Making a multiple-film series is tough, no question about it. Many examples could be listed of how the first film starts off strong, but somehow the finale movie does not live up to expectations (one exception to the rule would be the Twilight series- they all sucked). Christopher Nolan has, for the most part, succeeded in creating a solid ending to the Batman series. Dark Knight Rises is an exceptional work that will be quite a force to reckon with in the box office this summer.
The story picks up eight years after Harvey Dent died. He is still being portrayed as Gotham’s greatest man and that Batman was the menace behind it. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse because he really has no one to live for or to fight for anymore. Crime is down drastically in the city… until a new masked villain comes to town. Super-strong Bane (played by the always believable Tom Hardy) has his mind set on bringing down Gotham’s elite citizens and destroy the idea of classes and separation. His extremist ways are matched by his fighting skills- that rivals Batman’s. Anne Hathaway plays the slinky and sly Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. She is always looking out for number one, but keeps getting wrapped up in someone else’s sinister plans. Everything comes down to a boiling point when Bane and his henchmen hold the entire city of Gotham hostage. It is up to our caped crusader to right these wrongs and save the city he holds to dear.
If this film were to be broken down into three acts (roughly 50 minutes each) it would break down roughly like this: First act is slightly muddled. We are introduced to many new characters and caught up on the past eight years of Gotham. Keeping up with all the names can be daunting at points, but you get a firm grasp by the end of this act. Once the second act begins, we see some truly wonderful acting. Christian Bale has his Bruce Wayne/ Batman character down to a fine craft, it is enthralling to watch him work and struggle with his emotions on what to do next. The third and final act can just simply be called superb. The crescendo peaks and the whole audience held their breath. While The Dark Knight was incredible through the acting of Heath Ledger, Dark Knight Rises is incredible due to Christopher Nolan expertly crafting a unique and compelling story. It does have hints of the Occupy Wall Street mentality, it never presents a soapbox message to it’s viewers of how we should spend our money and save this nation.
All the actors and actresses brought their A-game to this event. While Bane is not as legendary of a villain as The Joker was, he certainly holds his own in the film. Hathaway shines as Catwoman and gives a performance that exceeds Michelle Pfeifer’s. Michael Caine provides many emotional scenes as Alfred, due to the fact that he loves Bruce so much and does not want to see him get hurt. The pain in Alfred’s eyes is piercing and believable.
Just like the previous movies, DKR is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language. I would discourage bringing a child to this more for the reasoning that this movie is two hours and 44 minutes long- I don’t know a lot of children who could sit still through all of that. There is nothing too graphic or intense, but children under 13 might not even appreciate the film. I would wait until they are older so they can be inspired by the trilogy.
I give The Dark Knight Rises four and a half out of five Bat-gadgets. While the film has a murky start, it regains footing and gives a spectacular performance that no one will soon forget.