Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Movieholic: The Dark Knight Rises

It's hard to remember a time when Christopher Nolan wasn't the go to name with Batman films.  Well now that time has come to an end and the public has to accept the end of the Batman/Dark Knight trilogy.

In The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has been retired from being the Batman, freeing him up mingle with new characters such as Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) and Gotham Police Officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  Gotham is free from major crime aside from thefts by cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) which makes the arrival of the terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) more painful and shocking.  Despite efforts between Batman, John Blake, and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) Bane takes Gotham and threatens the peace that Gotham once knew.  Can Batman rise up and stop this masked powerhouse before Gotham is reduced to ashes?

I know many people are going to compare TDKR to the other films in the trilogy, but let's ignore them which is easy to do thanks to how Nolan makes each film stand on its own.  So we get to see Selina Kyle kick ass and Bane murder almost everyone he meets while Batman fights the police and his aged body on the stage of Gotham on the brink of destruction.  Despite these legendary characters strutting around Gotham some of the most impressive on screen presence comes from Officer Blake and Commissioner Gordon.  It feels like TDKR is telling the average movie goer you don't have to be a hero to save the day.  If that is the message then I applaud it, if that's not the message then it's still a damn good movie.

If I've been too vague in my stance on the movie, I loved it.  I was terrified of Bane, fell in love with Selina Kyle, rooted for Batman, and felt myself side with John Blake during every moment I was free of with Bane or Batman.  Unfortunately it's not perfect, as there are a lot of moments without Batman.  It works in the film, but with expert editing one could make this a new movie titled "Gotham Rises" and just take out Batman entirely.  I don't want to see that happen, but there are so many characters our Caped Crusader lost some screen time.  

Still no movie is fantastic and this is a great send off for Christopher Nolan and Co.  We took the ride over three movies of his Batman to wash the taste of Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin out of our mouths.  No hokey puns, the exposition was well done, we get the required winks to the dedicated Bat-fans, and we get an ending that both satisfies and opens the imagination.

If you enjoyed the first two Batmans, or love Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy, this movie is a fantastic ride you can't miss.  I will warn you that Batman and Bruce Wayne do have a smaller presence in this film and Anne Hathway essentially steals the show, so some of the bigger fans of the Batman trilogy may have to in with expectations lowered.  

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