‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Film)

‘THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Dark Knight Trilogy Ends

Do I consider ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ better than the original ‘Batman’ movies?

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is the final film of ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. This film was released in 2012 at the cinemas. Unfortunately, I did not see this movie at the cinema when it came out. I know. I’m surprised as well.

I’d seen ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ at the cinema when they came out in 2005 and 2008. But for whatever reason, I missed this movie by a mile. I suppose it’s because I wasn’t an enthusiastic ‘Batman’ fan, as I was interested in ‘Spider-Man’ and other Marvel comics superheroes.

The first time I saw ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ was on the 2-disc Special Edition DVD I had in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ DVD box set for Christmas in December 2017. So I went into this ‘Batman’ movie, not knowing what to expect and how the story was going to end since I hadn’t watched it at the cinema.

So, how did I find ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ as a film? I thought it was really good. I found it better than ‘The Dark Knight’, but it still wasn’t as good as ‘Batman Begins’ if that makes any sense. This is a film exploring more of Bruce Wayne’s character, as he comes to terms with the end of his life as Batman.

The film returns us to elements that were introduced in ‘Batman Begins’ as well as following up plot points that were featured in ‘The Dark Knight’. I liked how the story was well-crafted in this film, since it makes the most of ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ comes to fruition in this epic, emotional climax.

I’m impressed with how director Christopher Nolan has re-imagined Batman in his ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’, blending both the atmosphere of the Batman comics as well as the gritty realism of modern-day society. He balances the character journeys and the action scene well in this last movie.

Christian Bale returns once more outing as Bruce Wayne/Batman in this movie. It’s interesting how Bruce comes to terms with the notion of stopping being Batman, as he struggles with the decision and not wanting to stop save Gotham City. He’s determined to give one last hurrah to save the city.

In this movie, it’s eight years since the events of ‘The Dark Knight’. Batman has gone and crime rates have amazingly dropped since the death of Harvey Dent. Bruce Wayne has now become a hermit inside his newly rebuilt Wayne Manor. He’s broken since the death of his sweetheart Rachel Dawes.

Bruce has also damaged his leg and the business Wayne Enterprise is losing money. Trouble ensues when a masked terrorist named Bane attempts to take over Gotham City and destroy Batman. Will Bruce don his Batman outfit again and save Gotham City with help from the cat burglar, Catwoman?

Christian Bale excels as Bruce Wayne/Batman in this movie. It was interesting to see Bruce, who’s older, hiding himself early in the film. Bruce struggles to find a purpose in his life after he stops being Batman. When the Catwoman burgles from Wayne Manor, Bruce’s spark in crime-fighting gets re-lit.

Despite protestations from Alfred on donning the Batman outfit again, Bruce becomes determined to get back into crime-fighting, despite being out of shape. Bruce learns some harsh lessons and discovers some shocking discoveries concerning the past, when he has to stop Bane and his minions.

I really like how the balance between Bruce Wayne and Batman in Christian Bale’s performance is achieved. Christian still employs the gravelling Batman voice in his performance, but I’ve been able to let it grow on me and it doesn’t distract when Batman saves Gotham City in this film’s epic climax.

Michael Caine returns as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler. Early on in the film, Alfred tells Bruce that the world doesn’t need Batman anymore. He helps his master in finding out more about Catwoman. But when Bruce becomes Batman again, he becomes unhappy and resigns his position.

I was disappointed that Alfred left Bruce half-way through the film and never came back when he needed him. But Alfred stresses that he doesn’t want to have another member of the Wayne family die on his conscience. The relationship between Bruce and Alfred gets pretty strained by this point.

Alfred also reveals to Bruce that he burned the letter that Rachel Dawes wanted to give him in the previous film, saying that she’s going to marry Harvey Dent instead of Bruce. This of course is a blow for Bruce and it was fascinating to hear why Alfred burned the letter in sparing his master’s feelings.

Gary Oldman returns as James Gordon, who is now the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department. I’m pleased Gordon is now a Commissioner in this movie, since I feel that’s what the character should always be. Jim Gordon has been telling the lie that Batman murdered Harvey Dent.

This was to help keep Gotham’s crime rates down since Harvey Dent became the murderous Two-Face in the previous film. Jim Gordon feels guilty of the lie he’s been telling regarding Harvey Dent. He even considers telling the public in a resignation speech to reveal the truth about what occurred.

During the movie, Jim Gordon gets injured and is taken to hospital. He’s relieved when Batman returns to fight crime, as he senses that Gotham City is about to come under threat. Will Commissioner Gordon be able to redeem himself and help Batman save Gotham from the evil Bane?

