First of all, my condolences to all the victims and their families in the Aurora, Colorado shooting last night. It’s sad and truly disgusting that nuts and psychos in society see fit to use these events to carry out their demented plans.
Synopsis – Bruce Wayne has been living in seclusion because of the events of THE DARK KNIGHT. There is a peace in the City of Gotham through the Harvey Dent act. commissioner Gordon has kept it a secret those long years that Dent was actually Two-Face and a murderer. But the peace is coming to an end as a new villain BANE plans to terrorize Gotham and its people.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was an excellent drama and final film in the DK trilogy. I believe it was the best of all three, strictly because of the broad story and new characters. This film was almost too serious and dramatic to be a superhero film. It really took its time building up the story, almost to the fear that it was going to be boring, but as the plot thickened, and the actors brought the drama, I forgave the smoldering storytelling by the second and third act. Nolan obviously enjoys an intricate story, and as each character’s problems escalated, he converged the subplots neatly into one dramatic “Will he make it?” crescendo. And Nolan threw in a couple great “Oh Snap” twists that had the audiences gasping. My verdict is that Batman fans, and most everyone else, will love this film. There will be many comic collecting aficionados that will have problems with the movie I’m sure, but as an action fantasy drama thriller, it hit home on almost every level. Oh, don’t wait for an ‘End Credit’ scene, there isn’t one. Actually, the end of the movie is enough.
All the key players - Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and of course Christian Bale were comfortably back in the saddle. Oldman didn’t get a chance to shine all that much, he spent half the film in a hospital bed. Christian Bale delivered his rough-voiced Batman without much change, but his Bruce Wayne was a little more tortured in parts than his previous films. His ‘Rise’ moment, which was the key turning point and marketing strategy of the film, was his most meaningful scene. Michael Caine as Alfred was also grieving at the thought of Bruce turning his determination to stop Bane into a suicide mission. Caine gave us some touching scenes.
They were all well and good, but it’s the new comers that elevated this third installment of the series to a newer hight. I had serious doubts about Anne Hathaway being able to pull of Catwoman in a way I would appreciate. Fortunately, within the first 30 seconds of Catwoman meeting Bruce put my concerns to rest. Hathaway didn’t try to act like other actresses that played the role in the past, but channeled the character in her own way. The playfulness, thief skills and acrobatics were all there. I was even cool with most of her fight scenes. She made a believable Catwoman and her costume and ‘Cat Goggles’ was just right..
Tom Hardy was interesting as Bane. He wasn’t my favorite character, but I don’t think it was Hardy’s fault. I think it was a challenge to translate emotion and intent through that mask he had to wear. I did enjoy how they wrote his character to be a calculating and merciless killer, but also take everything in a matter-of-fact way. ”First check him and see who he is, then I will kill you.” What? Yeah, Hardy was doing his thing.
Most of all I appreciated Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This is one younger geek brother (he has to be a geek) that I always enjoy seeing perform in interesting stuff. Levitt played John Blake, a police officer that cared more about the truth than just doing his usual cop job. His performance was genuine and he was the character that audiences could grab onto. Marion Cotillard also did a great job of playing her role as corporate power woman Miranda Tate.
SPOILERS BABY, SPOILERS
I haven’t collected Batman comics in such a long time, but I know the whole Bane back-breaking incident (what geek doesn’t?). I wondered how they were going to pull that one off, but the story played out over a 5 month period so I believed Batman/Wayne could come back from a spinal dislocation. He didn’t exactly have a broken back, just a vertebra out of place.
Bane taking Gotham was very convincing. Lacing explosives into construction projects all over the city was genius. When his takeover finally started, and he held the whole city hostage with the threat of a nuclear explosion, you certainly knew he was playing for keeps.
From that point, It was a very broad story because several things were happening at once. It was split between Batman recovering from his back injury, Bane taking over the city, Blake building up a covert resistance and saving commissioner Gordon’s neck, and what the rest of the city was doing with their ‘trials’ of the rich.
As the movie was racing towards the ending, all those plots came together beautifully. And on top of that, Nolan gave us something to look forward to for the next film(s).
MY ONLY PROBLEMS:
I only had two “Wha’ the?” moments. One was that Batman’s first fight with Bane was better than their final fight. That’s a no-no in my book. The hero always has to have his ‘Rocky’ moment.
Two – “Hey Batman, why don’t you use all those gadgets in your belt to take Bane down, instead of doing it fists-to-cuffs?” But those points weren’t nearly enough to distract me from the film.
THE FINAL NERD QUESTION:
Was it a better film than the Avengers? That’s the question on the Marvel/DC fan’s mind. The answer is Yes, but as a fantasy drama. Was it a better superhero film? Not by a long shot. The Avengers was the best Superhero film, and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was the best film with a superhero in it. If you think about it, nobody had ‘superpowers’ in any of the DK films. You can believe Batman can exist, but with the Avengers you don’t care.
GEEK SOUL BROTHER gives the well acted, well directed DARK KNIGHT RISES 4.75 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS. It would have gotten a 5 if they could have ramped up the first act, but that’s cool.