This week, Papa Kenn reviews the much anticipated final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES!
“The Dark Knight Rises”
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David S Goyer
Starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine
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Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy has come to a close. Meeting with mixed opinions, The Dark Knight Rises earned over $160 million for its opening weekend and left many a fan grinning with delight as the credits rolled, including myself.
As with many trilogies, the final film often has a lot to live up to because the second tends to be regarded by many as the high point of the series. Return of the Jedi had to live up to The Empire Strikes Back, and The Dark Knight Rises had to live up to its legendary older brother The Dark Knight. Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane had to live up to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Joker, and Christian Bale’s throat had to last another movie talking like a throat cancer patient.
The movie falls short of its predecessor, but still manages to be an overall great and enjoyable experience. In truth, that’s really what The Dark Knight Rises is, an experience. You’re experiencing the conclusion of one of the greatest theatrical trilogies alongside the original Star Wars trilogy, Lord of the Rings, and a few others. You’re literally experiencing the third act of a 7½ hour long storyline, so you’ll definitely want to see Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before seeing this.
Bane as a villain is easily one of the strongest points that TDKR has in its favor. The voice was excellently done; digitally altered to sound muffled through a mask, but easily understandable about 90% of the time (though there were times when subtitles would have been helpful). While lacking the chaotic psychosis of Joker, the character commands a more organized, intelligent chaos alongside near-superhuman strength and agility. It goes without saying that Batman and Bane fight at some point in the movie, and that confrontation is a sight to behold. The phenomenal music that encapsulates so much of the movie is thrown aside, leaving us to absorb every tense, bone-crunching moment.
One thing I commend Nolan for in this entire trilogy is that he kept it rooted in reality. Well, other than the technology employed by Batman and a few others…though even most of the tech isn’t very far fetched. The movies could have had references to Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pool, the Titan serum that gives Bane super strength, and even the vat of chemicals that disfigured The Joker when he fell into it (all part of the comic books and other Batman-related media).
Being as set in reality as it is however, The Dark Knight Rises suffers from some major plot holes that require more than a little suspension of disbelief. The problem with these plot holes being an issue is that it’s impossible to go into detail on them without giving out major spoilers. To be vague about it, there are at least two significant instances when incidents occur or characters show up that are inconceivable at best when all of the details are taken into account.
Outside of the plot holes, the movie’s grip on reality suffers further through what I will only describe as: “The repair and healing process”. Again, further detail means spoilers, so I apologize for being vague.
Really, I think that the major issue with the movie is that it sacrifices real-world logic for comic book logic (and style) too often. The explanations almost seem to boil down to “It’s a superhero movie!” or “It’s Batman, he can do anything!” Perhaps when it’s released on Blu-ray we’ll get an extended ultimate director’s cut edition at slightly under 4 hours that fills in the blanks…but until then these flaws are pretty significant.
One last issue with the movie has a lot to do with how it was edited. Too often, we’re given quick cuts that seem to completely throw away minutes of time from what is currently happening. At the time, I didn’t notice these because it felt in line with the movie’s overall pace. Looking back however, these cuts almost made it seem as if characters were teleporting from one place to another during a scene that should have been one consistent shot.
In the end, The Dark Knight Rises is good. Flawed for sure, but it’s a good film that works out to be a great ending to the series and a really enjoyable experience. The good outweighs the bad, with an amazing villain in Bane, a phenomenal Selena Kyle, a strong plot (despite its holes), and Michael Caine. Then of course Batman, but that’s a given. The Dark Knight rose to the occasion and came out battered and bruised…but man what a ride.
I give The Dark Knight Rises: 8 / 10.
Oh, and Anne Hathaway? Best. Catwoman. Ever. Really hot too.
I’m Papa Kenn, and I’ll see you next review.