The Dark Knight Rises
Directed by Christopher Nolan
The third, and by far the darkest in Nolan's Batman trilogy. Being the follow-up to The Dark Knight is an unfair task to be assigned a movie, which stands as one of the greatest action movies of our time. It's about as big as a movie could reasonably be, so it comes as no surprise that to conclude his Batman trilogy, Christopher Nolan would try to one-up himself. It makes too many attempts at being bigger and more epic, but doesn't ever seem to pull it off. But although it doesn't live up to its predecessor, The Dark Knight Rises is still a fantastic superhero movie of exaggerated proportions.
The biggest problem with this movie was how many problems I had with it. Small things scattered throughout it's too-long runtime, all of which piling on-top of each other to make me like it less. Maybe I went into it with too high of expectations (I wouldn't be surprised if this were the case, I did expect quite a lot), but I still had too much to complain about with this movie for me to enjoy it as much as I wanted to. Upon leaving the theater, I spent much of the rest of the day contemplating the importance of various plot threads and the irrelevance of others. I've come to terms with my initial negativity towards certain aspects of the movie, but I still feel there are certain things that definitely needed changing -- Bane's voice, for one.
A big surprise for me was how well I enjoyed Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Though her character in the big picture was of relatively minor importance, several of her scenes stand as some of the best in the movie. Tom Hardy as Bane wasn't nearly as powerful a presence as I had initially hoped. He makes for an excellent villain at times, but specific back-stories and developments revealed near the end of the film detract from his effectiveness as a central villain. And though Tom Hardy is a fantastic actor, his ability to create an iconic character is hampered by the fact that he isn't given much to work with, due largely to the enormous, voice-altering mask on his face. Again, it's unfair to compare this movie to The Dark Knight, but The Joker was far better.
If you're one of those people that prefers Batman Begins to The Dark Knight (we have a name for you people: lunatics) this movie is almost guaranteed to appeal to you. Slow-moving, and high on character development, there is surprisingly little Batman to be found in this Batman movie, focusing far more on the Bruce Wayne side of the character. Thankfully, Bale delivers his best performance of the trilogy, revealing a much darker side to the Bruce Wayne character than we have previously seen, showing a never-before-seen sense of mortality. Which, in effect, is a large part of what makes this movie effective -- the sense of danger. Will Batman survive? No other mainstream superhero movie franchise has ever raised this question before. I won't spoil it for you, but I feel the way they dealt with this was an excellent way to end the trilogy.
Yes, I have a lot of complaints about this movie. Most of which are plot-based, and since I generally try to avoid including any plot details in my reviews, I can't really get into them here. And as you read this, I'm sure you've found yourself wondering "why is he giving this movie such a good rating, when all he's done so far is complain about it?". And that's a valid question. One to which the only answer I can give, is because everything good that can be said about this movie has already been said. I don't feel the need to defend it. It's an excellent movie, and by superhero standards, one of the best there is.