2012 RUNTIME 165 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION CHRISTOPHER NOLAN SCREENPLAY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, JONATHAN NOLAN STARRING CHRISTIAN BALE, MICHAEL CAINE, TOM HARDY, ANNE HATHAWAY, MARION COTILLARD, JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, GARY OLDMAN, MORGAN FREEMAN, MATTHEW MODINE, BEN MENDELSOHN, BURN GORMAN, ALON ABUTBUL, JUNO TEMPLE MUSIC HANS ZIMMER
The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final film of Christopher Nolan’s epic Dark Knight trilogy and it takes place about 9 years after the events of The Dark Knight.
Batman has diappeared and taken on the burden for the fall of Harvey Dent. Since then the so called Dent-act is being celebrated anualy as the one thing that has brought peace to Gotham City and the death of Harvey Dent commemorated. But a new threat born inside the league of shadows is threatening Gotham. Bane and his band of radical freedom fighters have infiltrated Gotham’s infrastructure and forming an army to take over Gotham. Without Batman and the truth behind Harvey Dent’s death the city runs danger to be destroyed once and for all.
It has become cool to critisize The Dark Knight Rises for many reasons. I for myself can understand some of the criticism, but in no way do they hurt the movie in my opinion. Some of the critisicms is legit, while some is very nitpicky and just being thrown around by angry Marvel movie fanboys for the sake of it or people who may not entirely understand the point of the film and the message it tries to convey as being the closing chapter of one of the best and most ambitious trilogies in film history.
With this review I will try adress most of the criticism I have heard over the years and try to give you my opinion on it. But first, I will give you a quick review of why I love this film.
The scope of the film is epic. We have a lot of new characters introduced like Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) as Catwoman (although she is never called Catwoman), Sgt. John Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt), Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) and our main villain Bane (Tom Hardy) to name a few.
This movie is really about the characters around Batman more than it is about Batman himself, which I will get to later. Christopher Nolan does a spectacular job of juggling all these new characters around amongst the once we already know and make each relevant for the ambitious story.
Ambitious, that’s the key word here. The story is layerd with subtext and the plot encompasses the entirety of Gotham City and its people. Never have I felt so close to the surface of Gotham’s society. Gotham City is its own character in the movie and the protagonists are its little arms extending to tell us the story with Bane and Bruce Wayne in the center of it all. I say Bruce Wayne because really the story is about him more than about his alter ego. As he always states, Batman is just a symbol to inspire. It never becomes more aparent than in The Dark Knight Rises.
The story is big and for such a big story you need a strong structure. Since the story takes place in the span of about 6 months and you only have so much time to tell it, of course there gonna be some shortcuts. The movie is almost 3 hours long, and while I think it could have benefited from some extra 10-15 minutes, I have to applaud Christopher Noland for keeping it tight without confusing the viewer. Also, for such an epic undertaking the story still feels very real, which has become a staple of Christopher Nolan’s direction and synonymous with his Dark Knight saga. It’s a superheroe tale we can believe in, in contrast to the lighthearted comic book fantasy of the Marvel movie franchise.
Now, I can’t talk about the plot and other things of the movie without adressing some of the criticism. So let’s get to it. Hit the SPOILERS button to reveal the section.
Plot holes, specifically how did Bruce Wayne get back to Gotham so quickly without anybody noticing?
First of all, complaining about Batman infiltrating a guarded area is like complaing about Supermans ability to fly. Batman is trained in staying undetected. Infiltrating a big city cut off from the main land and guarded heavily is probably one of the simpliest tasks Batman (or Bruce Wayne for that matter, since he didn’t have his gear at that point) ever had to do. Also, regarding coming back to the United States. He is Bruce Wayne and has connection everywhere. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. The point is, why should we care how he got back? He got back, that’s the key thing. Batman has come back from the dead to rescue Gotham City and put up the symbol of hope.
The Dark Knight has finally risen. For me it’s more of a symbolic plot point that starts the final act of the movie. Or would you have rather seen Bruce Wayne flying a plane or sitting in a boat for 20 minutes? It’s not important. It’s also not important how he made the symbol on that bridge. I have seen Batman do crazier things like building a sonar out of cellphones in a few hours in The Dark Knight without the help of Lucious Fox. Think about that for a second and tell me that’s more logical.
Bane is not the main villain and only a tool for Talia al Ghul.
So? I thought that’s a great twist. I think the main problem why people have an issue with Bane being a puppet is because of the previous film. People just wanted a 2nd Joker. That’s all what it is. The Joker stole the previous movie and anything coming after that which doesn’t compare to that incredible performance is bad. I thought it totally made sense to the plot and the backstory to Bane’s character made him very human. The Joker was not human at all. He was just a monster. It’s a very different villain.