This film introduces Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle a.k.a. the Catwoman. I’ve seen Anne Hathaway before in films such as ‘Becoming Jane’ and ‘Les Misérables’. She later starred in the Christopher Nolan-directed film called ‘Interstellar’. I found her superb in her performance as Catwoman in this.

I’ve seen Catwoman in other interpretations of ‘Batman’ like the Adam West TV series and in ‘Batman Returns’. I like how this film depicts Catwoman as not necessarily being a villain. But she’s not really good either. She’s a professional cat burglar who has a playful side when Bruce meets her.

In this film, Catwoman tends to change sides when she seems to be helping Batman before betraying her to Bane where he gets beaten up and taken away. She witnesses the horror of what Bane does to Gotham. Soon she helps Batman out in an unconventional manner with saving the city.

Tom Hardy stars as the main villain of the movie called Bane. I’ve seen Tom Hardy before since he played the villainous Shinzon in ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’. He later starred in the film ‘The Revenant’ with Leonardo DiCaprio. My parents and I agree on this one. Tom Hardy is brilliant as the villainous Bane.

Now I must address something with regards to Bane. Before ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, Bane appeared in another ‘Batman’ movie which happened to be…‘Batman & Robin’. In that movie, Bane was more of henchman and he didn’t have a lot of dialogue. He also didn’t have a standout role in that movie.

Compared to that, Bane is more menacing and dangerous in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. He also had a voice despite wearing a mask on his face. In the film, it turns out Bane was once a member of the League of Shadows, the martial arts group that Bruce had once trained with during ‘Batman Begins’.

Bane does some terrible things in this movie, such as destroying a sports stadium in Gotham City and turning the whole justice system around by having the criminals being in charge and the cops treated as enemies. Bane even uses Commissioner Gordon’s speech about Harvey Dent against the people.

Marion Cotillard stars as Miranda Tate, a recently promoted member of Wayne Enterprises’ executive board. She may also be a potential love interest for Bruce Wayne in the movie. I honestly thought that Miranda was one of the goodies since she seemed to be helping Bruce a lot in this film.

But it turns out that Miranda Tate is the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in ‘Batman Begins’) and is actually named Talia al Ghul. I was very shocked by this twist reveal as it was so unexpected. It was interesting how Miranda’s history with Bane gets revealed layer by layer in this.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as John Blake, a young police officer who becomes helpful to Batman’s cause, being a great believer in him. He gets promoted to detective by Commissioner Gordon. John Blake even takes Jim Gordon’s place whilst he’s being treated at hospital for his injuries when shot.

John Blake represents the idealism that Batman/Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon had in the previous two films to fight crime. It was amazing to see John Blake be so determined to help Batman/Bruce Wayne and maintains his beliefs in him when Gotham City gets crime-ridden by Bane.

Morgan Freeman returns as Luicus Fox, the CEO and later Executive President of Wayne Enterprises. I didn’t think Fox would return in helping Bruce Wayne after what occurred in ‘The Dark Knight’. But Fox seems keen to show the new stuff to Bruce Wayne when he’s considering to be Batman again.

Luicus Fox even finds himself in dangerous situations when Gotham City comes under the rule of Bane’s tyranny. But he’s willing to help, putting his technological expertise to good use to defeat the tyranny. There are moments in the movie when I saw Morgan Freeman’s Luicus Fox in action-mode.

Hang on! Wait a minute! This movie has…Burn Gorman?! As in that Burn Gorman who played Owen Harper in ‘Torchwood’. I don’t believe it! First it was Eric Roberts in ‘The Dark Knight’, now it’s Burn Gorman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. What is going on?! Burn Gorman plays Philip Stryver in the movie.

The film features the return of the Batpod (the Batcycle) as well as a number of unpainted Tumbler vehicles used by Bane’s minions to attack Gotham City. The film also has ‘the Bat’, which is a flying combination of the Batplane and the Batcopter, similar to something in ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’.

I didn’t think we’d get any bats in this ‘Batman’ movie, following an absence of them in ‘The Dark Knight’. But lo and behold! Bats do make an appearance in this movie when Bruce Wayne climbs out an incredible impossible escape-proof prison. I was glad to see Wayne Manor return for this movie.

For the final film of the trilogy, the film’s music is composed just by Hans Zimmer and not with James Newton Howard. The music has worked well in all three films of ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’, as it’s compelling and epic all the way through. I have a buzz as the Batman theme plays in the end credits.

The film’s ending did take me by surprise. It seems that Batman may have died after stopping a bomb from destroying Gotham. This seemed really final as it looked like Batman wasn’t going to come back. But it seems that Bruce is still alive and it looks like John Blake is about to become the Batman.

