Well everyone, at long last the year’s most highly anticipated film has been released and dear God, I swear this poor film is jinxed. First we had a bunch of dumbass fan boys post a lot of angry comments on Rotten Tomatoes pointed at the first people who dared to give the film a negative review before they even saw the film. And to them I say SHAME ON YOU, FAN BOYS! I mean, good God! What is wrong with you people? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves! I understand giving a critic crap after seeing the film for yourself and seeing what the general consensus is and if they are against it, (I’ve done it a few times myself), but don’t pull this kind of crap when you haven’t even seen the film and general consensus has yet to been made! I would expect this kind of behavior from Twilight fans, Skyrim fans, or even anti-Mass Effect 3 ending fans, but from Dark Knight fans? A franchise of films that requires an average I.Q. to enjoy? I’m disgusted with you people! You’re giving other fans a bad name and pulling this kind of crap before you even see the film for yourself is beyond juvenile and this is something you should apologize for! Then we had Rush Limbaugh’s dumbass accusation that the character of Bane to be a liberal attack on Mitt Romney, (I am not even joking about that one), and just what the hell? And of course we had the Colorado shooting and my heart goes out to all those that were injured during the midnight showing of this film and my condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. That whole affair is something that I honestly don’t have any words for.
But I wasn’t going to let any of this change my opinion, enjoyment or hatred of the film so here we go. The story takes place 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight and in that time Gotham City has become a city free of organized crime due to the actions of Batman and Commissioner Gordon in the previous film. However the events of that film have taken their toll on Wayne both physically and mentally and he is now a broken shell of what he once was. However he is forced to put the cowl back on when a man known only as Bane emerges as the new leader of The League of Shadows and is intent on finishing what Ra’s Al Ghul started in Batman Begin. So has this film lived up to the hype and joined the ranks of great part threes like Toy Story 3 and Return of the King or will it join the likes of crappy part threes like X-Men 3 or Spider-Man 3? Well, here are my thoughts on it. This is The Illusive One’s Review of The Dark Knight Rises.
As with the previous film the special effects are fantastic and Nolan proves once again that he knows what he’s doing in this department as everything on screen, CGI or not, looks one hundred percent real and is an incredible breath of fresh air in a decade full of mostly synthetic looking CGI crap. Likewise, the sound effects are great and again stand out from a lot of other films in this department with everything sounding the way I imagine it would in real life and not sounding like sound effects. As with the previous two film and Inception the cinematography is once again Oscar level and I could not be happier that Wally Pfister, (the director of photography for these films), is getting the chance to direct his own film. The man really deserves the chance.
Now as I mentioned in previous posts, Nolan has never been the best with action scenes as they always suffered from shaky camera, sloppy editing, or were just poorly choreographed. This time around he has finally perfected them. They’re epic, tense well-choreographed and just know how to get you pumped and ready to kick some ass. Adding to the tension of these scenes is the fact that this film is the end of this story and because of this the threat of death is everywhere and you really have no idea who is going to live or die. Granted I don’t think that they took full advantage of this but the threat is their all the same.
Then we have our cast. For starters, you have no idea how happy I am to see a good interpretation of Bane and Tom Hardy did a great job playing him. He’s menacing, badass smart, intimidating and his plan to destroy Gotham is incredibly cruel and is very eerily up to par with current events and politics. Gary Oldman, Michael Cane, and Morgan Freeman were all once again great in their roles, even if they have less to do in this film. Anne Hathaway was perfect as Catwoman and they just could not have gotten a better person for the part. New comers Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake and Marion Cotillard as Miranda are also pretty good in their roles even if they did seem a little tacked on. I also really liked the way certain characters tried to push Wayne in different directions, with Alfred trying to get him to give up Batman and try to live a normal life and Gordon and Blake trying to convince him to put the cowl back on and it made for some interesting conflicts.
Now the film has gotten a bit of criticism for the plot but we’ll get more into that in a minute. Now, starting with what they got right, they knocked it out of the park. Whereas the first film was more about Batman, second film Gotham City itself, this film is more about Bruce Wayne and the way everything has affected him both physically and mentally and the first and final acts of the film do a very good job of showing this. In the first act, he is basically a broken man who has lost everyone he cares about and wants to become Batman again, possible out of suicidal tendencies and by the time the film ends you get the feeling that his arc is complete. The final act of the film is one of the best I have ever seen, with incredibly tense action scenes and more than makes up for some of the drag in the second act of the film. Adding to this is the general feeling that the characters may not live to the end which adds layers of intensity to the climax. There are also a few really good twists throughout the film, especially concerning Bane’s identity that were genuinely shocking.
And speaking of which, the ending is incredibly satisfying. The less said about this the better but as of right now, you are not going to find a better ending to a superhero story on film. Yea, there are a few loose ends that I wish they had done a better job of tying up but they do a fantastic job of ending Batman’s story and I could not be happier with the final ten minutes of the film.
But the best part of this film, however, was easily the score. Whenever that Deshi Basara music came on everything got better. The action scenes were tenser. The suspense build up was stronger and it just knew how to get the blood pumping and how to keep you on the edge of your seat and if Hans Zimmer doesn’t at least get an Oscar Nomination for his work on this film the people running that think should be burned alive for the snub. Seriously, it is that good and well used.
There are, however, some problems with the film and they are big ones in my opinion. The main thing it suffers from is that it’s just not as good as its predecessor. The with the exception of Bruce Wayne most of the returning characters just aren’t as interesting or as fleshed as they were in the last film. Characters like Blake, Bane and Daggett just aren’t as interesting or compelling as characters like Harvey Dent, The Joker or Maroni with the latter of the three feeling a bit like a throwaway character. The storyline likewise, while better than most of the stuff out there, just isn’t nearly as good and lacks the same levels of depth, complexity and realism as well as the daring of it which really takes away from the experience.
The plot also suffers from two other major problems. The first is the length. It is a long film and unlike the last one this one can drag a bit, particularly during the second act of the film which was easily the weakest part of it and I just can’t help but wish they had taken that act in another route. It also doesn’t have enough of Batman “being Batman” as it goes straight to his battles with Bane, mostly ignoring any kind of other crime fighting or battles with the police and I really wish that they had taken a few more plot elements from the first part the Knightfall story arc, (where Batman has to fight off a crap-ton of criminals who escaped prison before fighting Bane), rather than the direction they went in. As a result it ultimately came off more as a broken warrior’s final battle then it did a superhero film. While this is good in its own right I just can’t help but think that they could have combines the superhero elements with the final battle elements.
All around, this is a very good film and great ending to Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. But it is a flawed film. Had it not been for the drag and relatively poor writing of the second act, (Seriously Nolan brothers? I know you could have done better than that!), and the fact that Batman didn’t get enough screen time, this one could have easily been a rival to its predecessor and ultimately keep it from being a masterpiece and in my “Dark Knight” category. What the film does have are some spectacular special effects, a great character study of Bruce Wayne, incredible action scenes, a few mind blowing twists, a solid villain, a great first and third act, an incredible and well used score by Hans Zimmer, and one of the most satisfying endings that I have seen to any series. While it doesn’t rank up there with great part 3 films like Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King or Toy Story 3 it is certainly not nearly as bad as films like X-Men 3 or Spider-Man 3. It’s an all-around satisfying conclusion to the series and I highly encourage you to go see it if you liked the first two.
Comic Book Movie Rating