Published on July 21st, 2012 | by Chucky Chesus0
An end to an era, The Dark Knight Rises review
As we examine one of the best and biggest film trilogies of all time, it can not be spared from being directly tied to one of the most high profile shooting cases in American history and while I am not here to point fingers at politicians or blame the subject matter of today’s movies and videos games for one mans actions, it goes without saying that our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims in the Aurora, Colorado massacre.
I’m sure Christopher Nolan didn’t see the following that would be sparked by his trilogy, truly a batman series worth talking about. Not to discredit the former actors but Nolan took the “super hero” movie and added what it lacked, depth. Batman became much more than a “Good Guy Vs Bad Guy,” and played out the moral implications of it’s characters, corruption amongst the police officers and a loss of hope. With the brooding sense of injustice over taking Gotham’s new found “peace time era”, The Dark Knight Rises gives us the batman that could really only be brought to fruition in comics, until now.
In short, TDKR starts 8 years after the story line in the Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne has gone into hiding, cut off from the world completely with the exception of Alfred and Gotham has finally reached its time of peace. Commissioner Gordon has yet to come clean about the “true” events that lead to Harvey Dents death and has eradicated the city of organized crime but of course, peace never last forever and the Dark Knight Rises beings some old characters back to upset the order of justice in a completely different way.
Anne Hathaway being cast as Catwoman was at first questionable but her performance without a doubt was one of the best parts of this film. She immediately dives into her characters just 5 minutes after being on screen, really portraying the duality of Selina Kyle. Being both sexy and funny, Hathaway manages to maintain Kyle’s level of malevolence with her surfacing insecurities about the mistakes she can’t erase in her past. Every character had thier motives and her mind stayed on hers throughout. Catwoman also had some of the best lines, one of the best dialogue scenes in the movie is seen with her and Wayne dancing at a ball, while the camera spins you hear them go back and forth about privileges held by people in his position, one of the most notable quotes from the film (also seen in the early trailers) came from Selina Kyle. ” There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”
Dark Knight rises manages to keep a myriad of great characters on screen and keep them versatile and interesting, of course, that’s one of Christopher Nolan’s specialties. With the return of a few favorites like Lucius Fox and even Johnathan Crane, Alfred is the most heartbreaking on screen. Alfred, played by the every amazing Micheal Caine, is torn to see what has become of Bruce Wayne and as his care taker, warns him about what may come from the confrontation with Bane. Not being as confident in his abilities as he previously was, he doubt that Gotham even needs batman to come back and that Bruce should have moved on by now, in one of the tougher moments, Alfred revels the truth about the late Rachel Dawes decision to choose Harvey Dent over him and is forced to walk away from Bruce stating that he cares too much to have to bury him.
As the movie progresses , we see another famous batman villain rise to power, Bane. A mercenary and new face of the League of shadows, being used by John Dagget, a business rival of Bruce Wayne, in order to gain control of his company but quickly reveals his fiendish nature and his own motives. While having no intention of being told what to do, Bane proves to be more than just another criminal trying to run the streets of Gotham city. The initial trailer for batman showed a different version of Bane, specifically talking about his voice editing, while it was awful before it was still hard to understand him in parts, his dialogue seemed muffled but he was a far cry from the brute in the 1997 “Batman and Robin.” Bane was a clever and well developed character with maniacal behavior that adds to his over sense of brutality. After being tricked by Selina Kyle, Batman finds himself in more than he bargained for, deep in the sewers where he fights bane one and one and is no match. For those of you who didn’t know, Bane is most famous for breaking Batman’s back, nearly crippling him and the only problem I had is that for breaking his back, it seemed to happen so easily, almost, too easily. In whatever aspect, the following blows to the head while he was on the ground is enough to give you a headache. After giving Batman his beat down, he explains that death isn’t his goal and reveals that Dagget’s men have been used to drill under the sewers to get into Wayne’s weapons compound. With the intention to break Batman’s spirit, he’s moved to an unknown prison location, from once Bane escaped, left to watch Gotham’s demise on a television as his hopes fade.
