The Dark Knight Rises

And so ends the Dark Knight Trilogy. Having spent 7 years watching these three films from Ireland to Japan to Hong Kong I almost feel i’ve been on a journey with Batman.

The Dark Knight Rises isn’t the best of the three films. I still love ‘Batman Begins‘ for where they finally took the character and ‘The Dark Knight’ for exploring the response to that character through the Joker, it too is just a perfect film with brilliant performances. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is certainly the most epic of the three and brings a fitting conclusion to the story of Bruce Wayne/Batman so much so that I almost cried near the end which was perfect. Getting to the end a little less than perfect, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a brilliant film. I am only measuring this against what has come before and the high standard Nolan has set for himself.
TDKR is the most comic bookish of the Batman films Nolan has done. I thought with TKD anyone and their Grandma could watch it just as a film. Here Nolan gravitates a little more towards the fans. Before it was a movie set in the real world that contained comic book characters, now it’s a movie about comic book characters.

The scale of the film is huge. As I said in my ‘Inception’ review, Christopher Nolan is a traditional film maker. Here he makes a movie, movie. I mean he uses CGI quite sparingly and from the opening scenes of the movie I feel far more impressed with what I see because it’s not just some CGI effect. It looks completely real and adds an element of realism that is necessary for such a character as Batman.

Catwoman. Ann Hathaway is a sexy Catwoman but the character herself isn’t fleshed out so much and the relationship between herself and Batman isn’t as interesting compared to Keaton and Pfeiffer in ‘Batman Returns‘. I loved ‘Batman Returns’ when it came out, the relationship between the two characters, exploring the dichotomy between them was fascinating to watch. We don’t get that so much here. We see Selina the person.

Bane. Doesn’t have the onscreen presence of the Joker and I do think the mask takes away some of the performance of Hardy while at the same time adding to the mystery of the character and his unstoppable force. I could understand his voice fine for about 99% of the film but I did find it coming in too clear, the audio sounding unnatural, almost as if dubbed over the film. Tom Hardy as Bane is the most threatening looking Villain Batman has ever faced and the way Batman pounds on this guy to no effect shows Batman losing in a very different manner to how he lost to the Joker. By the way how stupid was Batman to sleep with someone and then get into the biggest fight of his life. Boxers and sports stars avoid that stuff until after their big sporting event. Batman really did underestimate this guy…

The story. I’m getting a ‘Dark Knight Returns’ comic vibe from the story and I felt after watching ‘The Dark Knight’ that Nolan might take the Trilogy in this Direction. Here we have an older more fragile Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to help Gotham once more like the DKR comic. There is also parts of the ‘Knightfall’ comic in this with the breaking of the Bat along with bits of ‘No Mans land’. We see a return of Batman twice in this film. I thought the parts at the beginning dealing with his return and the middle would better fit into one continuous thread of Batman’s return. There is an obvious analogy to the world in recent years with the rich standing above the poor and the system that protects the people no longer fully working.

Alfred. Michael Caine gives it his all and it’s his best turn at Alfred yet. Give the man an award I say. Any actor that can stir an audiences emotions like him deserves another Oscar. He portrays Alfred as a loving Father figure who is seeing his adopted son losing himself in his battle against life. He isn’t as large a presence in the film as he was in the previous ones and I kinda miss that. While he was more of a sidekick in the others here he has become the Bat computer, dispensing relevant plot information to Bruce Wayne about Bane and his accomplices. Where does Alfred get this info from? Off the streets? It’s one minor little nit pick I have that here we have a film running at 2 hours 45 minutes and there is still a lot of exposition from characters, giving info about certain things. Take Blake’s explanation of how he discovered who Bruce really was. Couldn’t we see said scenes instead?

John Blake. He has some very cool scenes, especially towards the end with his real name being mentioned and then what follows after that…. I geeked out completely. It put a massive smile on my face. I liked Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character. He’s someone almost above Batman and Gordon in the Morals department, he gives no ground to the idea of doing a little wrong for the greater good, he believes that the system is no longer working and quite clearly common sense has abandoned the police department.

The ending of the film is perfect way to end the franchise and it’s an emotional blow out that I haven’t really felt with the end of any other trilogy. It’s sad, touching, heartwarming and beautiful.
As I was coming back home on the train having just seen the film and having a big dumb school girl smile on my face I suddenly stopped and thought.

“Did Nolan just pull an inception on us with that ending??!”

It’s food for thought. Of course things point to the happier ending which is how I originally perceived it,but I do love the way Nolan did that.

As to the future of Batman in movies there seems to be talk of a Justice League Movie on the way that he might be in. Nolan has completed his Batman story too so we won’t be returning to that world. Unless… we continue with John Blake as Batman. Kinda like Terry McGinnis of ‘Batman Beyond’ (they already have a flying batmobile). I wouldn’t mind seeing something tonally similar rather than your typical comic book film that has flooded the cinemas in recent years. Then again I wouldn’t mind seeing ‘Batman Beyond’ on the big screen too.

Favorite Quote: “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.” – Batman

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