Four years ago, Christopher Nolan gave us a cinematic masterpiece called The Dark Knight that was much more than just a comic book movie… it was a brilliant piece of film making. Last week, he brought us the follow up… The Dark Knight Rises. Would it live up to the hype? Could it possibly be an appropriate sequel to such a critically acclaimed movie? I went this week to find out.
I can’t launch into any sort of discussion without talking about the Aurora, Colorado tragedy. There’s certainly plenty of coverage about it out there, but I just want to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. James Holmes… there’s a special place in hell for assholes like you. Enjoy your stay. Fuck you very much.
NOTE: I’m going to spoil the hell out of this movie. If you haven’t seen it I’d suggest you go away and come back after you’ve seen it. You’ve been warned.
I don’t see a whole lot of movies in the theaters these days, but I simply was not going to miss this one on the big screen. I headed out to a 10:40 PM show the second week this one was out and I’m thrilled to say that I did. Good God… this was an outstanding follow up to The Dark Knight.
THE BAD: I’ll start with the bad stuff… but there’s very little of it. In fact, calling it “bad” is probably an overstatement. It’s just not quite as good as the rest of the film.
Bane’s voice – I can’t be the only one that has this problem, but there were times where I just couldn’t make out what the hell he was saying. He’s got a very synthetic voice, almost robotic as it’s piped through his mask. I really had to strain at times to understand what he was saying, and there were a few times that I just completely missed it.
Bane’s death – It was quick. For such a bad ass character he went out with very little fan fare. Think Boba Fett. It was just pretty unsatisfying for me. Not to mention that Batman doesn’t even kill him. Yes, I know that Batman doesn’t kill, but for a dude that broke his back earlier and has destroyed the city that Bruce loves I think he should’ve made an exception.
Logic holes – This one happens a lot it comic / super hero movies so I can give it a pass. A couple of times, I was just kind of like “huh”. Example: after Bane breaks Batman’s back, we’re immediately whisked away to some other place, with very little explanation. Oh yeah… and Batman comes back from a broken back in what seems like a couple of months. I’m not a doctor, but that seems a bit quick to me. Another example of this was toward the end. We’re lead to believe that the Bat (The pod looking thing that Batman is flying throughout the film which is BAD ASS by the way) is engulfed by a nuclear explosion out over the bay killing Batman. Then 5 minutes later after the burial of Bruce Wayne we see Fox talking with some of his techs about how Bruce fixed the auto-pilot prior to his death. Aren’t they sitting in the Bat? Wouldn’t it have have been obliterated?
No Joker – Yes… I know that Heath Ledger died after he played Joker. But they don’t even make ONE reference to the character. They talk about Harvey Dent throughout the whole film, but not even a nod to Joker. That’s a big miss in my mind.
THE GOOD: Get ready… there’s lots of it. I made a list of my favorite comic book movies a few years back. I’m going to have to revisit that list, cause this bad boy is going to be on that list. I honestly didn’t think that Nolan would be able to come close to The Dark Knight with this follow up, but damn if he didn’t do it.
Batman’s Voice – In the previous two films of this trilogy, I had real problems with Bale’s voice when he was in the Batman costume. This time I really didn’t notice it which tells me he’s toned it down quite a bit.
Catwoman – I’ve heard quite a few people say that she doesn’t fit in this movie and that she was just sort of shoehorned in. I couldn’t disagree more. This is probably my favorite portrayal we’ve ever gotten of Selina Kyle / Catwoman. She’s a cat burglar. Plain and simple. Anne Hathaway gives an outstanding performance and looks HOT doing it. This is better than the Michelle Pfeiffer version and it’s so much better than the Halle Berry version that Halle should take that off her resume (if she hasn’t already).
Bane – don’t take the fact that I listed 2 negatives about this character as proof that I didn’t like the character. He was AWESOME. I was very leery when I heard that he was going to be the bad guy this time around, especially with the complete crap version we got of him in Batman & Robin. THIS is Bane. If you’re not familiar with the character get ready… he’s truly a worth advisory of Batman. Bane spends the entire movie telling people exactly what he’s going to do, and then does it. It’s awesome.
The story – When it comes to Nolan’s version of Batman, you know you’re going to get an over the top plot and this is no exception. He literally destroys the city and while that seems silly it plays very well and believe it or not… realistic. You really get the sense that this COULD happen. This is terrorism at its most realistic. Scary scary stuff. This is definitely not a “feel good” movie. It’s a very gritty version of Gotham just as Dark Knight was. And while the plot isn’t quite as tight as the previous installment, it definitely doesn’t drag. My movie started at 10:40 PM and I even though it probably didn’t start until well after 11:00 with previews and such, I was SHOCKED when I was walking out and it was 1:30 in the morning. It certainly didn’t feel like that long of a movie.
The Trilogy – It’s pretty clear to me that Nolan set out to create a trilogy. We get the resurgence of Ra’s al Ghul here with his League of Shadows which Bane was a part of. It was incredible to see Liam Neeson come back even if for one scene. It stuff like this, where Nolan is tying his entire Bat-universe together, that really shows just how awesome of a story teller he is. George Lucas should take notes from Nolan… THIS is how you write a trilogy. You should be ashamed of your prequel trilogy.
The last 10 minutes – This was phenomenal. I said I was going to spoil this movie. If you haven’t seen it, and are still reading this review I’ll tell you to go away now cause you really do need to see this in the theater. I had goose bumps for the last 10 minutes of this flick. From the burial of Bruce Wayne, the discovery that Robin is in this universe, and the reveal that Bruce in fact survived… this was just awesome. I’m getting goose bumps again just typing it out. Maybe it’s just the geek in me, but I’m a self admitted “movie ending guy”. This was the best final few frames that I can ever remember.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I didn’t even mention all the twists and turns that this one takes. There are better plot summaries out there if you want that. Suffice to say that this one is a definite recommend. I’m going to try and see it again before it leaves theaters and while I don’t purchase many movies these days, this one will definitely be added to my collection. And while this one was created as a trilogy and Nolan has said this was his final dabbling in Batman, the fact that they’ve left it open for a sequel has me giddy.