Friday, December 21, 2012

Movie Review Friday - The Dark Knight Rises

Ed's Note:  Sorry for the title mess up - I've dont that twice RISES, not Returns.  The lesson, as always, is that I'm a dumbass.

Fair warning - I saw it last night for the first time.  And much like its predecessor, The Dark Knight, this movie clearly needs several watchings in order to formulate something that makes sense.

Second fair warning - MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW - if you have not seen the movies, and you want to, I'd stop reading right now.

Now then:

Upon watch number one, The Dark Knight Rises (DKR) is not as good as The Dark Knight (DK).  And really, for one simple reason - Heath Ledger's Joker brings such a disturbing edge to the film, that it simply cannot be matched by DKR's banal Bane.  Yes, the stakes are higher in this last film of the trilogy, it's not simply Gotham's soul at stake, but its physical existence.  Even so, the movie lacked the emotional tilt of the DK without the freakish lunacy of the Joker.

Christopher Nolan, as it has been mentioned many times, has completely re-defined the superhero genre with the batman trilogy.  These are action movies almost as an afterthought.  These movies make you think.

Nolan raises the bar in this one.  Whereas the Joker was interested in Gotham's soul, Bane is interested in wreaking revenge on Gotham, and The Batman, in a completely destructive way.  He bombs the city, blows all the bridges and has a mobile nuclear bomb ready to detonate in a minute.  Oh and by the way, he's got Bruce Wayne several thousand miles away in an inescabpeable prison with a broken back.

But wait, it's not actually Bane at all who is controlling everything,  It's really Marion Cottilard, the daughter of Batman's enemy from the first movie, out for some serious revenge. 

But I digress.  While I was bored with Bane, the cast does a nice job here.  Michael Caine's Alfred is always great.  Gary Oldman's portrayal of Sirius Bl...I mean Commissioner Gordon always solid.  I like their take on the "Robin" character with Joseph Gordon Levitt.  And I loved Anne Hathaway's performance as Selina AKA "Catwoman".  Morgan Freeman kinda sleepwalks through this one as Lucious Fox but hey, he's Morgan Freeman. 

This movie is also about class divide.  Like i said, Nolan's movies are really more about making you think than anything else.  In the Dark Knight, he was making a point about people's propensity to do evil when given the opportunity.  While this movie expands upon this, he seems to be making more of a social message about our society.  Mainly that rich people take advantage of the poor, but that people who supposedly want to help poor people are actually taking a different kind of advantage as well.  It's a very mixed up moral message here (pardon the M's).  Are all our leaders bad?  Does anyone care about anyone else?

I remeber reading Roger Ebert's review in which he states that the movie spends a long time debating whether or not Batman is even a necessary evil or over-kill.  I disagree.  In Nolan's specific world - with horrors of such indescribable levels, its is completely necessary to have antiheroes like The Batman. 

Was it a good movie?  A bad movie?  It's considered a masterpiece.  As I said, after watch #1, I didn't enjoy it as much as DK.  But I remember not liking teh DK at first either.  It took me a long time to appreciate Ledger's groundbreaking performance (best psycho since Hannibal Lechter).  But this movie makes you think about a lot of different things - and the last half an hour is a suspense filled ride where batman finally gets his groove on.  Also a happy ending is actually a nice feeling after all of the suffering Nolan puts us through for three films.

So there you have it.  I give  it a thumbs up and recommend it.


  1. Nice to see you posting again, but you may want to change the title, as there is an actual (PG-13 animated) movie called "The Dark Knight Returns" (based on the Frank Millar comic of the same name, where Nolan actually got some inspiration from).

  2. One message that a lot of liberal people disliked is that it made the Occupy Wall Street people look not-so-great, shall e say. And at the end of the day, Gotham need to be saved by a rich guy. See? Rich people know what's best for you :)

  3. Lol - The message I immediately got in my gut was Nolan is saying Democrates and Republicans BOTH stink. BTW, what time is the world supposed to end?

    1. It was supposed to end a few hours ago, but The Doctor saved us.

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  5. The reason I liked DKR the best out of all three, is because it so nicely tied together the entire trilogy.

    With the return of Ra's al Ghul's family, and the League of Shadows, it brings the trilogy full circle.

  6. I like Bane less for the character and more for the actor's incredible ability to express such incredible range of emotion through his eyes.

    And am I the only one who loves everything about this Batman--the depth, especially--except his freakishly marble-mouthed mouth-breathing version of the Batman voice? Bleagh.