Friday, July 20, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)


Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Just came back from watching TDKR. Without further ado, here are my thoughts.

Christopher Nolan has brought the story of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) full circle. This is first and foremost a Bruce Wayne movie. Christian Bale spends a majority of his screen time out of the Bat Suit. When we first met Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, he was a disillusioned young man, searching for inner peace and purpose in life. The death of his parents at the hands of a stranger had a profound effect on Bruce’s psyche from which he never recovered. The training he received from Ra’s Al Ghul and his subsequent donning of the costume did not per se help Bruce overcome his rage and sadness, but served as an outlet for them.

In The Dark Knight, Bruce is confident of giving up the cape and the cowl after seeing the way Gotham citizens responded to Harvey Dent’s crusade against organized mobs. The Joker (Heath Ledger) wreaked havoc on Bruce’s personal life by causing the death of Rachel Dawes, the one true love and symbol of hope for Bruce. At the end of the movie, Batman took the blame for Harvey’s death for the sake of Gotham city’s future.

As TDKR opens, we are introduced to Bane (Tom Hardy) as he orchestrates a mid-air hijacking of a nuclear scientist. The sequence was intended to showcase Bane’s determination and willpower to achieve his ends against all odds and costs.

Click on the link below to buy your copy:



Back in Gotham, Bruce is a recluse in the reconstructed Wayne Manor. One of the Wayne Enterprise Board Members, Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) is trying to get Bruce’s attentions, but without much success. She has plans to use nuclear energy for the general good of the society and tries to get Bruce’s help. But Bruce is way too depressed to make any contact with the outside world.

One day, he runs into a robbery in motion by one of the housemaids who steals his mother’s pearls and his fingerprints. Intrigued by this unusual burglar, Bruce does some research and discovers the offender to be one Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Fans of the Batman comics know Selina is the secret identity of Catwoman, femme fatale and burglar with a cat fetish. Selina is never referred to as Catwoman, though she spends considerable time in the costume.

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle
But Selina’s antics are only part of a much bigger plan against Bruce and Gotham city. Bane is a brute with brains and he has meticulously planned the downfall of his enemies.

The other noticeable newcomer is beat cop Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who catches the attention of Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). Gordon is temporarily rendered out of action and he delegates the detective work to Blake.

Batman takes Selena’s help to stop Bane and this leads to disastrous results for the Dark Knight. To keep this review spoiler-free, I would recommend the readers to find out further details from the movie.

Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The amazing Chris Nolan at work

Chris Nolan has crafted a superb closer to his trilogy. Nolan’s decision to focus on the man inside the costume is testament to his sublime moviemaking skills and he deserves applause for this. Despite the legendary pop culture status of Batman, Nolan invested wisely in Bruce Wayne’s personal journey and this has resulted in the finest movie trilogy (in my opinion, of course). Bruce’s journey of self-discovery began in ‘Batman Begins’ and has reached its due course in TDKR. Rest assured, this movie will knock your socks off, if you followed Bruce’s story so far.


Wally Pfister and Hans Zimmer have always made major contributions to the success of the previous movies and their success continues with this one as well. Zimmer’s music especially is outstanding. His track “Mind If I cut in?” is used at crucial points in the movie.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne
On the acting front, the honors go to Bale, Hathaway and Levitt.

Bale does superlative work in this movie and brings Bruce Wayne to life like never before. His work is powerful and inspiring and is miles ahead of the other two movies. He is the definitive Bruce Wayne, just as the late Heath Ledger the definitive Joker.

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Anne Hathaway makes a great Selina Kyle
Anne Hathaway does some fine work as the morally ambiguous Selina Kyle. Selina has some motives of her own and is willing to risk the safety of others. Selina’s character arc is nearly as good as that of Bruce and all credit goes to Hathaway for giving us a very alluring and nifty portrayal.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake
Levitt, on the other hand, has the relatively easier role of Blake, the cop with good morals and the drive to make an active change to Gotham. Levitt’s character has major presence in the movie and acquits himself very well.

Tom Hardy has bulked up for the role of Bane and thanks to Pfister’s camera work, looks much bigger than he actually is. Nolan has written the character of Bane as someone with total belief in his capabilities to achieve whatever he sets out to do. Unfortunately, Bane's face is covered with a mask and has to communicate only through his eyes. For all of Tom Hardy's considerable acting talents, Bane ends up as a generic tough guy and is intimidating only in his hand-to-hand confrontations with Batman.

Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Bane and Bats go  Mano-a-mano
The recurring members of the cast have varying levels of success. Gary Oldman comes out the best in the bunch as the guilt-ridden cop. Gordon’s conscience weighs down heavily on him and his internal struggles have taken a toll on his life. His wife has left him, taking the kids with her. Oldman is amazing in the role.

Morgan Freeman does his usual standard work as Lucius Fox, Batman's go-to guy for gadgets and weapons. The Bruce-Fox chemistry is one of the strong points of these movies. This time around, Fox does not get to have much fun bantering with Bruce, except for a couple of exchanges. But Fox's gadgets are stars in their own right. The new aerial vehicle, 'The Bat' joins the Batpod and together they steal the show in the action scenes.


Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth is highly concerned with the direction in which Bruce’s life is seemingly headed. Caine is good in the initial scenes, but soon becomes melodramatic. My sincere apologies to you Michael, I do wish you had toned down your work a little bit.


The movie runs for nearly 165 mins long and suffers from an excess of characters, extended action scenes that could have been cut out completely and some gaping plot holes. To keep this review spoiler-free, I will go into these details in a later post.


Right now, all you need to know is that this movie does full justice to Chris Nolan’s vision and should notch up Oscar nods. Highly recommended for Chris Bale's best performance yet as Bruce Wayne/Batman.


Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Chris Nolan with Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Chris Bale

PS: My deepest sympathy goes out to the families and friends of the victims in the tragic shooting in Colorado.

Click here to read all my posts related to DC Comics.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my blog by clicking here.

Image Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

© 2017 - buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

For instant updates,

58 comments:

  1. Agree largely with your thoughts although I thought Caine was brilliant - making some sappy dialogue realistic. Bane was pretty forgettable - why have him in a mask anyway? It's not as if Bane is an iconic villain - they could've ditched it. it is a very good film, too long, but a fine conclusion. Nothing could match Ledger, anyway. I just hope the movie rises above the terrible association of the Colorado shooting.

    My review is posted on theblogofdelights.blogspot.com Best wishes, B2B - keep up the sterling work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gypsy King for the kind words :)

      Thinking back about the movie now, I am happy that Bane did not have much of screen presence. That helped put the spotlight much more on Bruce Wayne!

      My heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their near and dear ones in the senseless shooting in Colorado.

      Delete
  2. Good review! I agree with you on most points, but I should have my review up later this morning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jordan. I will look out for your review.

      Delete
  3. Great review! Will definitely be looking out for the later post you said you'd write about the film.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comes close to three hours, but it didn’t matter to me, because I just couldn’t take my eyes off of this from start to finish. The story did hit some pit-falls here and there, but they weren’t enough to take me out of the grand, epic scale of this movie and I have to give a lot of that credit to Nolan who ends everything in a nice little set-up that I think Batman, as well as all of these other characters, deserve. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree with you Dan about the grand, epic scale of TDKR. Nolan did tie all the loose ends.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  5. The connection between Holmes and Batman suddenly hit me. Didn't Batman appear in "Detective Comics"?
    As I write the tragedy of the theater shootings are one day old.
    I was not a fan of the new Batman. I am a Holmes fan.

    http://demetius-sherman.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Batman did appear in 'Detective Comics', better known as DC Comics. He is supposed to be the best detective in the DC Universe.

      The tragedy at Colorado was indeed senseless. My heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their near and dear ones.

      Delete
  6. I feel like Tom Hardy is not going to get much praise, and I think that's a bit unfair.

    Having to basically use his eyes for nearly all of his characterization was a huge challenge, but if you take everything in context, I think you can see the actual soul of the character in his eyes.

    His character is inevitably going to be compared with Ledger's Joker, which is unfair as well. The Joker is a much more interesting character simply because he's a psychopath. He is evil because he gets his kicks from it. Bane, however, has a real, clear purpose. The notion that he specifically wants to break Bruce Wayne really comes through.

    Joker represented the depths of psychopathic evil, Bane represented the evil society faces right now: people who want to bring civilization down to its knees not because they just want to prove a point, but because they truly believe society needs to be destroyed.