With Bruce Wayne out of the picture, and having already handed his company over to long time supporter, Miranda Tate, Bane uses their fusion core from their energy producing project and turns it into a nuclear weapon, giving Gotham a 5 month countdown and with all of the bridges destroyed and a threat that if anyone leaves, the bomb will explode, Gotham’s civilians are held captive and without their hero, hope seems far gone.
While Wayne is in prison, the prisoners speak of a child who climbed out of the prison and escaped, being the child of a former mercenary who abandoned his wife in the prison years ago and during the months long recuperation undergone by Bruce, Gotham is now being run by Bane and his small army of released convicts. During his occupation, he exposes the truth about Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent through a letter Gordon chose not to read during a speech early on. Gordon, now partnered with the one of the other films best characters, John Blake, a young “hot headed” police officer who’s been in contact with Bruce Wayne before and grew up in one of the foster facilities funded by his enterprise. Joseph Gordon Levitt played a much heavier role in this last Dark Knight film than I expected, being both an aid to Gordon, Batman and trying to rescue his fellow trapped police officers who are buried under the city in the sewers after being tricked by bane. Levitts’s character is a tough, quick witted young man who is quickly picked up by Gordon for his intuitive detective skills.
As the days grow closer to the bombs detonation and after a visit by the elusive Ra’s Al Ghul (the villain from Batman begins), Batman becomes more and more determined to climb out of this prison and finds himself unable to until one of the inmates who helped him heal his back, informs him to climb out without a safety rope in order to restore his far of death, stating that the child who escaped did the same. Giving him that drive to succeed, on his final attempt, after months of recovery, he finally does make it out and heads for a triumphant return to Gotham with his new found confidence back. With the efforts of Blake and offering Selina Kyle a chance at a new life, batman assembles a team and confronts Bane in a massive Cop vs Criminal show down. After finally having gained the upper hand on Bane by breaking part of his face mask, Bruce is betrayed by none other than Miranda Tate, who reveals herself to be Tahlia Ah Ghul and the child who escaped the prison. She explains her fathers plan to eradicate Gotham and that bane was her care taker when she was young. Gordon, using a box designed by Lucius Fox, temporarily jams the fusion core bomb, buying Gotham another few minutes before Tahlia takes off to set the explosive off herself, Bane is ready to kill Batman before Catwoman shows up and shoots him down. After a chase scene resulting in an accident that kills Tahlia, Bruce has no choice but to fly the bomb as far away from the city as he can in order to result to as little casualties as possible.
As the movie drew to a close, the theater grew silent and I took a deep breath and watched the screen as Batman flew this fusion reactor bomb over a vast, blue, empty ocean in his last heroic attempt to save Gotham, hearing nothing but the count down from the bombs timer. As John Blake stands on a bridge watching, there’s a large explosion off in the distance and a feeling of loss and true heroism is felt, evil has been defeated and Gotham, like always, needed their Batman. The movie ends with Alfred, Lucius, Gordon and Blake sharing a small funeral for Bruce and while on a holiday at a restaurant mentioned by Alfred earlier in the film, Bruce is shown sitting with Selina Kyle, he smiles nods at Alfred and Alfred excuses himself from his table. John Blake goes to see if anything was left for him and after being initially told know, its revealed to the audience that his real first name is Robin, a reveal to whom his character would later become. The last scene in the movie shows Robin entering the Batcave and being lifted by a large platform inside of a cave hidden behind a waterfall.
Accentuated with a powerful score by Hans Zimmer, an amazing cast, beautiful set locations, amazing action scenes and a truly deep story line, the nearly flawless film, The Dark Knight Rises, closes the book one on amazing series of films and easily marks the highest bar for not just Batman, but for really any super hero movie. It’s been a wonderful ride and I hope that who ever tries to do the next series of Batman films is ready because these are some big shoes to fill.