Here it is! The final film of Nolan’s Batman trilogy! The most highly anticipated film of the year; The Dark Knight Rises! Batman Begins was a great Batman film, seeing Bruce Wayne building what Batman represented and building himself during the process. Then came The Dark Knight, which is not only a great Batman film or superhero film, but also a great film in its own right. Did The Dark Knight Rises hold up to the previous two?
The third and final instalment of Nolan’s Batman films continues eight years after where the last film left off. We get our new villain, Bane, who’s using the same plan as Ra’s al Ghul’s plan from Begins to destroy Gotham, except on a MUCH larger scale. We also get introduced to the beautiful cat burglar Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman. It’s time for The Batman to come out of his retirement and put on the mask and cape again.
A lot of people say that Bane is better than the Joker as a villain, and some people say the other way around. Honestly I’m with the latter, but I can safely say that Bane was VERY threatening, very menacing and a very good villain for this film. He’s a threat to Batman both on a psychological and physical level. Although his voice was a bit incomprehensible due to his mask. It was cool, but I had to concentrate in order to understand what he said. (Why can’t they just have subtitles or something?)
Anne Hathaway as the antiheroine Catwoman was freaking good. The performance was very femme fatale and the character itself was excellent! I loved this character: she’s smart, manipulative, sexy, a strong and cunning fighter, a badass, all that good stuff. It’s the Selena Kyle I imagine coming out from the comics to the screen (although with her own Nolan twist). One thing I like that she does in the film was how she used her own gender to deceive others at times: in one scene she screams and pretends to be all scared to lower suspicion in a crime scene. Clever lady. I LOVED HER! To me it was easily the best part of the movie! (Oh yeah! The goggles which turned into cat ears when she didn’t use them was a really clever detail. By the way, they never actually call her “Catwoman”. She’s sometimes referred to as “the Cat”, but mostly just as Selena. Oh well, that doesn’t really matter.)
Let me just say another thing I have to bring up: the young police officer Blake was a great character and I liked him a lot. Joseph Gordon-Levit played him ver well, but DANG would he have made a FANTASTIC Robin! Robin doesn’t really fit in the franchise, but still! In fact, they give a very special nod to that in the end, which made me super happy in the end. Look out for that.
And kudos to the music with the new Bane theme (the one that kept appearing in the trailers. The one when Bruce asks “What does that mean?”). The whole score is just awesome.
The feedback for this film is fascinating. A lot of people feel disappointed and a lot of people really liked the film. However, we can all agree on two things: that it’s the weakest out of the franchise and that we need to watch it more than once. I know I have to give out my opinion about the film, but I want to explore the audiences reaction, because I feel it’s important to understand whether the film did something right or wrong. Before I move on, I have to say I did like the film a lot, even after I left the movie theatre. But interestingly enough, my reaction kept changing the more I thought about the film. One moment I liked it less, one moment I liked it more, and it just went up and down and up and down. Now I really like this film even more. So this will be an interesting review for me, because I feel like my reaction will keep on changing. Originally I was gonna say “I liked the movie, but I was disappointed”, but by this point I’m gonna give this film a more positive review than I originally planned to.
For one thing, I notice that people (especially those who responded negatively to DKR) commented on the “plot holes” and the stuff in the story that left them confused. I was confused too at the beginning, but when I checked Wikipedia, I realised that everything WAS explained in the film. It’s just that the Batman films just happen to be dialogue heavy, and DKR is no exception. That’s one reason people would have to watch this again, so that they might have to listen to the dialogue carefully. They might have missed out something. The other thing people seem to complain about is the pacing. I hear people, including my sister, who nagged about how long it felt, but then I hear other people say that the pacing is superb; that it’s a 2 hour 45 minutes movie that felt like 1 hour. To me it felt slow around the second act, but the beginning and the ending (especially the climax) were just spectacular. When the second act felt kinda slow (no spoilers), the climax completely saved the story. I also think the ending tied up the whole trilogy very nicely. It’s a satisfying ending.
Speaking of which, the Batman himself appears like 10-15% of the film (seriously, he appears one hour into the film). I think the side characters took up most of the screen time. But Bruce DID have an interesting challenge. Let’s just say that the mental struggles affecting your physical abilities kinda becomes a main theme in the movie, which is why Bane becomes both a psychological as well as a more physical challenge this time. I could do an analysis on the themes of the film, but I really need a second viewing.
Anything I didn’t like? They could have handled the character Miranda better; I didn’t think she worked very well. She could have been more developed, ESPECIALLY when we figure out the twist ending. I figured out the twist ending already before the reveal, because of my own knowledge of the comics. But really, that’s the only problem for me story-wise.
Anyway, the story follows eight years after The Dark Knight, but also connects heavily to the events of Begins. Probably my biggest issue with the film is that even though I did like the themes in DKR, I felt it separated itself from the two previous films thematically. Begins was about fear; learning, understanding and using your fears. The DK was about hope and chaos and good vs evil. The themes in The DK did tie in with the themes of Begins, but DKR didn’t really tie in with the themes of the previous two films. At least mention The Joker! That would have really helped somehow! Then again, I do need a second viewing. Maybe there’s something I missed.
Despite that complaint, and despite my opinion changing a lot, I honestly think it holds up to the previous two, making a solid trilogy. Yes, it’s my least favourite of the series, but it still works well. I understand know why I got a bit disappointed in my first viewing. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were masterpieces, but I don’t know if I can say the same thing about this one (unless I have a second viewing. Who knows?). I felt it was a good ending to the trilogy and I did think it was a good flick. I understand why the reactions are so mixed, so everyone will react differently, and I don’t know how the rest (the people who haven’t seen this film) will react either. Just let me tell you this: if you watch this film, you might have to watch it a few more times (or at least one more time) to make up your mind about The Dark Knight Rises. I thought I missed something from the sub-text (within the heavy-dialogue maybe), and I think I’d appreciate this film more in a second viewing. Only time will tell. But should you go check it out? Absolutely. It’s worth your time. If you manage to watch it in IMAX (with surround sound systems or whatever), DO IT! The film will seem even grander and more fantastic with the sound effects and the whole score! I don’t know if you’ll love it or hate it, but I feel satisfied recommending it if you haven’t seen it.
Oh! Wait! There’s one last thing: the voice is back… Nolan’s making fun of us. I mean it. I really believe he’s making a fool out of us. HOW many times did we tell him? HOW many times did we make fun of the Batman voice? HE KNEW!!!