“You’ll hunt me. You’ll condemn me. Set the dogs on me. Because that’s what needs to happen. Because sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded,” Batman proclaims ominously at the end of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” — the critically-acclaimed second installment in the trilogy based on the famous DC comic. Nearly a decade has lapsed in the cinematic universe, yet in the threequel, The Dark Knight Rises, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is still haunted by the backlash of his alter-ego’s vigilantism. But though time can heal the deepest wounds, it’s still too soon for the citizens of Gotham City to welcome back a man they’d branded an enemy — an unfortunate circumstance when a terrorist leader sets his sights on the unguarded metropolis.
Meet Bane (Tom Hardy): A bruiser of a man, whose brawn is evenly matched with his wit. Determined to usher in an age of anarchy, he takes aim at the stock exchange, a crowded sports stadium, and a prison holding some of the city’s most heinous criminals. Despite half his face being obstructed by a muzzle-like contraption, Hardy manages to express a wide range of emotions for Bane, namely through his eyes — a harbor for pain and rage. The “Bronson” star reportedly based his character’s accent on the “King of the Gypsies,” a once undefeated bare-knuckle boxing champion of the United Kingdom and Ireland; conceptually, this comparison works wonders for Bane’s fighting style, but the actor’s execution is silly and the effects on his voice make him even harder to understand. Nevertheless, a beefed up storyline makes him a menacing villain and gives the movie a sense of urgency that was lacking in its predecessor.
Nolan co-wrote the screenplay for The Dark Knight Rises with his brother Jonathan and, despite their constant work together, it still has its fair share of problems. A common issue is that the characters will stop what they’re doing to spew a cheesy monologue about humanity and morals — something that should’ve been implied. Their compulsive need to be “deep” cheapens the complex characters by forcing them to come to simple conclusions on some very complicated issues. Drawing inspiration from everything from the French Revolution, post-911 New York City, and the recent economic crash, the duo tries too hard to make The Dark Knight Rises a social commentary, rather than a personal exploration into Wayne. Unfortunately, they just don’t have anything interesting to say on the subjects.
When it does come to developing our protagonist, not much is done to ensure Bruce has a lasting impact. His romantic relationships to both Miranda (Marion Cotillard), a businesswoman interested in investing in his faltering enterprise, and Selina (Anne Hathaway), an experienced thief, are rushed and don’t make much sense. The development that does happen stems from Wayne’s interactions with Alfred (Michael Caine), his trusted butler and confident, the world-weary Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), and Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a rookie cop who still has hope for the city. There’s no denying that Hathaway and Cotillard are incredibly sexy and likable, but the latter encounters are far more satisfying. Still, as a whole, Christian Bale remains an extremely charismatic lead.
Honestly, however, these are issues that present themselves in retrospect. With dizzying production values, the filmmakers ensure there’s a decent amount of intricate explosions, sets featuring hundreds of costumed extras, and entertaining brawls to keep audiences entertained. And while the bombastic tone does somewhat contradict Nolan’s original vision to establish an über-realistic atmosphere, it doesn’t replace the storytelling aspect, which, although inconsistent, still has enough twists-and-turns to keep most guessing. All in all, although finales tend to suck, The Dark Knight Rises certainly does rise to the occasion, even if it stumbles along the way.
July 21, 2012 @ 2:08 am bullrem
Prayers and thoughts to those injured in CO.
July 22, 2012 @ 3:42 pm laurie
July 21, 2012 @ 2:43 am Aldreson
I felt Batman Begins took to long to get going so TDKR takes the honor as best standalone movie of the trilogy. That being said, it’s hard to judge when so much time has passed bewteen the installments – they must be seen in a marathon to really gage effectiveness.
July 21, 2012 @ 3:18 am Christiana
Seems silly to discuss a movie after the shootings in Aurora now. I’ll just say, it was a good movie, not the best of the series though. Good review by the way.
