Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

The Dark Knight Rises

Let me begin my review by saying that I though this was a really good movie and I did enjoy it a lot. However, my review is going to sound negative. Why is this? Its quite simple: the expectations game. While this was a good movie, I was expecting a great movie, considering the quality of the other two films in the series. And in the shadow of Batman Begins and the excellent Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises falls short.

Why does it fall short? That’s somehting I’ve been trying to put my finger on, but I think what it comes down to is that a lot of the fun and spirit is lacking. All 3 of Nolan’s Batman films have been darker and edgier, but we seem to forget that despite that, there is a lot of enojyment to be had in watching it. Rises however is pretty dreary throughout. There are no major set pieces which really stand out, like the semi-truck chase in Dark Knight for example, or the Joker interrogation. It lacks in truly great scenes; its as simple as that.

The plot itself is actually quite uninspired as well. Bane’s group of terrorists take over Gotham completely and threaten it with nuclear bomb. Seriously? Does this villain have no imagination? I expect Jack Bauer to be called into a situation like that, but not Batman. It seems like a pretty pedestrian plot device. Not to mention that as Bane takes over Gotham, we really start to move more into the comicy realm and away from the realism that Nolan has built for us in this world.

Another big problem is that Batman isn’t really in it much. Bruce Wayne is in it quite a bit, which is fine since Bale’s portrayal of him is fascniating. But Batman himself here seem a little less cool than the previous films, the way he goes in and out of the shadows and is very stealthy, and a little more like the older films where he jsut shows up in his suit and starts fighting.

Okay, with all that out of the way, this is still a good film. when you strip expectations away from it. The acting is solid on all accounts, especially Christian Bale and Michael Caine who probably put in their best performances of the trilogy. I also like Anne Hathaway as Catwoman who gave just the right amount of ferocity.

The main villain Bane does not have the same flair as The Joker. However, he is a very menacing villain. He really made me feel like Batman had no chance against him, and that’s quite a feat to pull off. And while I stick to my comment about no truly great scenes, their first fight was pretty close, on an emotional level at least.

And wile the Gotham events of the story were uninspired, the actual story of Bruce himself is what anchors this movie. While Bruce Wayne struggles with what he wants from life, we get some great moments like the prison wall climb and a great line to Commissioner Gordon at the end. And the ending of the movie wraps his storyline up very well (even if it does echo Good Will Hunting a bit).

A good movie ultimately, but also an undeniable disappointment.

3 Responses to “The Dark Knight Rises”

  1. I see what you’re saying. I watched all 3 back to back and I remember leaving TDKR and remembering there were no little scenes that reminded me of some of the transition scenes in the comics (remember in Batman Begins when Batman is climbing up the building and the little kid sees him and says “it’s you, isn’t it? the other kids don’t believe me.” and then Bats throws him his gadget. Or in TDK when the kids are in the car pretending to shoot and then the cars explode as Bats rides by on the Batpod.) Those little scenes said so much and reminded me of the comics and the animated series.

    There really wasn’t anything like that in TDKR and I was hoping for a little something like that.

    But…I still loved the film.

  2. LOL @ your Jack Bauer comment, Ian, I thought of him too when I saw the whole “Bomb” thing. If they had had Oracle in this flick, it would have been just like 24! 😀

    I was disappointed too, I can totally see what youre saying.

  3. Good but not great sums up this film pretty well. Of course anyone who did not lay themselves prostrate for this film was savaged by fanboys.

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