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The Dark Knight Rises for the final time...
The Dark Knight Rises(DVD)
Member Name: mummy2harry
The Dark Knight Rises(DVD)
Advantages: Stunning film, great action, good direction, brilliant cast
Disadvantages: The end of the trilogy!
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.
Summary: A superb movie