see many more greats from this Director.
In the final part of the Trilogy, Batman faces a new kind of terrorist, who is terrifying. Bane. Left broken and alone, Batman has exiled himself away with only loyal Alfred as company, but if he is to save Gotham from Bane he must break his exile and return. This isn't as easy as it sounds, he has been left permanently injured from his run ins with Harvey Dent, and Batman is a wanted man after taking the blame for Harvey Dent's crimes, leaving him hunted by police and wanted by no one. Commissioner Gordon has done as much as he can to protect Gotham under Dent Law but Bane is beyond what anyone can control and given that he is being financed by people in high places Gotham is ripe for the taking.
When the film first opened I struggled to understand what was happening. I couldn't work out if it was referring to parts of the previous film that I had forgotten or if I was just slow on the take. The opening scenes where a nuclear scientist is boarded onto a military aircraft by the CIA is very very noisy and when Bane appears in the scene and you hear his voice for the first time I thought it was verging on the slightly ridiculous. He wears a type of mask only over his mouth and it is very creepy looking. With the mask covering his mouth and the strange accent (which I thought was Russian at one point but was actually erm.... British!!) which is really loud, I thought 'here we go, this is going to be just plain stupid', but you soon forget all of that. In comparison to the Joker (who isn't mentioned once in this film out of respect for Heath Ledger) Bane is a good arch enemy of Batman, but the Joker with his smudged creepy make up was the ultimate in my opinion and for this reason The Dark Night Rises will always be second best to The Dark Knight (in my opinion).
As you would expect with a film that is 164 minutes long, the characters are slowly introduced during the first hour of the film. There are many big names in this film (which may explain somewhat the $250 million budget). We have all the ones you would expect: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Liam Neeson, with the addition of Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Aiden Gillen. Tom Hardy plays Bane and he couldn't have been more perfect for the role. He put on 30 pounds for the role, and the sheer size of him along with the weird face mask thing (!) makes him terrifying. Bane is definitely a match for Batman both mentally and physically and in various fight scenes they have together it is interesting to see the normally untouchable Batman meet his match. Tom Hardy describes Bane as 'brutal, but also incredibly clinical in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed... it's nasty. It's not about fighting, it's about carnage!'
Anne Hathaway has a sultry role as Selina Kyle or 'The Cat'. She isn't once referred to as the Cat Woman in the film but basically that's exactly who she is. A selfish, self-obsessed woman who only sees her next victim as she hunts for expensive jewels, she finds her match in Batman who helps her to realise (quite slowly!) that she must help others given her abilities. Interestingly, it is reported that among many others including Natalie Portman, Jessica Biel and Keira Knightley, Angelina Jolie auditioned for the role of Selina Kyle. While Anne Hathaway is a less obvious choice and was absolutely perfect in the role, Angelina Jolie had to have been right there hot on her heels.
There are several little stories going on throughout the film mainly centred around each of the individual characters but they all come together and start to make sense. There are also a few bits that are referred to from the previous films and some bits are an 'ahhhhhh' moment where something makes sense but not necessarily from this film.
One thing I would say is that Batman isn't necessarily the main character in this film. Yes, obviously he is the main character in so much as the film is about him, but he isn't constantly in the film and you can find that a long (ish) period of time has passed and he hasn't been in a scene. The film seems to focus a lot on one of the investigating officers John Blake who slowly starts to piece together weird goings on in Gotham. He also knows exactly who Batman is.
The effects in the film are top class, from the flying 'Bat' (built by Lucious Fox - Morgan Freeman) to the superbike that 'The Cat' uses. The fight scenes are excellent but on the odd occasion I felt they were a little slow. I can't quite describe what I mean, but the action and physical movement of it just felt a little slow, almost like a retro 'kapow' sign would appear taking Batman back to its DC Comic roots. There was also a chase scene of Batman on his superbike, and I found this particular scene (effects wise) a little strange. Again, I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just seemed slow and lacking somewhat. The slow action scenes are far outnumbered by the heavy and bold action scenes although it's a shame that the biggest scene (in my opinion) of the whole film (where Bane detonates numerous bombs under an American Football pitch, while the players are on the field) was shown in the advert of the film on TV. This did add to the anticipation of the scene when it started as you knew how fantastic this scene was going to be, but I would rather have not known it was coming and then done a loud 'wowwwwwww' in the cinema which I almost always embarrassingly do!
