Summer’s pretty much over, but I’ve finally seen the last of the three summer movies I DEFINITELY wanted to see in theaters: The Dark Knight Rises.
I’m very, very glad I took the time to catch this one on the big screen. The previous two movies in the trilogy showed that Christopher Nolan knew what he was doing with the Batman franchise. Not only are they great superhero movies, they’re great movies, period.
And The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting end to the trilogy.
Eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight. Gotham has settled into a period of peace and prosperity. Batman has not been seen since the fateful night of Harvey Dent’s death. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, and nobody but Alfred has seen him in years.
But all is not actually well. The terrorist Bane has shown up in Gotham for unknown reasons, and Batman will have to don the cape and cowl one last time to protect the city he loves.
Much like The Avengers earlier this year, Nolan does a great job juggling all the characters, new and old, that came into the story.
Christian Bale is easily my favorite Bruce Wayne/Batman. At the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises, he’s completely closed himself off from the world. He’s a broken man, in both body and spirit. A large part of the film is him coming back out of the shell he’s built around himself, learning to trust again and move on from the tragedies that have driven him for so long. That journey alone is well worth watching.
Thomas Hardy’s Bane is quite different from the dumb brute we saw in Batman and Robin. He’s intelligent, eloquent, a powerful fighter, and absolutely ruthless in his mission. He’s almost the opposite of the Joker, who sought chaos for chaos’s sake. Bane has a goal from the very first moment we meet him, and he never wavers in his devotion to it.
Then there’s Catwoman. I loved Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, who fit perfectly in Nolan’s grittier world. She’s an accomplished thief, as always, but she’s looking for a clean slate. She could switch her roles off and on like a light: a meek servant one second, and in the next breath, she’s the confident Catwoman.
The moment I saw her pull off that switch was the moment I quit worrying about Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.
It was also nice to see a movie that hadn’t given away the entire plot in the trailers. A small thing, but with film marketing today, where you can learn almost everything about the story before you ever set foot in the theater, it was a nice surprise. The movie kept me guessing, and I was on the edge of my seat for the entire film.
And the fight between Batman and Bane was fantastic. (If you know anything about Bane’s story from the comics, you know exactly what I’m talking about.) There was no music until the very end, just the sound of the two of them beating on each other and Bane’s taunts. It was pretty rough to watch, especially knowing what the outcome would be.
The only real problem I had was less with the film and more with the sound mixing. There were times that the music was so loud that I couldn’t make out what either Bane or Batman were saying. I understand that movies are supposed to be loud, but this went overboard. (Of course, the score itself was phenomenal. Seriously, Hans Zimmer did a great job.)
Not to mention, it was definitely long. I think Nolan could probably have tightened it just a tad, shaving a few more minutes of the runtime may have helped in a couple of parts where it dragged just a hair. But those moments were very few and far between.
That being said, those are merely nitpicks. Overall, The Dark Knight Rises was a brilliant end to a brilliant trilogy, and well worth the time and money to see it.