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.