The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Cast- Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Matthew Modine.
I like The Dark Knight Rises a lot, but I consider it a step down compared to its predecessor. It lacks some of the philosophical aspects and fun of the previous film. It also may be more comic book like and less realistic than any of the others. In the end, it’s a very good film, but not without its flaws.
What I didn’t like about the film.
First and foremost, the editing was awful in my opinion. For a Nolan film, I considered it sloppy work. Scenes would skip vast periods of time (months even) without explaining. You are left wondering, how long did that last scene take? Was it a twelve-hour hostage situation? It felt like a half hour tops. There were a few obvious scenes, because of the weather I could tell it had been months, but otherwise it was kind of confusing. This movie spanned how long?
The other part is that there is so little Batman and so much Bruce Wayne. Wayne isn’t as fun to watch as Tony Stark. They are both extremely rich and intelligent A-holes, but at least Stark will make me laugh. Wayne is very depressed and mopey, for a very long time (Dark Knight Spoiler warning- stop reading and go watch it) since Rachel Dawes’s death. I know what it is like to lose someone you love passionately about in a horrific and tragic way. It stays with you forever, but you don’t shut down. I’m not saying that you can’t, because it can be traumatic and cause psychological issues, but if you are self-aware and seek help. You can rebuild your life and Bruce Wayne despite all his intelligence, ideology, vigor, and wealth could not do that for eight years?
Nobody puts two and two together that Batman and Bruce Wayne are nearly extinct at the same time?
Big Spoiler Warning
Among my biggest complaints in the movie was that the twist near the end wasn’t much of a twist. I had figured it out nearly half way through the film that Miranda was the real mastermind behind all this. So, she is rich, beautiful, deadly, and brainwashed by her father (Ra’s al Ghul) and therefore makes him and his ideals “immortal”. How did all these super-intelligent people go around for months and not figure out that whenever something bad happened, Miranda was around? I saw that easily and supposedly Bruce Wayne is much smarter, but nope not a clue. There are some other issues that are more knit-picking so I will leave them alone. (Still, I couldn‘t understand Bane half the time. It was annoying. Great voice, but incomprehensible at times.)
The final problem is the ending. How can it end like that? I don’t mean why, but seriously asking how. (Don‘t you dare say, “Because I‘m Batman.”) In the end, The Dark Knight Rises suffered from the “because I’m Batman” flaw. Things don’t need to be explained or make sense in a realistic setting, they just happen because he is Batman. (To be fair, there were issues like this in The Dark Knight (2008), but I found them more prevalent in this one.)
What I liked-
The movie doesn’t have much Batman in it for the first two-thirds of the movie, but when we do get action, it’s often pretty awesome. We get to see Batman come out and surprise the world (because he has been missing for eight years) as he pursues Bane on the highway.
Later on Catwoman leads Batman to meet Bane underground where they have an epic one on one showdown. The first fight between Batman and Bane is amazing and primal. There are no special effects, no music. Just two men fighting trying to subdue the other in hand to hand combat. It’s incredible. It perhaps is the best fight in history of film. (Yes, even better than the They Live (1988) Put on the sunglasses fight which is still pretty sweet.)
The second fight between Batman and Bane is also quite intense and adds the setting of an all out war for the city taking place around them. What it took to choreograph and film that fight was incredible. It was done near perfection. The feel of that fight was so intense as it had built through the second half of the movie. Imagine everything that has been brooding beneath the surface for months coming out at one moment.
What I liked most about this film is that it doesn’t forget it’s characters who aren’t Batman. We get added depth to characters we know in this franchise like Bruce Wayne, Alfred, and Lucius Fox. Then you added Robin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Catwoman (Hathaway) and you get so much more. These characters have intricate relationships with Batman/Bruce Wayne. Each of them has a philosophy, a code of conduct, and involve themselves in Batman/Wayne affairs at key points. The characters carried the storyline, not the action and that makes a great movie. Tom Hardy was solid as Bane, too. He may have been difficult to understand at times, but he nailed that character very well.
Finally the music is beautiful, and the cinematography breathtaking at times. Together, the film crew made Gotham a real city. (Though, I really wish the Joker had a cameo like Scarecrow did.) While it has a fair amount of flaws, the positives are far greater and therefore I strongly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys Superhero films.