Bane goes out like a bitch
Ok, I give you that one. Although, the fight between him and Batman beforehand was really cool.
The love story between Talia and Bruce Wayne comes out of nowhere.
You really think that was love? I think it feels more like a simple hook up. Bruce Wayne is known for one night stands, even Alfred adresses it in the film. So why should that be anything else? Get a life!
Not enough Batman.
Ok, this is where it gets interesting because that point shows me that you don’t understand the movie and/ot the arc of the entire trilogy. The film is not about Batman. It’s about Gotham City and its people. Since Batman Begins it is explained that the reason Bruce Wayne is being Batman is to inspire the people around him.
In The Dark Knight this message again is being pointed out when Bruce Wayne says to Alfred that people dressing literally as Batman and setting them up for danger was not what he had in mind when talking about inspiring people.
And now in this final movie the arc gets completed. While Bruce Wayne is in prison the movie effectively shows how the people in Gotham take matters in their own hands to fight back. Gordon, Lucious Fox and John Blake in specific try to fight back with the resources they have available to them. And then, when Batman shows up, they get a further push. Even Batman explains, that he can’t do this on his own. He needs the help of Gotham citizens. That’s why he puts up the symbol. It inspires even an before very uninspired Deputy Comissioner Peter Foley (Matthew Modine) who afterwards puts on his uniform to lead an army of policemen into a brawl against Bane’s thugs.
Even Selina Kyle aka Catwoman, a very selfish thief, becomes actively involved in helping Batman to recue the city. The scene where she is about to run off through the tunnel, but hesitates, effectively shows that Batman triggered something inside her that won’t let her abandon the city and its people.
And how about John Blake aka Robin? He is an overmotivated young cop from the beginning, but he tries to get the children out of the city. He probably most of any other character in the movie symbolizes what Batman is trying to do. He wants to inspire us to do the things we can in order to help, even if they are yet so small. It’s not about fighting bad guys. It’s about making the right choice and helping out, even when you don’t wear a mask. Maybe that’s why Blake gets handled over the map to the Batcave because Bruce Wayne saw in Blake someone who could take over the mantle of a future symbol for Gotham. A hot head with a selfless heart for helping out others.
It’s not about Batman, it’s about Gotham City.
Batman doesn’t operate during the day.
Oh, just shut up!
How did Batman escape the bomb?
Again, it’s not about how he did it, but that he did it. Who cares about how he escaped? He fixed the autopilot and got out. Tell me what your problem is? He can swim, can’t he? It just doesn’t matter! It’s freaking Batman. If Bruce Wayne can climb mountains (Batman Begins) he can swim back to the shore.
The clock on the bomb says 1 minute, but takes 3 minutes to blow.
Ugh, ok, if this is so important to you, I give you that one too.
Bane’s voice is hard to understand.
Not enough Alfred.
Maybe. But the scenes he has almost made me cry several times. But there is a good story reason why he left in them iddle of the film, so I can’t really critisice the movie for that.
There is no Robin in the comics called John Blake.
The Joker also doesn’t have scars in the comics. Next!
How does Bruce Waynes broken back heal so quickly.
Well, I’m not a doctor, but the way I understand it, his back is delocated and not broken. So, by punching the delocated disc back in, the spine is back to its normal position, but of course needs some healing. How does it heal so quickly? Remember, Bruce Wayne has been in prison for 4+ months. Plenty of time to heal an getting back in shape, if you ask me.
And how about his knee?
Again, I’m not a doctor. But judging from all the tech we have seen Batman use in the previous two films, I can totally see there being a device, such as the one used in the film, that can wrap around your leg and strenghten the joints. Again, I have seen Batman use crazier shit before. Cellphone sonar, anyone??
Also, the movie makes a point that Batman is not in his prime condition. That’s why Bane has no problem beating the shit out of him.
Is The Dark Knight Rises perfect? No, it’s not. But does it need to be? Does any movie need to be perfect to be enjoyed? There is so many movies that have flaws which are masterpieces. I’m not calling this film a masterpiece, but I can’t deny how amazing it is. Sometimes I even think I like it more than The Dark Knight, even though The Dark Knight may be the better film. But The Dark Knight Rises is by far the most ambitious and effectively closes up the trilogy. It wraps everything up nicely. In fact, I think the wrap up of this movie is the best for any trilogy I have seen, yes, even the classic Star Wars Trilogy. It completes the overall arc that Batman Begins sets up.
It has great characters, a great villain, great music, great cinematography, great special effects (the ones that you can’s see), great production design. Basically, everything about this movie is great. That’s why it gets a great score! 🙂