Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Luke of Oracle Of Film. He’s already reviewed Batman Begins (review HERE) & The Dark Knight (review HERE). Thanks again for doing all these, Luke! 🙂 Now let’s hear his thoughts on the final film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, IMDB rank 38 out of 250…
There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: THE REVIEW
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman
Plot: Batman is long gone, the Harvey Dent Act putting rest to all organised crime. However, when a dangerous mercenary hell-bent on vengeance arrives in Gotham, it seems like the perfect time for the Batman to rise once again.
The Dark Knight Rises has taken a bit of a beating recently. I admit that there are so glaring plot holes in the story that not even rasping ‘Because Batman’ can truly fix. Fans, after being euphorically lifted by the magnificence of the Dark Knight, were left underwhelmed at the finale in the Dark Knight trilogy. These reactions all surprised me, because, in my books, The Dark Knight Rises is the best Batman movie to date.
Look past the plot and you realise that Nolan’s aim is creating a more thematic conclusion to the trilogy. This is about every Batman fan’s number one question: when does it end? Does Batman simply hang up the cape one day or does he die in the line of battle? Nolan opens his story with a Gotham no longer in need of a Batman. Dent’s death inspired the Mayor to create a tougher police force, wiping organised crime from the city. The Batman faded away, believed to be a murderer. However, just when the city had gotten lazy, anarchist Bane arrives in the town and uses the luxury of the rich to turn Gotham in on itself. Batman, fuelled by past glories, returns and is quickly subdued. Gotham surrenders to the rule of Bane and Batman is a thing of the past. Christopher Nolan keeps the tone measured perfectly, always hitting the correct notes, whenever he needs an emotion card to be played. When he wants us to feel despair, we have our hearts in our mouths. When he wants us to feel sadness, we feel our throat choking up. And when he wants us to soak in happiness and the awesomeness of seeing the Dark Knight back in action, we are in the palm of his hand, letting the guy who remastered the mythology of the Batman, show us how good cinema can actually be.
The biggest complaint that I heard of the Dark Knight Rises is a very slow middle act. Batman disappears from the plot totally and we get the story of freedom fighters, struggling to take the city away from the all-knowing Bane. Sure, it does feel a little jarring, when we are given break-neck action, only for Nolan to hit the brakes and leave us out in the cold. But, it is all for a good reason. For one, it makes us feel the absence of the Batman. The tone is kept grim and despairing as we realise that, in ending the trilogy, anything could happen. It also means that when the Batman returns, it is one of the most uplifting movie moments of 2012. The second reason for letting Nolan slow the action right down is that the supporting cast are given precious moments to look cool. Gary Oldman, always threatening to steal the show from everyone else, gets a much larger slice of the action. Newcomer Joseph-Gordon Levitt shows himself as one of the newer action heroes on the block. Looking at the trilogy on a whole, this is a refreshing change of pace and lets every card get played, rather than letting certain sides of the story get lost for a more mainstream style of blockbuster.
Another great addition is the villains. Bane has always had a rough deal in the Batman universe, going from the most cold-hearted mercenary in comic history and being resorted to a slapstick thug in ‘Batman and Robin’. Even the games, which have a habit of showing most villains in a positive light, turn Bane into a junkie. Here, on-the-nose casting lets Tom Hardy bring Bane back to one of the most intimidating figures in the trilogy. We have had some great nemesis figures for Batman to face off against, but none have come as close to victory as Bane. The Joker may have broken Batman’s spirit, but it was Bane that actually broke his body. Also, Nolan takes my least favourite villain, the Catwoman, and makes her relevant to the story. She actually makes sense and, while she still sticks out like a sore thumb at certain beats, her addition eventually becomes a key part of the conclusion. There is one more bad guy here, but the less said about that the better. The thrill is in the mystery.
