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The Dark Knight Rises

A few weeks ago, I made two huge mistakes. One, I admitted to my circle of geek friends that though the trailers looked good, I wasn’t excited to see The Dark Knight Rises. Then, I compounded that error by saying that I thought Batman Begins was boring. Holy Shitstorm, Batman. You’d have thought I went over to their houses and took a piss in their fridges.

So let me be clear: I did not say that I didn’t want to see TDKR or that I wouldn’t see it, just that I wasn’t as enthused as I felt I should have been. I think I was still basking in the glow of making sweet, sweet love to The Avengers five times that I didn’t have eyes for anyone else. I still stand behind my other statement. Batman Begins was boring as hell. But that’s okay. It’s an origins film and those tend to be slow at the start with all that, you know, origins going on. While I loved The Dark Knight with an almost inappropriate passion, Batman Begins put me to sleep every time I watched it. Some elements of the trailers for TDKR reminded me of BB. I got the vibe that there’d be a lot of story (which is fine) since it was the finale.

But despite my fears, I found myself getting swept up in Dark Knight Fever with everyone else.

And I need not have worried.

The Dark Knight Rises begins seven years after The Joker (Heath Ledger) wreaked havoc on Gotham. The city has since enjoyed years of no organized crime thanks to the Harvey Dent Law, named after their hero whose virtuous reputation was preserved thanks to the lies of Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman). Living with the ghosts of his lies has obviously taken a toll on Gordon, who struggles with revealing the truth: Harvey Dent was a disfigured mad man in the end and he killed the crooked police officers, not the city’s pariah, Batman, who hasn’t been seen since the night Dent died. Also, MIA is billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), rumored to be holed up in a wing of his manor, sporting 8″ nails and pissing in mason jars while his company is slowly run into the ground. Though his self-induced exile isn’t that extreme, it’s pretty damn close. Our boy Wayne is looking rough and still in mourning over the death of Rachel, last played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

“I love you like a son, Master Wayne, but you will be cleaning out your own jars.”

Enter Bane (Tom Hardy, Inception), a masked, excommunicated member of The League of Shadows. You know if he’s too extreme for that band of crazies, he’s probably pretty fucking nuts. And he is. But he’s also organized. Maybe a little too organized if you look at the badass, but over-the-top, plane crash/jail break which opens the film, but I digress. Like the Cylons, Bane has a plan: Bring the ruckus to Gotham. His plan involves working with a shady businessman to get control of Wayne Industries, crash the stock market, get his hands on Bruce Wayne’s secret toys, and hold the city hostage with the threat of a nuclear bomb. And that’s just the first hour! 

Of course, this is more than enough to push Wayne out of retirement. Well, that plus the sexy cat burglar, Selena Kyle a.ka. Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) – though she’s never referred to as such in the film. A Bane associate tasked her with getting the goods on Wayne, and she soon finds herself in the middle of the impending war between Bane and Batman. Despite Alfred’s (Michael Caine) concerns that he will Batman himself into an early grave, Wayne suits up with his bad knees, back, and yes, even brain, to take on Bane.

 

It’s difficult to say more without giving away major spoilers. (Hint: Pay attention to the scars.) The story is weaved together nicely and every connection is significant: Lucius Fox’s (Morgan Freeman) foresight in keeping his weapon developments secret, Miranda Tate’s (Marion Cottilard, Inception) sudden rescue of Wayne Industries, and the return of several familiar faces from BB and TDK.

Though I side-eyed the casting of Hathaway, her Catwoman was pretty badass. She was more Scarlett Johanssen in The Avengers than any previous Catwoman. In fact, she made Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal look like a declawed mewling kitten by comparison. Another nice addition was Joseph Gordan-Levitt (Inception) as police officer Blake, a former orphan who idolizes both Gordon and Batman, and never believes for a second that Batman was guilty of murdering Dent or the other police officers, and still believes that he is the key to saving Gotham from Bane and itself.

