Aubrey Ward III
I'm not telling you what to see. I'm not telling you what not to see. I'm just sharing my experience and opinion on the movie, tv show or play that I have seen. I'm merely an advisor. Ultimately, you will have to go with your own gut and decide if you'll buy the ticket or not.View all articles by Aubrey Ward III
The Dark Knight Rises is the third and, potentially, final chapter in Christopher Nolan's (director, co-screenwriter) film serial based on the legendary character born in comics but well established in pop culture thanks to some memorable television and film adaptations. It remains to be seen if Nolan or his possible predecessor might continue the sophisticated and more edgy take of the Batman mythology but I would say that if The Dark Knight Rises is truly Christopher Nolan's last hurrah with Batman then he truly left us with a very grand finale.
The "Bane" Of Batman's Existence: Bane (Tom Hardy)
Admittedly, the film starts off with a baffling stunt involving Bane's goons snatching an important figure while on an airplane. Don't worry because that mysterious act is explained later in the film. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan's screenplay is full of circles where something is mentioned at the beginning of the film and then revisited later but with a full explanation that usually results in an audible gasp or a “Wow! No way!”. And then there's the one who saw the twist coming a half a mile away but is polite enough to keep it quiet out of respect of the other less shrewd viewers (and to avoid looking like a dullard in case the genius' hunch was way off base).
As in Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) the emphasis is on the characters and less on action sequences and nifty gadgets. Oh, don't worry. There's lots of quality moments involving well choreographed brawls and violent fun with weaponized machinery. But as with the previous two films the focus is on the development of each character and then how those characters' personal motives weave around each other until they get tangled or someone's thread gets cut. The Dark Knight Rises presents all sorts of interesting relationships including the chilling connection between Bruce and Bane, the romantically dangerous interactions between Bruce and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), the cracked bond between Bruce and Alfred (Michael Caine) and the common ground found Bruce finds with an Gotham City Police Officer named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). That's what I have loved about Christopher Nolan's version of Gotham City. There are so many details to keep track of. Something that appears to be minor turns out to be of great importance in the final act. It makes for a rewarding film experience that is truly worth the price of admission.
Breaker Of Safes, Hearts and Jaws: Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway)
The whole cast was great from the principles to the supporting cast and even to the extras. All the performances were spot on though I'm still not a fan of Christian Bale's Batman voice. I was hoping he would've overhauled it for the third film but oh well. And I know it was a requirement of the role but it was partially hard to watch Tom Hardy perform with that mask concealing most of his handsome face. Any doubts I had about the cast were completely loaded on Anne Hathaway.
It was as if they took all the best parts from the various depictions of Catwoman, rolled them up and stuffed them into that black bodysuit. Hathaway's Catwoman was probably the closest to the incarnation in the current run of the Batman comics including Selina Kyle's own solo series. She's sexy yet tough, vulnerable yet guarded and is usually on the side that provides the most benefit to her personal interests. The Nolans also included Selina's street side including a sort of “sidekick”; a nod to Selina's adventures in the seedier parts of Gotham where she looks out for the prostitutes and homeless youth that sometimes fall off the radar, even Batman's. Though I noticed the absence of her whip the loss didn't hinder the experience since Selina had so many other awesome attributes to cover that omission. And I liked that she isn't actually called “Catwoman” in the movie. Like most things in Nolan's Gotham City the lack of Selina Kyle's criminal nickname gave her an air of originality even though she retained so many of the attributes that make Catwoman such a popular character.
After seeing both the IMAX and regular showings of The Dark Knight Rises my preference leans more toward the regular release of the movie. The IMAX is definitely impressive but a bit overdone at times. One unpleasant IMAX moment was when Batman used his flying vehicle to elude some cops. Thanks to the IMAX's souped up speaker system the roar of the flying machine as it flies over the cops is so powerful that I felt the tremors running through my body. I'm all for surround sound but when I can feel it in my rib cage that's crossing the limit for me. If you like that sort of thing then get in line at your local IMAX theater.
The Bat Shall Rise Again: Batman / Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale)
The first time I saw The Dark Knight Rises was on the Saturday of the opening weekend, July 21st. This would be about a day after that senseless and horrendous assault on moviegoers attending a midnight screening of the film on July 20th in a Colorado cineplex. My friend and I were both nervous about it. Though I put on a brave front I was concerned about some misguided soul deciding to repeat that same horrific act in the theater I was going to. When we got to the nearby cineplex I was relieved to see a nice crowd waiting outside. Frankly, I think we all had that dreaded thought in the back of our heads but we were determined to not let fear keep us from doing what we wanted. Though the movie presentation went on without incident the gunshots onscreen made me uneasy and I couldn't help my eye from trailing on a moviegoer getting up during the film. As a movie fan and a Batman fan I was appalled, angered and deeply saddened by what happened to those people in that Colorado theater and my prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.
Except for the garbled combo of Christian Bale's cotton-mouthed Caped Crusader and Bane's mask that, when intelligible, made the man sound like Sean Connery broadcasting from a clunky CB radio I don't have any negativity towards The Dark Knight Rises. I hope this will result in a very low level of hate mail and death threats in my mailbox from fervent DC disciples. Though everyone has their favorite chapter from the Christopher Nolan “Bat-series” I believe that The Dark Knight Rises was a brilliant close to a remarkable film trilogy that has helped to prove the case that comic books can be adapted into quality films.
Rhymes With: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Avenger (2012), The Hunger Games (2012), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), X2: X-Men United (2003), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Inception (2010), Spider-Man (2002)
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