I could rave about how the massive moments really send the Dark Knight Rises into the history books. The final fight on the streets of Gotham, the first fight between Batman and Bane, the heart-breaking explosion over the waters of Gotham… But it is the smaller beats that really make the film. My favourite moment is when Alfred confesses his secrets to Bruce Wayne. It is the quiet disappointment of Christian Bale that gets to me. He is too far gone to break down, but we can see the exhaustion in his eyes, the losses he has faced destroying his soul. This is a man on the way to his deathbed. Easily forgotten, but another testament to how impressive Christopher Nolan’s depiction of the Batman really is.
Final Verdict: Yes, I’m giving every Dark Knight movie five stars. Why? It is the greatest movie trilogy of all time and that’s not an easy competition to win.
nicely done Luke.
Loved all 3 of these films!
Reblogged this on Stuff I Like to Blog About.
*Gulp! Today is Judgement Day from Zoe. Do I live or die?
Lol. You were pretty complimentary – I think you’ll live. ; )
The Best Batman Movie To Date?! Luke… I really do so love you and all and I am glad you loved this one like you did but I am going to have to say that despite all that Nolan wished to do with this it was my least favourite of the trilogy.
However that is not to say that it was by any which means BAD or BORING or anything like that. On the contrary, there was so much that worked for it. Bane was thrilling (finally someone did him justice and took him away from the role of Ivy’s bitch, thank goodness), I LOVED seeing the Scarecrow in here, Alfred was fantastic and I am glad Gordon got more screen time, and I loved Bane’s story and Talia and all of that. Hathaway as Selina Kyle peeved me, she just didn’t work one little bit. But you are right about the little things, I do thoroughly enjoy your arguments here, definitely sound and valid.
The Dark Knight trilogy IS one of the best trilogies of all time. Nolan really did something phenomenal with this!
FINAL VERDICT: Despite not seeing completely eye to eye in the rankings of these films, the passion you have for it is something I can deeply identify with. LIVE.
I choose Exile. Wait……
… are you sure?
Lol! You crack me up, Zoe! ; )
I’d probably rank them:
The Dark Knight (best by far)
The Dark Knight Rises
(But they’re close)
Do I live???
The Dark Knight
thousands of other movies
The Dark Knight Rises
Lol. Yay! Brian is awake and disagreeing with me again. That’s made my day. : )
I’m lucky I’m so handsome.
Always pleased to provide some entertainment where I can!
Well, I will have to give it to you for The Dark Knight being right up there!
I shall say… LIVE.
“When he wants us to feel despair, we have our hearts in our mouths. When he wants us to feel sadness, we feel our throat choking up.”
I get these feelings every time that little comment icon at the top right of my window turns orange and I see that Luke Abbott has left me a comment.
Well, I am the master of despair and sadness.
That just made me cry and want to hang myself.
High praise! This is indeed a top film, although I’m in the camp of The Dark Knight being the better movie.
I see this movie many times, awesome movie and thanks to this blog for sharing all this….
Excellent review Luke! I frikkikn’ loved all these movies and have an impossible time trying to sort them all out. It breaks down like this for me: TDK, TDK, BB. It’s all good, all of them are just so consistently compelling, dark, ominous and acted to perfection. A very rare caliber trilogy indeed!
Luke, ya weirdo! Liking this better than Dark Knight…Still, I do like DKR. My biggest problem was that I found it pretty unbelievable that a handful of dudes could shut down the entire city of Gotham. But I do think it’s a great end to a phenomenal trilogy. Nice write-up! And I’m glad Zoe didn’t kill you…
The Dark Knight Rises is a 5 star movie in my book too. I think it finishes off the trilogy perfectly, it has the spectacle and action of the second and does a great job of introducing a villain different enough from Ledger’s iconic Joker. Great review.
Thanks for the comment – not sure if Luke will see it but, yeah – I thought this movie was fine! Not sure why people were so harsh on it. I definitely preferred The Dark Knight but thoroughly enjoyed this one too. : )