 

My issues are few and quite small: Why would people worry about the release of Gotham’s criminals prosecuted under the Dent Law once it’s revealed that Dent was a bit loco, especially considering the source of the revelation and when it comes out? Also, they show you the ending at the beginning, though thanks to a later revealed plot twist, the co-star in the ending isn’t who you might think it would be halfway through the movie. Finally, I get that the mask on Bane’s face added to this creepiness, but I felt a disconnect with him and the voice. We all know that it wasn’t really James Earl Jones in the Darth Vader suit, but it worked. Here, I was very much aware that the actor playing Bane was Tom Hardy, but the voice didn’t match – it sounded like Sean Connery. Also, there weren’t enough closeups of him for my taste so that we could get an impression of his acting with the few features of his face that were visible. Because of this, I was left feeling like the villain was as dangerous as the final boss in a video game: all heavy footsteps and predictable power moves.

 

Again, those are just tiny issues with a movie that was, overall, pretty fucking fantastic. I know there will be comparisons to The Avengers and people will want to say which is better. Honestly, it all boils down to – as does everything – subjective tastes. Personally, I dig the ‘popcorn movies’ that are not too heavy on plot, lots of flash and color, and shit blowing up. The Avengers delivered that and managed to have a pretty decent plot and snappy dialogue. I bow before thee, Joss Whedon. Stylistically, they’re different movies, yet both awesome. I refuse to put one above the other. A cop out? Perhaps. But it’s my site and I do what I want!

About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on Amazon.com for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

14 Comments on The Dark Knight Rises

  1. excellent review! I cannot wait to see it and you didn’t give too much away in regards to plot (greatly appreciated). And I would also have to agree with you on Batman Begins…..while a good movie it was no Dark Knight (which in my book borders on greatness).

  2. I’m in that circle, and you totally pissed in my refrigerator. Hahaha!

    Great review! I really felt like the plane crash/jailbreak was the perfect way to start the movie, similarly to how the bank robbery was the perfect way to start The Dark Knight.

    • You guys were calling for my head!

      I didn’t mind it too much. And after the movie I said the same thing to Donny, that it reminded me of the start to TDK and how he was right there all along. But it was a very complicated – albeit badass – way to get what he needed. I dug it. Also, it set up right away that his followers weren’t hired thugs like The Joker had. These were loyal followers willing to die for him without question.

      • I really enjoyed watching his criminals more than Bane himself, specifically for the reason that they were ready and willing to die for the cause. Also loved Burn Gorman (Owen Harper – “Torchwood”) in his pretty decent screen time.

  3. Absolutely. I’m going to have a review posted on Monday, but that’s basically how I felt, too; that this guy is not the chaotic killer that The Joker was. He’s just as brazen as The Joker, but he has the restraint of Batman.

  4. I will see the movie, but no Batman movie has impressed my since the (best ever) Batman(1989) movie. I probably will not see it in theatre though.. just not that into it. **when I say that in public I get death stares!**

  5. In my opinion, it’s the best of the trilogy. Although it lacked a villain of the same mould as The Joker, the plot’s many twists and turns left me in awe. I enjoyed watching how it all came together in the end.

    • I can’t separate The Dark Knight from The Dark Knight Rises, so I can’t say either is the best of the trilogy, but I definitely feel like the final film lived up to the legacy of the first two, especially the second one.

      • What do you mean you can’t separate them?

        Kinda off topic: Yesterday I watched The Dark Knight, Thor, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Wonder what I’ll fire up today.

        • I mean that they both feel like perfect halves to a single story, As much as I like Batman Begins–and you know I do–it is the lesser of the three. While I feel like The Dark Knight Rises was actually able to tie in with both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (even elevating the quality of Batman Begins), it does marry more completely with The Dark Knight and continue that plot line of “maybe the ends don’t actually justify the means”.

          You should watch Captain America, today, just because.

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