Batman The Dark Knight Rises – Review
Christopher Nolan is back to finish off his Batman trilogy in what is probably one of this year’s most anticipated films. The Dark Knight Rises brings to a close one of the best Batman adaptations ever, touching on some of the more popular events and characters in the caped crusader’s history. Nolan has crafted a trilogy that will be cherished among the best… right up there with Star Wars (original 3) and Lord of the Rings.
After eight years of retirement, Batman is needed once again to protect the city of Gotham. A hulking madman simply known as Bane has taken control of the city rendering it helpless as he executes a plan of mass destruction that will leave Gotham in a pile of ash. Can Batman take on this powerful new enemy to save a city that’s branded him an outlaw?
First off, lets set the facts straight here. Batman is a fictional character that exists in comic books and cartoons. His enemies are fictional, and any science or technology, no matter how real they may be are still used within the boundaries of a fictional universe. Trying to point out how unrealistic something appears or functions in a fictional world, is like trying to justify the existence of unicorns. If you’re one of the few that has hang ups about the real world functionality of fictional material, than you probably shouldn’t even be reading the comics, because that’s what comics are about… an escape, where anything is possible. Batman is fictional and no matter how well its written or filmed, its still just fiction. A suspension of disbelief is mandatory to enjoy these films. I apologize for the rant, but I’ve read too many critics that attack the “fictional” use of technology in this film.
To me, The Dark Knight Rises is to The Dark Knight as Jedi was to Empire. It doesn’t quite hit the epicness of its predecessor, but it’s still an awesome follow up that completes a story. Nolan once again bravely takes on more characters than he should, but as with The Dark Knight, he manages to pull through it successfully. Using these characters as a garnish is why it works so well. Nolan doesn’t feel the need to over explain the origin of Catwoman. She has a strong role in the film, but at no point do you feel the film is about her… but my god, Anne Hathaway on that bike… Bane on the other hand, being the primary villain, gets a lot more presence. Honestly though, I was a little disappointed when they first announced that Bane would be the principle villain… I mean c’mon, do you remember the travesty that was Batman & Robin. This ruined any desire I could ever have to see Bane on the big screen again. Fortunately Nolan does it right. He tweaks the origin to fit his story, but ultimately gives us a Bane worth watching… a Bane grounded in Nolan’s universe. Again, Batman purists will nitpick, but most of us will enjoy it for what it is… a huge step up from Schumacher’s Bane!
The entire cast is back to reprise their respective roles. Christian Bale does his thing, although I did notice the raspiness of his voice a little more contained. Morgan Freeman returns as Fox, and Michael Caine as Alfred. Gary Oldman steps up to the plate a little more in this one, more screen time, more action. Oldman never disappoints and its always refreshing seeing him in a role like this. Newer faces including Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy just add to an impressive cast. Levitt and Hardy had both been in Nolan’s previous film Inception. I’m always impressed with Levitt’s diverse roles, with a string of projects already in production, he never fails to disappoint. Hardy… well he’s gonna be Mad Max in 2013, what more can I say! Hardy is an imposing figure when he wants to be, but as seen in films like Inception and This Means War, he can pull it back when necessary. Overall, the cast did a brilliant job!
With Nolan’s third entry into the franchise, I think he realized early on that there was no way he could trump The Dark Knight… and he was right. Instead he focused on giving us the story we needed… as fans. He provides hope and closure. As the torch is passed on in the film, so is the franchise. If Warner/Legendary wants to cash in on the popularity established in this trilogy, Nolan has left a small trail… but lets hope not! Otherwise you can be sure that within the decade that follows, some other director will pick up the torch… and lets just hope its not another case of Schumacker following Burton’s footsteps.
Bottom Line, The Dark Knight Rises is an excellent curtain to the trilogy. Things you hope to happen, happen. It’s not Oscar material… it was never meant to be, but what it does, it does well! If you enjoyed the previous films, The Dark Knight Rises won’t disappoint. The one thing I highly recommend though when entering a film like this… suspension of disbelief. It’s a necessary tool to enjoy, after all, they are based on comics… right?