The Dark Knight Rises – Movie Review
The Dark Knight Rises is a gripping, emotional climax to the best superhero trilogy yet.
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The Dark Knight Rises is Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated sequel to 2008’s legendary film The Dark Knight. However, watching the film, you’d be forgiven for thinking the film is a direct sequel to the first film in this excellent trilogy, Batman Begins. Nolan masterfully ties up the series by going back to its roots, calling back events from way back in 2005’s Begins. Out of respect to Heath Ledger, The Joker is not mentioned at all in this film. In fact, the only real tangible evidence that the events of The Dark Knight actually occurred is that Harvey Dent is dead, and Batman is a wanted man, having taken the fall for Dent’s crimes.
When we first catch a glimpse of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) in The Dark Knight Rises, he’s a shadow of his former self. He can hardly walk, if not for the use of a cane, due to his myriad injuries in his dual life as The Batman. 8 years have passed since The Joker tried to burn down Gotham, and Bruce hasn’t donned the cape and cowl since that time. He’s living as a recluse, not being able to live with himself after failing to prevent the death of Rachel Dawes. It’s been 8 years of relative peace for Gotham, but things will take a dire turn soon enough- a situation bad enough to bring The Batman out of his self-imposed retirement.
Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway)- or Catwoman- introduces herself to Wayne in a great scene in which she steals Wayne’s mother’s pearls- the first of many references to Batman Begins. In fact, it’s really a good idea to re-watch Batman Begins before seeing The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not long after that Bane (Tom Hardy) reveals himself in Gotham- looking to finish the League Of Shadows’ job from the first movie- the destruction of Gotham. Batman’s still got Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and now Detective John Blake (Joseph-Gordon-Levitt) on his side, but he’s past his prime, with a beaten down body and his hardest fight yet on the horizon. However, Alfred (Michael Caine) is distraught to see that Bruce is not living his life, and instead has become more of an outcast than ever. He jumps back into the role of Batman with a near-suicidal intent, and Alfred knows it’s not what Bruce’s parents would have wanted for him. But can the city survive without The Batman?
Christian Bale’s performance as The Dark Knight in this film is easily his best work yet. This is a broken man, who has given everything to protect a city that now hates him. He’s lost the woman he loves. And now it appears to all be for naught, as Bane looks to bring Gotham to its knees with a nuclear threat. Hathaway does a great job as Catwoman, Gordon-Levitt is well-cast as Blake, and the whole ensemble cast is really just a dream team. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Alfred are essentially Bruce’s only friends, and Alfred especially has a lot of emotional scenes in the film.
Despite being nearly 3 hours long, The Dark Knight Rises never really drags. There’s so much going on, and so much at stake, and yet the film is never hard to follow. I felt the same way about Nolan’s 2010 film Inception. Nolan and writer David S. Goyer have stated that they knew the ending to this trilogy when they first started it out, and it’s obvious that they were telling the truth when you see how neatly this film ties up the trilogy and calls back to the first film.
The question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is, what is the fate of The Batman at the end of this The Dark Knight Rises? As with Inception, the ending is left open to interpretation, and I’ll leave it at that . This is such a great film, that it’s best to see it spoiler-free. I had a few minor gripes about the film, none of which I can state here without giving away some major plot points, but in the grand scheme of things, I really can’t picture a more fitting end to this fantastic trilogy.