The Dark Knight Rises Review

The last movie in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy is here.  So, does it live up to the hype? In short, yes, but there are a few technical problems with the overall experience.

This review will be as spoiler-less as possible.  I don’t mention any significant events or plot twists.  Seriously.

The Dark Knight Rises picks up exactly eight years after The Dark Knight.  Bruce Wayne has not been seen in public in eight years, staying locked up in the reconstructed Wayne Manor.  After Wayne has a run-in with cat burglar Selina Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway) and masked mercenary Bane (played by Inception’s Tom Hardy), he re-dons the cape to save Gotham once again.

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Without getting into major plot details, Rises is the most epic in scale of the three Nolan Batman movies, incorporating villains and characters from both of the earlier films.  In many ways, Rises is actually a closer sequel to Batman Begins than The Dark Knight.

Many of the plot details and motifs of Rises seem heavily akin to the 99% vs 1% that America faces today.  Catwoman’s Robin Hood style ‘steal from the rich, give to the poor’ being the most prominent.  Catwoman is actually one of, if not the best part of Rises.  Hathaway pulls off the role of Catwoman in a way that seems cohesive with Nolan’s realistic, gritty trilogy.  Tom Hardy also does a really good job as Bane, and it’s clear how good he is in Rises in the latter part of the movie, but Bane’s voice was strange.  Not intimidating strange, just weird.  At points, people in the audience laughed at it.  I’m not saying Bane is a bad villain, he’s actually terrific, but he is definitely less interesting than Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight.  Bane does bring more of a physical element to the movie, being the overly buff, creepy dude he is, and that is something enjoyable to watch.

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Christian Bale is back as Bruce Wayne, and it’s interesting to see what he’s done with the role.  Bruce is back to the gruff, creepy dude from Begins, but this time, it’s because he’s a complete shut-in.  It’s also interesting to see him as Batman because this time Wayne is incredibly physically frail, similar to Batman in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.  This weakness is actually interesting to see because we’re so used to the hot-headedness he normally projects.  Marion Cotillard is also refreshingly good as Miranda Tate, a rich philanthropist interested in helping Wayne Industries back onto its feet after Bruce’s eight year departure.  Like Bane, her character actually has a lot of depth, and her becomes one of the most compelling later in the story.

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Morgan Freeman is back as Lucius Fox, and he does a great job.  It’s fun to see his chemistry acting with Christian Bale, because the scenes with Bruce Wayne and Fox are always terrific.  Second to Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Michael Caine is actually the best actor in the movie.  Alfred’s scenes are wonderful, and add lots of emotion into Rises.  Alfred should be a major character, but he isn’t.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a good job as John Blake, who is way more than just a typical cop character.  His character’s connection with Wayne really humanizes them both.

Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack is again full of drums and loud BWAHHs, but it’s not a bad thing.  The action scenes are only more epic in scale because of them.  The repeated chanting featured in the soundtrack is also really cool.

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The plot for the movie itself is incredibly fast-paced, and at times seems cut short.  The movie is incredibly long at 165 minutes, but it doesn’t actually feel longer than The Dark Knight because of the movie’s fast pace.  The movie does have a great and intense story that does rival it’s predecessor in pretty much every aspect.  It would have been nice to see less giant action set pieces one after another, but too much action isn’t an awful thing.

The ending to the movie is amazing.  In many ways, it’s perfect.  While Nolan doesn’t pull an Inception spinning top move on the audience, the twist is a great and worthwhile part of the entire experience.  To show the ending of the movie would be chock full of spoilers, but it is one of the great parts of the trilogy.

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Is The Dark Knight Rises an amazing, spotless masterpiece?  No, but it’s a fantastic movie and an epic ending to the greatest comic book movie franchise of all time.

I give The Dark Knight Rises a 9.5/10.

Disagree with my thoughts?  Have your own opinions?  Respond in the comments!