The film ends well. I won't give anything away at all, but its left open without being left open (if that makes sense), although I'm pretty sure this is the final film, there may be a branch off of it in a few years (this is me guessing by the way!).
Without a doubt, I have to recommend this film, and although it cannot, cannot be 4 stars, in my opinion it can't be 5 either as it's just not quite as good as The Dark Knight. So, if I could I would give it 4.5 out of 5, but I can't ..... so it's 5!
The Dark Knight Rises is the final part of director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and was co-written with his brother Jonathan Nolan and David S Goyer. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has retired the Batman and hasn't donned the mask and cape for eight years. He has been forced to do this to protect the image of the late district attorney Harvey Dent - who Batman was erroneously believed to have murdered. Dent was actually the insane maniac Two-Face but the enacted Dent Act has put hundreds of the most dangerous criminals in Gotham behind bars and cleaned up the usually crime infested city. So Dent is thought of as a great man and the Batman is a fugitive vigilante who hasn't been seen in years. The ends justifies the means. Bruce Wayne has become a Howard Hughes figure who invites speculation and whispers and is never seen at public events anymore. He prefers to brood in his rebuilt mansion with a goaty beard and scraggly hair and now hobbles around on a walking stick - the price he had to pay for years of punishing his body as Batman. "There is no cartilage in your knee," says his Doctor. "Scar tissue on your kidneys. Concussive damage to your brain tissue." The reclusive billionaire is also haunted by the death of old flame Rachel Dawes and cuts a rather sorry figure. Trouble looms in Gotham though when a new master criminal arrives in the mysterious and burly form of a mercenary named Bane (Tom Hardy), a huge shaven skulled man who wears a strange gas mask that makes his voice sound like a muffled Bela Lugosi. Bane has an army of loyal followers, like a cult group, and, working from the sewers of Gotham, intends nothing less than a complete hostile takeover of the city. Destruction and anarchy. Bruce Wayne must return as Batman to save Gotham but stopping Bane will be easier said than done.
This is the weakest of the three Nolan Batman films but it's a solid and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and still knocks the spots off the competition in this genre. Yes, The Avengers was great fun but The Dark Knight Rises is a better film. Nolan is not really interested in superheroes or the comics. You are not going to get The Penguin or The Riddler in a Teutonic steam age Gotham City in a Nolan film and you just have to deal with that. Some feel that Nolan suggests the source material is beneath him and his Batman films are too portentous and full of themselves but we have to remember why we ended up here. Joel Schumacher. Batman & Robin. Nipples on the Batsuit. Making Batman films for children to sell toys. We should be grateful that we have these three Nolan films and maybe the next reboot (which knowing Hollywood will be here sooner rather than later) will be more to other tastes. Nolan's touchstone is not Batman Returns. It's Michael Mann's Heat. The Batman of the comics would not disappear for eight years just because he was tagged for a murder he didn't commit but this is not the Batman of the comics. It's Nolan's Batman. I think it is a valid criticism though to point out that in a film that runs to nearly three hours you only see Batman in costume for about 25 minutes. I felt that the action here lacked a kinetic rush and that maybe Nolan had lost interest in the Bat escapades. He's far more interested in the character of Bruce Wayne than Batman action sequences. Remember when Batman is swooping through a mist shrouded Gotham at the end of the first film taking out Ra's al Ghul's goons? Or Batman riding his Batbike through the streets of Gotham in the second film? There is nothing like that here. When Batman uses his bike in this film nothing really happens and his two fights with Bane are rather flat and uninspired. It's as if Nolan can hardly be bothered to shoot a mere fistfight. He wants his IMAX camera pointed at thousands of extras and a city blowing to smithereens.
