The Dark Knight Rises Review
Wrapping up a trilogy is not supposed to be easy. Especially one that has for the most part flipped the superhero genre on its head, making a superhero very real, human and grounding him and his world in reality in part, the way that Christopher Nolan’s new Batman trilogy has. With The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan says goodbye to his take on Gotham’s Dark Knight in grand-scale style.
To look at Rises, we have to look back to know the trilogy. The film opens on the thoughts of the end of The Dark Knight, with a city remembering the death of Harvey Dent. Commissioner Gordon wants to reveal the cover up of Dent’s death, as Gordon has been living a lie with the city, but he can’t bring himself to do it. Eight years have passed sine The Dark Knight became villain to the city and he has gone into retirement. Gotham’s organized crime is non-existent and cops are left filling the hours idly.
But Bane, a terrorist of origins not-unlike Batman, has a plot to rip Gotham to pieces. Tom Hardy’s Bane speaks through a gravely voice box that helps keep him alive. Indeed, without his mask, Bane is not so tough. Bane’s plot, coupled with an introduction to a thief in skintight gear known as Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, marks an apt time for Christian Bale’s Batman to make a return to protect the city he cherishes. But Batman has been idle too long, almost crippled from his previous Dark Knight duties and never seen outside. His reintroduction doesn’t go over so smoothly.
What plays out over a nearly three hour running time is Nolan playing on his filmmaking from the previous two films. Nolan uses lines and plot points as perfect feeders for those who have followed his Dark Knight to his story’s conclusion. Almost all the players from films past, save for The Joker, due to Ledger’s passing, have some sort of role to play here. All the while, Nolan introduces new members fairly seamlessly into the last film.
Nolan wisely doesn’t attempt to top The Dark Knight, but he successfully melds the themes, characters and stories of the previous two films into The Dark Knight Rises. Bane serves as a fairly apt villain; Catwoman serves as a difficult puzzle to put together and the scale can’t be under mentioned. This is epic filmmaking while Nolan infuses the all-important human element into the film.
The movie is not without it’s flaws in my estimation. Much of the film is predictable, in particular for those who have paid close attention to the way Nolan has laid out previous films in the series. Bane is a good villain, but his tussle with Batman maybe lacks a little of the individual scope that it might have. Perhaps he gives into convention a bit in rounding out this tale. The film takes one shot too many at the very end for my personal liking, all the while causing a few opportunities for strong emotional reactions to the end of his Batman story.
Nolan has done the near impossible with his three films – he’s managed to make a hero seem utterly real, with a performance by Bale that deserves recognition as his tortured crusader runs the gamut of emotions throughout the series. The Dark Knight Rises, though marred by tragedy recently, as Nolan’s previous film both benefitted and hurt from in Heath ledger’s untimely death, still wraps up an immersive trilogy of a man who is going to be hard for many filmgoers to let do….The Dark Knight. Cut to black and cue the music!