I’m not sure if I’m okay with that ending, since it does look like that Batman is going to continue in this universe of ‘Batman’ stories. But whether John Blake becomes Batman afterwards, I don’t know. It does however bring ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ to come full circle and on a fairly decent conclusion.

The DVD special features for the 2-disc Special Edition are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a short feature called ‘The Journey of Bruce Wayne’. This provides a little introduction of what happens to Bruce Wayne in this film, with some contributions by director Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale.

On Disc 2, there’s a short feature about ‘The Batmobile’ which looks at the Batmobiles of all generations in ‘Batman’ comics and movies. There’s also a behind-the-scenes feature called ‘Ending the Knight’, looking at how ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ became the last film of ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’. There’s also a trailer archive as well as a print campaign art gallery for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is a very good ‘Batman’ movie and a well-earned conclusion to ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ films by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale. Do I think ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ is the best out of all the ‘Batman’ movies? Well…I still prefer the original 1989 ‘Batman’ film.

Don’t get me wrong. ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ is brilliant. It’s a very impressive reimagining of the Dark Knight superhero that many have loved since his beginning. But I don’t think ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ matches to the fun of the original ‘Batman’ movies and the Adam West TV series I’ve enjoyed.

It’s all a matter of preference, as I still prefer the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy with Tobey Maguire as opposed to later versions. But it doesn’t mean I dislike them. I just have a different interpretation on what I feel a certain franchise should be. I like ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’, but I’m not raving about it.

I suppose there’ll come a time when I look back on ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ and regard it highly. But for now, I really do feel my place with ‘Batman’ has to be with the original movies and the 1960s TV show. It’s not a preference everyone agrees with, but I can’t be everyone as I like my own thing.

But I definitely feel ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ of ‘Batman’ movies is worth checking out. I’m glad I’ve seen all three movies and that I had the trilogy DVD box set for Christmas 2017. Christopher Nolan made an impressive film trilogy with well-crafted storytelling and Christian Bale is superb as Batman.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ rating – 8/10


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2 thoughts on “‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Film)

  1. Excellent review Tim & sumwould’vebrilliantly, I found this rather a greek tragedy Batman/Bruce Wayne is battling impossible odds from the get go & when Bane breaks Batmans back it’s painful, shocking & emotional, Batman is not at his peak to beat Bane & in a way wants to die, love the rematch though whrn Batman gets the upper hand on Bane.

    I get why Alfred left but would’ve been nice if he’d returned in the climax although I like the scene he acknowledges Bruce in the cafe & knows he’s happy & content, the twist with Miranda being Ra al Ghul daughter.

    The Joker was to have featured in this film originally revealed to be behind the grand scheme but with Heath Ledgers sad death in 2008 the producers changed the script & decided not to recast the role.

    This is my favourite era of Batman, I love this trilogy as they have a beginning, middle & end, the top notch cast & impress visuals combined with great storytelling make these films epic masterpieces in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you’ve enjoyed my reviews on ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ and on ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ especially.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this movie. That’s interesting about you describing ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ as a Greek tragedy. I enjoyed your insight into how Bruce Wayne/Batman’s journey evolves and how he overcomes the odds when fighting Bane in this movie.

      I suppose because I always felt that Alfred was loyal to Bruce no matter what that he would never leave his master. I would have liked Alfred to come back at the climax of the movie just to have a touching scene when Alfred gives some words of encouragement to Bruce Wayne as Batman. I did like it when Alfred acknowledges Bruce at the café at the end of the movie. I’m wondering where Bruce is going to go with Selina Kyle after this film. I really like the twist of Miranda turning out to be Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter. I did not expect that.

      Now that’s interesting that the Joker was meant to be in this movie and he turned out to be the mastermind of all this. It would have been nice if that happened had Heath Ledger not passed away in 2008. I’m glad they didn’t recast the Joker as that would have been disrespectful and you can’t really replace Heath Ledger’s brilliant performance in the role.

      I chatted to someone in work about ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and he said they had to have Tom Hardy as Bane redub his lines since his voice was inaudible through that mask. I found this interesting and I suppose it would have been difficult to hear him had they not redubbed his lines.

      I’m glad you love ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ and that it’s your favourite era of ‘Batman’. Like I said, I enjoyed this trilogy very much. It’s well-crafted in terms of storytelling and characters, it’s well-directed by Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale is superb as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

      I’m looking forward to reviewing the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ movies soon. That won’t be for some time, but I can’t wait to get onto them.

      Thanks again for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed these reviews by me on ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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