As you all know, The Dark Knight my second favorite film ever. Batman Begins is in the Top 15, which is still phenomenal! So where is The Dark Knight Rises? I place it in the middle of the two, however much closer to The Dark Knight.
If you guys haven’t seen Batman Begins or The Dark Knight– really? But if for some reason you haven’t seen them, check out my reviews for each one, linked on its name, see those movies, then come back here, as this review will have spoilers from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises. Anyhow, let’s start this review!
The premise of The Dark Knight Rises is that Batman was incriminated at the end of The Dark Knight and he’s now been gone for about eight years. In that time, Bruce Wayne has also been ‘away’ recovering from the death of Rachel Dawes. ‘Away’ is in those little quotes because he isn’t actually away, he’s just become a hermit. He doesn’t leave his house, he doesn’t do anything, he’s in a rut. But trouble has arrived in Gotham City in the form of Bane, an over-muscular menacing villain that is a mix of Darth Vader and Sean Connery. Now Bruce Wayne must return/rise as Batman to take him down. That’s the official premise of what The Dark Knight Rises is about, but it really has so many subplots and layers to it that make it a real film, not just a Batman movie (kind of like the past two installments in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy…). I’ll talk about the themes of the film a bit later on, but first let’s talk about the new actors who show up in the final installment of this trilogy.
Tom Hardy is of course the main new actor who highlights as Bane. This must have been a very challenging character to find an actor for, as more than half the character’s face is covered with a huge mask. However, any emotions Hardy can’t express with the majority of his face, he conveys them in his eyes and forehead veins. I know there are a lot of complaints about Bane’s voice, but it really isn’t that bad. At the very worst, you at least get the summary of what he’s saying. Then the next new character was Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, a woman in high places at Wayne Enterprises. She was functional in her role, I mean she was as stand-out as other performances in the trilogy but she worked I guess. But on the other-hand, a real stand-out in this film was Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Her performance in Dark Knight Rises was so powerful and captivating, it made me wish she was a part of the whole trilogy. I like the chemistry Catwoman had with Batman and Selina Kyle had with other characters in general. She was mesmerizing to say the least.
So going into the plot, this movie is very heavy when it comes to plot. The scripts for these movies are never underdone, and The Dark Knight Rises may be the best written of the trilogy. Err, let me redefine that. It’s the best written in terms of Batman. I’ve been saying in all these reviews that the Dark Knight Trilogy serve as fantastic films, not just Batman films. In terms of films, this may be the weakest in terms of writing, which may just mean it’s 98% there, however in terms of Batman writing and the story Batman Begins set up of a man on a journey, Dark Knight Rises is the best of the trilogy.
But now let’s talk about the trilogy in general and the themes it presents. Christopher Nolan has said that each one of his Dark Knight films represents a single element. Batman Begins: fear, Dark Knight: chaos, Dark Knight Rises: pain. I agree with the first one most, but I think there are more themes for the other two. I would add ‘justice’ onto The Dark Knight, if only for the ironic sense. And Dark Knight Rises I would add (as cheesy as it sounds) hope.
Because that’s what The Dark Knight Rises is ultimately about. I was going to wait a while to share this, but in my eyes there are three kinds of superhero movies: there are movies that are good comic-book, cartoonish fun like Iron Man 3 or The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Then there are movies that are just great films in general, like The Dark Knight, Captain America: The Winter Solider, X-Men: First Class etc. But then there are movies that do fall into that second category, but are more of a subdivision, and those are movies like X-Men: Days of Future Past, or The Dark Knight Rises, which are ultimately real stories about hope, and learning to hope again. As I said, it sounds cheesy, but that is my outlook on superhero movies. The Dark Knight Rises has that tone and overall shows that Christopher Nolan was telling a human story this whole time.
It’s for that reason alone I believe that The Dark Knight Rises, or either of the other movies in The Dark Knight Trilogy are much better than any of Disney Marvel’s movies and most other movies in general.
When you get me that emotionally invested in characters with social implications, a compelling story, great action and a fantastic conclusion to an already perfect story, then there is no way you aren’t going to be one of my favorite movies of all time. No less: Number 6.
So guys, those are my thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises. What are your thoughts, and which is your favorite Christopher Nolan Batman movie? As you know, mine is The Dark Knight just by a little bit (it’s probably The Joker), but whatever yours is, let me know down below! And as always, thanks for reading guys.