July 21, 2012 @ 3:25 am Simple Simon
Nolan had a lot of pressure on him to conclude this trilogy on a strong note. I believe he did that. My fear is whoever takes over the reigns makes a mockery of what Nolan did with a shitty Robin spin-off…
July 21, 2012 @ 3:47 am bcardoo79
Incredible movie especially if you don’t compare it the two preceding chapters.
July 21, 2012 @ 4:34 am SuluDuck
I don’t know about anyone else but I nearly cried when they showed the headstone and Alfred starts to talk about how he failed Bruce. That was the icing on the cake of an already brilliant move.
July 22, 2012 @ 2:33 pm NightCrawler
Alfred was very weepy in this, maybe a bit too much. However, that scene was very moving..
July 21, 2012 @ 6:32 am Maxilla
Nolan could have made this trilogy just another superhero action flick. Kudos to him for breaking form and putting together a character study that holds it own against most serous flicks. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how its supposed to be done.
July 21, 2012 @ 7:01 am Mike Capp
I actually liked how it wasn’t so easy to understand Bane’s words. It forced me to listen more intently to what he was saying.
July 21, 2012 @ 8:22 am The Clynn
Surprisingly I thought Bane was a damn good villain. I didn’t know much about him prior to this movie but they did such a good job developing his backstory that I actaully felt sympathy for this guy!
July 23, 2012 @ 10:14 pm Horse Hair
He was an awesome villain.
July 29, 2012 @ 9:14 pm DJ Miller
He was a damn good villain. All the time in the pit developing his origins could have been condensed or gone about another way though.
July 21, 2012 @ 8:51 am Jeff Barkett
There are a few pacing issues but overall Dark Knight Rises is a great movie. Christopher Nolan will get recognized this year at the Oscars.
July 21, 2012 @ 11:13 am Mash
My anticipation of this movie has fallen precipitously.
July 21, 2012 @ 12:30 pm Shopping Queen
Gotta agree the movie stumbles more than it should but the missteps don’t take away from the overall experience. If you’re a fan, it is unquestionable a must see.
July 21, 2012 @ 12:50 pm Barry
Middle of the road rating, Mariusz? DKR deserves better than that.
July 21, 2012 @ 1:13 pm Poppa
I understand Christopher Nolan’s desire for realism, but for me there were a few too many political and socio-economic overtones to The Dark Knight Rises. It’s supposed to be a fantasy world not a commentary on how fucked up the real world has become..
July 21, 2012 @ 1:28 pm Angel
Avengers of Dark Knight Rises — which is the better of the two?
July 22, 2012 @ 6:19 pm Mariusz Zubrowski
“The Avengers” is more instant popcorn fun; “The Dark Knight Rises” can be more satisfying in the long run.
July 21, 2012 @ 1:35 pm SZiegler
It doesn’t rise to the level of BB or even DK but it is a solid movie. Everyone did a commendable job even though.
July 21, 2012 @ 1:37 pm bluenude3
Saw this today. It doesn’t live up to the hype and I’m glad it it is the final chapter.
July 21, 2012 @ 1:58 pm CaffeineKitten
For anyone expecting a summer popcorn flick you’re going to be disappointed. This is a dark, dirty ugly movie that hits hard and doesn’t stop hitting. It ain’t pretty.
July 21, 2012 @ 2:10 pm Forrest Folk
Just like all of Nolan’s flicks TDKR takes a long time to get up and get going. This isn’t necessarily a bad hting but when the movie is almost 3 hours long it is. By the time this ended I was exhausted…
July 21, 2012 @ 2:18 pm Adam
Good ending to Nolan’s vision, he’s a great filmmaker. The setup for Nightwing, for the next director, is something to look forward to.
July 22, 2012 @ 1:05 pm Roy
I’ll agree with that notion.
July 25, 2012 @ 7:20 am 1985 Jerome
Not Nightwing or Robin. I say Blake fills in and simply becomes the new “Batman”.
July 21, 2012 @ 3:00 pm Bubbles
Anne Hathaway was a good Selina Kyle/Catwoman but she can’t hold a candle to Michelle Pfeiffer. Tom Hardy makes for a good villain but he’s no Heath Ledger. The Dark Knight Rise is a good movie but it doesn’t quite meet the mark.
