Monday, September 03, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review

Set 8 years after the conclusion of 2008's blockbuster, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises is the final film in Christopher Nolan's masterful trilogy.  Thanks to Batman's (Christian Bale) sacrifice and the implementation of the Dent Act,  Gotham City is now free from major crime and Batman has retired from crime fighting, with Bruce Wayne himself becoming reclusive and hiding from the public eye.

Essentially in a state of depression and loss, Bruce still blames himself for Rachel's (Maggie Gyllenhaal) death and simply can't face both himself and the world, that is, until trouble starts for Gotham once more.  For those who are fans of the franchise, you'll certainly know of the character Bane (Tom Hardy), famous for breaking Batman's back in the comics.  As the primary antagonist of The Dark Knight Rises, Bane was once a member of the League of Shadows under Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and fully intends to finish the League's work.  With the on-again/off-again aid of Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), Bane slowly begins a reign of terror in Gotham, forcing Batman back into action.

I absolutely loved how much this final installment in the trilogy ties into the original film.  It most certainly makes many references to The Dark Knight, but Batman Begins is far more key to the core plot and there are enough twists, turns, and revelations that truly kept me on the edge of my seat.  In tandem with that, and along with a host of supporting characters, both old and new, The Dark Knight Rises does an excellent job of not becoming diluted or over saturated with all its characters.  Nolan really struck a great balance between screen time, character development, and action.

Now having said that, I personally found the action sequences from The Dark Knight Rises to be less spectacular than those found in The Dark Knight.  Sure, they're quite grand and generally flow well with the core plot, but they didn't steal the show for me; the character development did.

The whole tone of The Dark Knight Rises is very dark and as the movie progresses, it becomes more and more desperate.  I loved the play between Batman and Catwoman, who's dynamic I thought worked very well, and Bane was an exceptional antagonist.  I know many had issues with Bane's voice (as well as Batman's, of course), but I personally wasn't bothered by any of this and simply saw it as parts of the characters and of their very real flaws.  And yes, all of the characters are flawed and make simple, key mistakes throughout that have an overreaching effect on the whole film.

I personally got so attached to the characters that there were several moments where I did begin to get a little misty eyed.  Don't mistake me, the plot isn't perfect and there's certainly plot holes to be found (at a few points you really need to stretch your suspension of disbelief), but by movie's end I was still thoroughly entertained and greatly enjoyed myself.

By now, you already know that The Dark Knight Rises is the blockbuster film of the summer, and if you wanted to see it you've likely done so already.  If you're one of the few who haven't, provided you enjoyed Nolan's previous works with the franchise I strongly recommend you experience the film in theatres.  It's a great piece of entertainment filled with depth, heroism, and frail humanity, and it's a near three hour experience that you won't regret.

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