The set-pieces involving "The Bat", Batman's new helicopter type vehicle, are pretty good but the film maybe lacks a signature action sequence that you remember afterwards. I did love the Batcave scenes though. The Batsuit emerging from the water on a big abstract cube. Bruce Wayne at the keyboard of his super computer and doing some detective work. Christian Bale gives his best acting performance in the series here and seems to appreciate Nolan's emphasis on the character of Bruce Wayne rather than his spandex clad alter ego. Bruce Wayne is shattered and broken at various points in the film and seems destined to suffer. The film is about giving Bruce Wayne a resolution and ending to his arc and I think Nolan manages to do this in a clever way. If you've read comics like Knightfall and The Dark Knight Returns you'll see which bits and pieces they've cribbed from and borrowed and it will maybe lessen the surprise of a few developments but not to a tremendous degree. This is not as tightly plotted or thrilling as The Dark Knight but - after a slow start - builds to an exciting third act that seems to owe quite a lot to John Carpenter's Escape From New York. Bane isolates Gotham from the world by blowing the bridges and getting hold of a Wayne Enterprises fusion reactor that can be turned into a nuclear device. When Nolan starts to orchestrate the Gotham turned to hell mayhem with hundreds, maybe thousands, of extras at his disposal The Dark Knight Rises all begins to come together and is highly entertaining in a much more epic Die Hard with a Vengeance sort of way. The Nolan post 9/11 Occupy Wall Street subtext to the film is getting a bit tedious and heavy handed by this point but when the pyrotechnics and carnage kicks into gear it doesn't really matter.
Bane is not as effective a villain as The Joker or Ra's al Ghul and is maybe someone who would work better as the puppet master like he did in the comics (with many other villains centre stage and Bane behind it all). I did find about 30% of his muffled dialogue completely incomprehensible but his voice is creepy and many of his asides were funny. The mid-air plane rescue of Bane at the start of the film is actually the best action sequence in the film but I could have done with more like an early scene where Bane is deep in the sewers plotting his masterplan and kills two of his goons. Tom Hardy is a fairly short chap but Nolan makes him look absolutely huge and exert real menace in this scene. It is the Bane of Knightfall come to life. Nolan seems determined to shoehorn some twists into the final act and one of these unfortunately diminishes Bane. I thought Hardy did a decent job but this film could probably have done with one or two more villains. Anne Hathaway is ok as Selina Kyle (this being Christopher Nolan she is strictly Selina Kyle Cat Burglar rather than Selina Kyle Catwoman) although I feel that any number of actresses could have played this role as well as she did and Gary Oldman is not so memorable as Jim Gordon this time and gets a bit lost in the story. Oldman often looks as if he has no idea what is going on here and how he is supposed to be playing Gordon. Michael Caine is superb though as Alfred. Alfred is desperately trying to stop Bruce Wayne from becoming Batman again and just wants him to have a normal life. A happy ending. Alfred looks as if he's on the verge of tears in every scene he's in and Michael Caine, god bless him, acts his socks off.
The big surprise amongst the large, heavyweight cast is Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, a young police officer who becomes a confident of Gordon and Wayne and a heroic figure when Gotham comes under threat. Blake represents the idealism they once had and is morally incorruptible. To say anything about the arc of his character would be to give the end away but he was a great addition and I enjoyed where they took him at the conclusion. I thought that Matthew Modine (there is a name from the past) was surprisingly excellent too as a Deputy Commissioner who is not much more than a coward at the start of the film but eventually has a chance to redeem himself. Morgan Freeman also makes a welcome return as Batman's armourer Lucius Fox. Is this film too long? Maybe but I can't say I was ever bored and I even liked Nolan doing his Papillon homage when Bruce Wayne is put in an underground prison that seems impossible to escape from and everyone is wearing rags for clothes. I've seen reviews where critics have complained that this sequence drags the film down but I can't say I had a major problem with it myself. The Dark Knight Rises has more than a few plot holes and is not exactly perfect but it is a big, bold and impressive looking film that wraps up the trilogy in a way that feels complete. Nolan fumbles the ball a dew times here but he never drops it. If you thought The Dark Knight was overrated then you will not like this film but if you loved the first two then you should be happy enough. This is the Return of the Jedi of the trilogy but then I've always liked Return of the Jedi. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight have the edge but The Dark Knight Rises is still a superior blockbuster. Batman will be rebooted again soon enough but we'll be lucky indeed if anything ever surpasses the legacy left by Nolan.