    I think it will take some time, and perhaps many more viewings, to fully appreciate Hardy's work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought that the less charismatic Hardy as Bane turned out to be in TDKR, the more focus it brought to Bruce Wayne. This of course was not the case with TDK, where Heath Ledger was out and out the star of the show.

      Delete
  7. Nice review! Agree with you on all points exception Hardy & Caine. Hardy was great in my opinion & Caine was not bad himself either. I didnt see anything wrong with his acting at the end... :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree that Bane will never measure up to Heath Ledger's Joker, but I loved Hardy. A really chilling performance, and like you said - with his eyes! And Michael Caine nearly made me cry in this :'( I love Alfred!
    Great review, such a fitting end to the trilogy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great review, even though I disagree with one or two of your points (I don't feel Michael Caine was melodramatic for instance).

    I'm glad someone else noticed and pointed out that there wasn't as much banter and fun moments between Fox and Wayne this time around, which was a shame, but I suppose given the tone of the film and everything going down it would be a bit inappropriate for them to be having too many jovial moments.

    For anybody who might be interested in another review for the film, go to our blog or use the link below:

    http://www.wtfoosh.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-dark-knight-rises-movie-review_20.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. All around great review, B2B. But I have to disagree with you a bit on Caine and Hardy's Bane. Damn near every scene Caine had in TDKR killed me, especially towards the end. And I agree with the others about Hardy having to act primarily with his eyes and his choice of voice for the character. He alternated between being the ferocious, almost feral animal he also showed in WARRIOR, to his defeated, sad look at the end.

    All that said, I agree with everything else you said. Keep up the good work! I look forward to your later post when you're able to go into spoilerish details.

    - Andrew, http://www.twoticketsfor.com/2012/07/nolans-third-act-certainly-rose-to-my.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andrew. Hardy did his best with the role. It just did not make as good an impression (on me) as was intended.

      Delete
    2. Which is totally fair!

      Btw, B2B, Sarah and I love what you're doing here. She particularly loves the Sherlock stuff. So we wanted to share the Liebster Award with you, and we really hope you come on over to claim it! http://www.twoticketsfor.com/2012/07/the-liebster-award.html

      Delete
  11. Nice review! While not perfect, DKR is a fantastic movie and a great conclusion to Nolan's Batman trilogy.

    I disagree about your Bane assessment though. Hardy's eyes and gestures tell you a ton. There was no way they could "top" Joker, so they didn't try, instead making a far different villain in Bane. Hardy's eyes draw you in- check out the scene in which he has Pavel changing the device midway through the film. The doctor says that this could blow up and Bane says, eyes open and HOPEFUL- "For your children's sake, I hope it does"- he's so fanatical, and his eyes capture it.

    I have seen the movie twice now, and Bane's more subtle than he would at first appear.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very good review. I like how concise you kept it while still hitting the main points. Glad you mentioned the score. It gets overlooked by many. But I love it and think it adds a lot to the whole trilogy. Also like how you acknowledge how the movie was shot. It's subtle and I probably need to watch it a few more times to really appreciate it fully. But upon the first few impressions, I think they did a nice job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave. Hans Zimmer's score is phenomenal as always. Wally Pfister too did an amazing job.

      Delete
  13. Agree with with you and Dave. Geez, I was too engrossed with the shots that I forgot all about the score. Haha. Yeah, I think I'm gonna have to watch this awesome film again. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  14. One thing I forgot to mention in my review was the score, that is at points a driving force in the movie so great that you mentioned it. Love the review, great job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zimmer is the best. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  15. Fantastic spoiler free review, you were spot on about Caine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Finally.. Someone who agrees about Caine's performance. Thanks a ton :)

      Delete
  16. Good review! You nailed it in proclaiming the movie Bruce Wayne's show; Bane's plan and all the destruction is merely backdrop to his personal journey. Fantastic work from everyone involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This movie was out and out Bruce Wayne's show. Nolan, Zimmer, Pfister and Bale all did their best.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  17. Really liked your review, and thanks for stopping by mine, as well! - (Shameless plug: http://viewerscommentary.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/theatrical-review-the-dark-knight-rises/ )

    I would disagree about Michael Caine and Bane being not nearly as terrifying as he could have been, as you already know, but I tend to get so swept up in things that, as long as they're consistent and not jarring, I end up watching things with beer goggles or something, but I genuinely found Caine's performance resonant (he's barely in the middle it seems) and Bane's presence chilling. To each his own though!

