The Dark Knight Rises – Review

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The Dark Knight Rises was probably one of the most anticipated sequels/series conclusions ever made, probably the most hyped up super hero movie (this or The Avengers). The pressure on film makers must be so immense to create; firstly a satisfying ending to a film series, secondly making sure that as many loose ends can be tied, and thirdly making sure it’s almost as good, if not better, than the previous films, as well as many many other objectives that I would not know about as I’m not a  film maker.

2008’s The Dark Knight some people regard as one of the greatest films made. As of writing this it currently sits at number 8 on IMDB’s top 250 with a score of 8.8/10 out of 755,437 votes. Heath Ledger’s performance of the Joker was incredible, whilst some people may prefer the Jack Nicholson portrayal you must have an incredible reason to say “he was bad.” The film itself was brilliant, one of my personal favourites. Christopher Nolan has shown with the first two Batman’s that he can make a film commercial whilst not falling for all the regular clichés of a superhero summer blockbuster. Neither of the three Batman films are as mind boggling as Memento, The Prestige or Inception (two other Nolan works; the former and the latter being original screenplays) but it may be Christopher’s brother (who co-wrote The Prestige) Jonathan’s input into The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises that delivers the perfect balance that Batman needs.

Without further ado lets talk Rises. I was away at the time of its release so avoided any mention of Batman as I wanted nothing to ruin the film. However on the 29th July 2012 I FINALLY managed to watch it (and again on the 5th of August and probably many more times before it’s released on bluray). Though there was always the nagging in the back of my mind that it wouldn’t live up to expectation I trusted the Nolan brothers as a great writers to produce a film that would at the very least be “pretty good”. As the adverts stopped and I saw the certificate with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES grace the screen however I lost the tranquil head I’d managed to keep throughout the past months of intense hype and my heart began to race.

Bane’s voice, okay yeah it’s very hard to understand. On my second watch I was thinking “I understand all of it?” but I asked my Dad (first time watching) and he said it was very hard but still mostly audible. I guess it’s just something you have to get used to. The voice is very strange as well for a villain (personally), some may call the accent English but I can definitely hear inspirations from other European accents in there, that may be just me though. I originally expected a gruff talking hard ass accent to match how Bane looked and acted, but after hearing his true voice I came to the realisation they went for a better choice than what would be expected. For one if it was distorted and gravely it would be too similar to Batman and there would be no contrast nor originality. Asides from the incredibly minor issue with his voice (which I soon got over) there are no other problems with his performance. He is huge, ripped and evil. Tom Hardy definitely managed to give a man with a mask a face full of emotion merely by the way he used his eyes and speech. Bane is fearsome throughout the entire film and at no point would anyone in the world (apart from Batman of course) be brave enough to stand up to him. People may say he wasn’t as good a villain as Ledger’s Joker. That doesn’t matter, he was still a fantastic villain and Hardy was perfectly cast for the role.

I have read some Batman comics, played some games and researched online and from what I can see the film reminds me a lot of The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and I can see elements of Arkham City in there too. Now I won’t say why because these may be spoilers, they may not, but those who are fans of the comics will definitely feel in a familiar place despite this story being so different to other Batman adaptations. There was even a Killer Croc reference I think which made me laugh, not sure whether it was intentional or not, fair play for putting it in if it was.

There’s definitely a strange feeling about this film throughout the majority of it. Batman Begins is an origin story thus meaning it is a journey of discovering whilst playing on the element of fear, from what I know the origin story has only ever been lightly touched upon (at least in film). The Dark Knight could well have been a stand alone film (some may say it pretty much is) as there were very few references to Begins. Dark Knight always toyed with the element of chaos. Rises however I think feels different as we know it’s the last in the trilogy and that there are a finite amount of endings that one can create for the ending of a series, such as ‘will batman die, will he live, will he still be batman’ etcetera. However the fact that it’s Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, who are no idiots to film writing and directing, again leaves the possibilities endless. I believe they could have created an infinite number of endings regardless of ‘what has to happen’ at the end of a series.  Not too sure if that paragraph made any sense, it may have just been me rambling.

ANYWAY, if anyone has actually read this far then fair play, congratulations, you need to get out more (like me). I’ve talked about some parts of the film I think are relevant but there are many many other points I could make but I’m wary about spoilers. Bale is of course as brilliant as ever, capable of switching between human Bruce Wayne and superhuman Batman in an instant. Hathaway is very good as Selina Kyle, really surprised me. She was a great addition to the cast. Penultimately Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are fantastic, providing a dash of comic relief as they have in the previous films with Caine being the surrogate father to Bruce and showing the audience that the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist (… wait wrong film) who beats criminals to a pulp at night is actually a real human being with emotions.

I rate the film 10/10. I know people who agree with me. I know people who disagree with me. I say go see it regardless of what anyone says, and see it with an open mind that pushes everything you’ve heard (even the good stuff) to the back of your mind. I thoroughly  enjoyed the 2 hour and 40 ish minute ride and am glad the conclusion to the Nolan Trilogy was a brilliant as I thought it would be.

Best superhero series ever.

Also first film review I’ve done. I’ll hopefully do more and get better over time.

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