The Dark Knight Rises

{4/5} “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.”

It’s 8 years after Batman took the fall for the death of Harvey Dent — Bruce Wayne is a recluse in his mansion and Batman is nowhere to be found. Then Bane shows up and proves to be too much for the Gotham police to handle. Selena Kyle steals a pearl necklace from Bruce but he believes she was really after his fingerprints — but why? And can an out-of-practise Batman hope to defeat Bane, who is willing to destroy the entire city with him in it?

The Dark Knight Rises, released in 2012

If you liked Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, you will like this movie (if you haven’t seen those movies, what are you waiting for?). The Dark Knight Rises is not as perfect as Batman Begins and not as easy to follow as The Dark Knight but it is well worth watching. There were certainly lots of great parts (the ending), but also some parts that weren’t as interesting as I expected them to be (the beginning and the middle). There’s some great action and some great character moments. The character of Selina Kyle brings some welcome levity to an otherwise serious movie.

The basic plot is understandable but it’s a complex story with some confusing details (see below for examples). Bane is a pretty nasty villain, and some parts of the movie are a bit grim. One other problem was that it was sometimes difficult to tell what Bane was saying (he wears a mask over his mouth).

It seems like it’s difficult to maintain quality through a trilogy. My current ratings for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are 5/5 and 4.5/5 (I gave the latter 5/5 the first time I saw it). Even though the quality went down a bit, this trilogy did much better than other superhero trilogies — the third Spider-man and X-Men movies are significantly worse (2/5 for both).

Instead of making movies that go on and on until they stop making bucket loads of money, Nolan has crafted three movies with a beginning, middle, and end — I certainly applaud him for that.

Hans Zimmer (Sherlock Holmes) wrote the music. He uses themes with the same type of pounding rhythms he and James Newton Howard wrote for the two previous movies. They are effective themes for action sequences.

The actors we expect are back from the first two installments: Christian Bale (The Prestige, 3:10 to Yuma) as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Commissioner Gordon, Michael Caine (The Prestige, Secondhand Lions) as Alfred Pennyworth, and Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as Lucius Fox. Joining them are Tom Hardy (Inception, Star Trek: Nemesis) as Bane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, 50/50) as a police officer named Blake, Anne Hathaway (Get Smart) as Selina Kyle, and Marion Cotillard (Inception, Big Fish) as Miranda Tate, a philanthropist. There are also a couple of surprise appearances.

The movie was directed by Christopher Nolan (The Prestige, Inception).


In the opening scene on the plane it should be been a bit more clear what was happening — what was with the blood? The attraction between Bruce and Miranda came out of nowhere. The thing that Bruce gives Selena that will erase her past — did we know about it before or did it come out of nowhere?

After thinking about it, I realized that Bruce faked his death so that he could live his life the way he wanted to — following the advice of Alfred. It might never have occurred to me to have a superhero decide to stop being a superhero, but it makes sense in the context of these movies. This Batman is not the Batman of the comic books, who fights crime on an ongoing basis — he appears when there’s a villain that only he can deal with (and he fixed the bat signal, just in case).

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 28th, 2012 at 8:16 pm and is filed under Reviews of movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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