The Dark Knight Rises Review
Does Batman Rise to the Occasion?
I’ve been reading Batman for a long time and the character has been at the centre of some awesome story arcs such as Knightfall, War Games, and The Dark Knight Returns. And what I’ve always liked about Nolan’s Batman movies is that they’ve taken inspiration directly from the source material, especially the more modern stories. However, I feel that they may have slightly lost sight of the character that is Batman.
This film takes place 8 years after the events of the Dark Knight and old Wayne (Bruce, not Rooney) is looking a little worse for wear. Unfortunately, there’s no 80s montage to get him back to his old self, but we do see him and the other established characters plus Bane (Tom Hardy), Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) and John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in what feels sort of like the Return of the Jedi of Nolan’s Trilogy, in that it may be the worst of the three. But bear in mind, the worst of the Nolan Batman movies is still a pretty decent flick.
First off, the set pieces and special effects are unbelievable, and not in a Michael Bay-stick-of-Acme-Dynamite way. These are practical effects that are a real treat to look at, and the fight choreography is phenomenal. Interestingly, I saw the film at the BFI where the bass is so loud that every time someone took a punch to the face, the woman in front of me flinched causing her seat to rocket back into my knee, slightly marring my viewing experience. But this does show how well done the fights were to give this kind of impact.
The performances are great for the most part, with the same great quality from the first two movies. Special mention should go to Michael Caine whose portrayal of Alfred is particularly affecting this time round (I definitely didn’t get a bit teary during one of his speeches; I’m known for being a legendary hard man). My only slight gripe with the acting is Hardy’s portrayal of Bane; they still haven’t quite managed to sort out his muffled voice problem so he ends up sounding like Skeletor crossed with Darth Vader. I also think that, whilst I found the development of Bane interesting, it humanised him in a way that made him seem far less threatening, especially when compared to Ledger’s Joker.
Some would argue that this is an unfair comparison, but since this is the final chapter in the ‘Nolan Trilogy’, then such a comparison is inevitable. But why even call it a trilogy? The tones of the three films are so varied and incongruent that it’s hard to feel a sense of catharsis at the film’s end. It feels like Nolan’s been so concerned with thematic exposition that he’s forgotten about the central character and his journey. This would be fine if it was an original concept like Inception, but this is an adaptation of Batman created by Bob Kane. I grew up with this character and I’m not sure that Nolan has done that character justice now his trilogy is finished. Maybe that’s just my inner fan boy talking but without nerds like me, these movies wouldn’t even get made and I feel that this point may have been forgotten.
As a film, the Dark Knight Rises can’t be faulted. It’s a perfect piece of action cinema. But as an adaptation of arguably the greatest comic book character ever, I’m sorry to say it fails. The recent surge in the success of these comic book films should introduce these characters to new audiences, not redefine them in a way that is acceptable to those who aren’t able to suspend dis-belief. So go see the film and enjoy, but if you want to preserve the origins of one of the best modern mythologies, go pick up a comic and see the true Dark Knight Rise.
‘Not all I hoped for but still one of the best films in a long while’
Want more from this author? Try A Review of The Amazing Spider-Man
Or for a related article, how about A Review of the Batman game
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