*****THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS THAT WILL RUIN THE MOVIE FOR YOU, DO NOT READ THIS ANY FURTHER IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT WATCHING THE FILM AND HAVE NOT SEEN IT YET*****
The Dark Knight Rises is a thrilling and riveting end to Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Nolan has been able to consistently make summer blockbusters that appeal to everyone all together. They are action-packed enough to appeal to mass audiences, but contain some fantastic themes and thoughts to keep moviephiles in their seats.
The cinematography in this film was nothing sort of fantastic. The entire scene where Catwoman betrays Batman and ends with Bane breaking Batman’s back(A reference to Knightfall for the comic book lovers) was nothing short of impressive. In addition, the beginning scene where Bane destroys a plane in Africa was done very well as well and seemed surreal. Nolan has this distinctive style of dark yet realistic film making and this is a fantastic example of what he can produce and create when given a ton of money and talent. I did have a problem with the atomic bomb at the end, but, it was more of a plot issue than a cinematography issue. But, the effects for it at the end just seemed so damn tacky. It could almost be considered campy, which was kind of against what Nolan wanted to do with the batman universe.
Plot wise, I felt that this film had a lot of references and allusions to the comic series, some issues that it was based on include Knightfall,The Dark Knight Returns, and pretty much anything by Frank Miller. I personally felt that knowing and reading these comic books made the movie a little bit more enjoyable because there were certain scenes that had shots that were pulled almost directly from the pages of these comic books.
But, anyways, onto the film itself! Nolan really stretched himself on character development in this film. Bane was portrayed well in the film. I feel that the Burton/Schumacher film series screwed Bane’s character over by making him this dumb brute who couldn’t think. In the comics, Bane is this brilliant criminal mastermind who has a dehabilitating addition to a substance called venom that gives him super-strength. He is actually one of the first to deduce Batman’s identity in the comics. In Batman Forever, his character just sucked. He was Poison Ivy’s tool and it was just awful. That film in general was just awful. But, I hated, just hated how Talia ruined his character development. One of the biggest ways that characters in the Nolan universe stood out was due to their untimely deaths. Bane’s death was just awful in this movie and I just hated it. In ten minutes of climax/exposition, Tom Hardy’s Bane turned from this extreme badass to this lowly henchman. I didn’t like that very much.
It really seemed that they had too many characters to really develop in this film and it seemed that each one of them didn’t have enough time to do what they really wanted to do. Talia,Bane,and Catwoman all got a barebones draft done in the film. Honestly, I wish this film was longer, because if it was, I feel that it would have had a much better plot and have had much more fantastic characters. Yes, I just said that I wished a 2 hr and 45 minute film was longer.
JGL’s (Gordon-Levitt’s) character was pretty decent and was an amalgamation of all three robins, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Jason Todd. There is a theory that I read somewhere that since his middle name was Robin, he WAS Robin in this film and will serve as Batman in this Nolan Universe. The ending scene has him rising up on a mechanical platform and the movie title is, well, The Dark Knight Rises. I sentimentally agree with it and I think it makes sense. So I’ll believe in it. I think he was developed pretty well and I honestly had no problems with him as a character.
Catwoman. Catwoman to me seemed unnecessary, but, I feel that she was necessary to progress the plot from some dead spots, so whatever. Other than serving as a token love interest and as a sex icon for the film, she didn’t do much. It seemed like she was only there to bring Bruce back from Batman. I disapproved of her character, but I feel like she was portrayed well in this universe and I feel that they couldn’t have really done more than they did already.
Nolan’s Lazarus Pit concept was pretty cool. In the comics, the pits are filled with supernatural liquid that renders a person immortal, so long as they bathe in the pits regularly. Ras Al Ghul rose from the pits in the film and survived and had a symbolic immortality through Talia. Just like that, Batman rose from the pits and became a symbol and legend, becoming immortal in the streets of Gotham. I thought that the concept was executed flawlessly and could not have been done any better than in the comics.
I thought that the nuclear bomb at the end was really tacky. As blunt as that statement was, I feel that it was 100% true. I hated the nuclear explosion. In a world of darkness and constant symbolic crime and punishment. A literal bomb just seemed outlandish. In a world with a masked vigilante, a bomb that served more as a threat in the Cold War just seemed stupid. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t bring myself to terms with that abrupt finish to the movie. In addition, Bruce’s survival and Batman’s death was something I had mixed feelings about. I feel as though showing Bruce’s surprise survival was completely unnecessary to the plot and I thought it just made his sacrifice seem superficial.
In the end, Nolan’s Batman trilogy is THE superhero trilogy. It’s a masterpiece that will be lauded by critics for years to come. It’s portrayal of a dark, realistic Batman A la Frank Miller brought him back to reality and away from the Campy Adam West series. Nolan has set the standard for superheroes for years to come. Instead of having a film that shows it’s basis on a comic book, Nolan created a ‘graphic film’, an interpretation of Batman that could very well be a comic book. He has created a Batman that will stand the test of time and will hopefully test the standards of critics. While this film has it’s minor scars, it is worthy to be the conclusion of an Epic Film Series. Even though Nolan has finished his series, I still want more from this universe. While I maybe sad that it’s over, I’m happy I got to see the series unfold with my eyes.
Overall Score: 8/10