July 28, 2012 @ 3:24 am Daniel Bey
your crazy. hathaway is infintely better than pfeiffer.
July 21, 2012 @ 3:54 pm Phreddy
I can’t really knock the movie as a whole – it just didn’t resonate like a movie. Its so depressing and parallels our current climate so much that it felt like I had watched a weeks worth of bad news on CNN.
July 21, 2012 @ 4:16 pm Steelbarrow
I’m amazed at the level of accolades being levied on Chris Nolan. I mean wtf? Its a movie and not even a very good one at that. He didn’t reinvent the wheel folks-he just made a better Batman than Joel Schumacher did.
July 21, 2012 @ 6:04 pm DarkCherry
Best Batman movie ever!
July 21, 2012 @ 6:47 pm Armstrong
Most action flicks suffer from a cheesy monologue- they generally help to state what the hero/villain stands for or against and solidifies them as the hero or villain. I didn’t think TDKR suffers from to many of them- Chris and Jon wrote a strong script,especially one that was written for a superhero movie.
July 21, 2012 @ 7:34 pm Gar
If there was anything that I found distracting about the movie it would be what seems like a lack of training Batman and Bane had in hand-to-hand fighting. When they fought it looked like to two guys throwing haymakers..it should have been two highly skilled guys picking each other apart..,
July 24, 2012 @ 9:20 am Tornado
Your kidding right? Their fight was epic. Bane was badass…
July 21, 2012 @ 8:13 pm humdrum
I didn’t think it could be done but Bane was a better bad guy than Joker was.
July 21, 2012 @ 10:26 pm Jang
I don’t see how anyone could not be satisified with The Dark Knight Rises. Casting was perfect. Cinematography was great. Story was awesome.
July 21, 2012 @ 11:02 pm K-Mart Sucks
This is about as close to prefect a trilogy can get. I am saddened that it all has to come to a close.
July 22, 2012 @ 9:21 am Scotty
Christopher Nolan has set the bar for all to try and top with Dark Knight Rises. And with the current crop of popcorn, CGI explosion first flicks I don’t see anyone topping this work anytime soon.
July 22, 2012 @ 10:44 am Ken Burke
I’ve always liked Batman because he is the every man hero. Nolan captured that fully through his three movies. TDKR is especially good at capturing the troubled man/hero all the way to his eventual end.
July 23, 2012 @ 6:53 am Callous1
Ending was a miss for me.
July 25, 2012 @ 5:19 pm ohyeahsothere
July 27, 2012 @ 2:16 pm Callous1
He should have died.
July 23, 2012 @ 11:00 am Derrick
great fucking movie. i’d watch it 80 more times.
July 24, 2012 @ 12:19 pm Andres
Weakest of the three.Selina Kyle/Catwoman was a great addition.John Blake was unnecessary and broke the flow of the movie.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:37 pm Sexcess
The second of the trilogy was the best. I don’t think John Blake broke the flow of the movie howwever but he did get more screen time than he deserved.
July 24, 2012 @ 9:16 pm Patrick Kor
Miranda Tate twist was a nice touch.
July 26, 2012 @ 3:00 pm DanRoy
Batman, Avengers, Spiderman – I’m superheroed out. And to think they’re just going to reboot this all over again.
July 27, 2012 @ 6:22 pm Headliner
To stupid for me. Where was SEAL TEAM 6 to take out Bane? Allowing him to take over a city like New York was unbelievable..
August 6, 2012 @ 2:11 pm Mugsy
It is a fantasy movie – it is all unbelievable!
July 28, 2012 @ 3:22 pm bombastic
This was an atypical superhero trilogy. It broke every convention and is fantstic for that.
August 1, 2012 @ 11:22 pm OfficeJerk
Hyped up cat shit.
August 3, 2012 @ 7:04 pm Bastardo
Why does Bane wear that strange mask? He took a beating so Talia al Ghul could escape but his face wasn’t deformed, was it?
August 11, 2012 @ 9:20 pm Paul
Another trilogy worthy of addition to my BluRay collection.