    It's so hard to talk about this movie without completely spoiling it. There's so much depth and, to all those who point out that there are plot holes, I think it's sort of a non-issue -- plenty can be filled in with just a little thought. I know it sounds funny with a film running at 2 hr. 45 min., but I think Nolan is one of those directors who prefers to cut out what can be inferred and get to the point without leaving audiences completely aghast at what happened.

    Anyway, I think I might be seeing this twice in theatres...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As you rightly said, to each his own :)

      I too plan to see TDKR again in theatres soon. Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  18. A very good review. Succinct and unbiased. Although I think that if you watch the film a second time, some of the less obvious drawbacks of the film stand out. Most of Nolan's films reveal nuances and depth on repeated viewings. Unfortunately TDKR reveals more plot holes than nuances. That said, this is probably the best third film in the series that could have possibly been made.

    P.S: I loved Tom Hardy's dialogue delivery and acting despite his mask. If you want to see Tom Hardy at his absolute brutal best I suggest watching his 2008 British film " Charles Bronson".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did catch some plot holes the first time itself, but wanted to keep this review spoiler free.

      Bronson and Warrior are on my to-watch list. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  19. Great review. I liked your breakdown of each actor/character.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Excellent review buddy2blogger! I agree with you 100% that it was a masterful job by Nolan to make TDKR a "Bruce Wayne movie" and retain the explosiveness of the previous Dark Knight films. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Legionnaire. Nolan indeed made a really smart decision to focus on Bruce Wayne rather than on the Dark Knight.

      Delete
  21. Great review! I especially like how you singled out the characters and gave a brief review on each one. And yes, I must agree with you that, it was great how Nolan focused most of the story on Bruce Wayne rather than Batman/Dark Knight. In my opinion as well, this trilogy has been the greatest of all Batman movies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Monique. I love this trilogy for the way Nolan portrayed the journey of Bruce Wayne. Wally Pfister and Hans Zimmer provided great cinematography and music respectively.

      Finally, Chris Bale... He is the definitive Bruce Wayne!

      Delete
  22. First of all, thank you for checking out my blog. I see that your blog is a lot more refined then mine. ;)

    Secondly, I liked this review. Obviously I don't agree with all of it, but it was well written. You did a brilliant job of reviewing the movie without spoiling anything. I look forward to reading more of your blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was wondering how you were able to make your blog look like this. With the tabs on the top, and the email subscription. Even a link to a tutorial would be a big help

      Delete
  23. Nice review

    I agree with most of your points but I still put The Dark Knight ahead of this. The motives for both Bane and Cotillard i feel are sort of weak compared to villains in the past. The Joker's motive was just pretty much insanity and you totally believed. I wouldn't throw Tom Hardy's acting under the bus to fast in this movie either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From a movie perspective, TDK is probably the better movie. From a Bruce Wayne's story perspective, TDKR takes the cake with BB a close second.

      Despite Tom Hardy's sincere attempts, Bane came off (to me) as a run-of-the-mill villain, out to destroy stuff on a large scale. Nolan did invest the role with a back story, but the end result was still mediocre.

      Delete
  24. This was a good review. You covered many points, and were able to clearly say what you thought about the movie. Your writing style is brief but informative. I look forward to reading more from you.

    P.S. Thanks for checking out my blog, I really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Good crisp review. Firstly ,a big thanks for dropping by my blog. I do concur with you on many points, anyways I would like to know the plot holes(some weeks later maybe, don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen the movie yet) as some questions which I had on my mind were later cleared looking up at the user comments on the imdb site. Somehow, I don't exactly share your stand on Tom Ledger's acting. I thought Tom was brilliant as Bane, considering that he had very limited scope in the shoes of a character such as Bane. Somehow Tom in this movie was a physical, but I felt his eyes and his body language along with his intimidating voice was pretty awesome though.

    Very good review ! Keep blogging buddy2blogger !

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for checking out my review. Although like others I thought Tom Hardy's Bane was excellent, I enjoyed your take on the film. It's hard to convey so much info without spoilers, but you did a fantastic job.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I haven't gotten a chance until now to thank you for commenting on my review of this film. Thank you! I don't get many visitors. After perusing your blog, I loved your review as well! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete