A review of “The Dark Knight Rises”
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 02:07
“The Dark Knight Rises” is the third and final entry into Nolan’s Batman trilogy. As with most third entries in a trilogy, this movie ramps up the stakes and its overall message to 11 and never really pulls any punches at all. Fair warning: there may be significant spoilers ahead.
The movie begins eight years after the end of “The Dark Knight” with Commissioner Gordon giving a speech about Harvey Dent and the town celebrating a holiday based on all of the good that they have been led to believe he did.
Bruce Wayne has been in seclusion the entire time and as such, no one has seen Batman since he took the blame for the murders Dent committed in the last movie. From here, the new characters such as Selina Kyle, Bane, Miranda Tate and Blake are introduced and the story gets rolling.
The first third of the movie starts off relatively slowly, especially when compared to its predecessor. We get dialogue between Bruce and Alfred and more back story to their respective story arcs. Things pick up when Bane is on screen for some time at the beginning but it’s mostly character and story development.
As the movie goes on and Bane starts to implement his plan, the movie starts to really get going. A set of events leads to Selina leading Batman to Bane and this leads to the first major loss for Batman physically in the entire series. All of Batman's armory is stolen right in front of his eyes as Bane physically and mentally “breaks the bat” in a way that almost mirrors the way Bane did it in his comic book debut in the 90s.
From here, the movie becomes more of a character piece about everyone in Gotham City instead of just a Batman movie. Bruce is held in a jail, physically broken and forced to watch as Bane holds Gotham City ransom under the constant threat of a nuclear reactor.
A major set piece in the movie is when Bane sets off explosives all across Gotham City, isolating it from the rest of the world and goes on to reveal he has acquired a nuclear reactor and detonator.
As Bruce watches in his cell we get more character development for him and his motivations as an older broken character who needs to rebuild himself to be able to come back. The parts leading to Bruce escaping his prison are very story-driven and while this part of the movie doesn’t focus on him nearly as much as the rest of Gotham City, the overall message is not something we’ve seen in the Batman franchise before.
As Bruce is recovering and trying to get out, the film mainly focuses on Blake, Gordan, the members of Wayne enterprises and the rest of the city as they deal with Bane’s reign. It’s interesting to see how everyone tries to keep hope and bands together to try to do something to stop Bane even when Batman isn’t around to help them.
When Batman finally returns to the scene and the third act begins it’s nothing short of epic. The stakes are high and the second fight with Bane evokes some of the most visceral reactions felt in cinema in years.
The movie comes to close with a very emotional, tear-jerking finale. This was perfect and fit in quite well with the story’s universe. The only thing they could have done better was maybe make the epilogue a little more ambiguous at the very end.
From the first moment we see Bane, Nolan has made it clear that this character is the most brutal of all the villains. While the Joker was sick and twisted and introduced chaos, Bane is smart and calm as he easily and bare-handedly kills people with no remorse.
Anthony Wilder, communications major, thought that Bane “wasn't as great as the Joker was.” Wilder did go on to say that he thought, “His combination of strength and intelligence were an awesome combination and overall he was a strong character.”
The odd thing about Bane, though, is his voice. It’s not that it’s out of place or anything like that. His voice is just extremely loud. As in it overpowers the music and the level of other people dialogue by several orders of magnitude. It’s an improvement over how hard it was to hear him in the early previews but it just doesn’t sound natural.
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle couldn’t have been a more perfect choice. The skepticism before the movie’s release was reminiscent of the skepticism that Heath Ledger received as the Joker before “The Dark Knight” came out but they made the perfect choice in choosing Hathaway.
The way she portrays the character is fitting for the Nolanverse. She is very deceptive and is still a thief, but she is also human and just wants a way to wipe her record clean so she can stop being a thief. Her motivations are believable, and she is one of the highlights of this film.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character was also surprisingly welcome addition to the movie. Blake is a cop who has figured out that Bruce is Batman and tries to get him back into the game early on in the movie.
His frustration with the mistakes of Bruce, Gordon and every one from the previous films as well as with what happens in this film is what makes him the most human of all the characters. He was a very welcome addition to the already great characters that were already in these films.
Bruce/Batman’s journey to the end of this movie was nothing less than spectacular. Starting out as a reclusive, somewhat crippled character, he gets back on his feet and fights again, gets quite literally broken, and then comes back stronger than ever. The arc is executed perfectly.