Monday, September 3, 2012

Theater Review: The Dark Knight Rises

I had heard a few times that Christopher Nolan was apprehensive about doing a third Batman film and I couldn't understand why. But, after seeing the film I can sort of see why he was - no matter what he put out it was always going to be compared to The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight Rises also had another superhero film to contend with this summer that I am sure it was expecting to contend with when it was first announced - The Avengers. It's sort of odd to compare them as they are on two totally different spectrums - but you sort of have to.

Although I feel The Dark Knight Rises is the superior film, I would have to say I will probably watch The Avengers far more. It is just a more fun film - sort of like how Saving Private Ryan is a hell of a film, but I cannot watch it all of the time.

What The Dark Knight Rises was also up against was the amazing performance given by Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. No matter how great a villain that Nolan could cook up for the third film - no way was it going to live up to Ledger's performance.

Anyway, the final film picks up about eight years after Batman (Christian Bale) took the blame for killing Harvey 'Two-Face' Dent. All of the years as Batman has also taken a bit of a toll on Bruce Wayne - and as he stays hidden in his mansion he limps around from room-to-room.

As the guilt begins to tear at Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), he is captured and brought to the new villain that has risen under the streets of Gotham, Bane (Tom Hardy). Gordon is shot, but manages to escape  despite losing a letter he had written with the truth about Dent.

Police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) finds Gordon at the end of a tunnel and gets him to the hospital for treatment. Because of his detective work, Gordon promotes Blake and tells him to answer directly to him.

Blake was also once an orphan who looked up to Wayne because of all the donations the Wayne family gave to the orphanage - but he also somehow knows Wayne's true identity and tells him the city needs him to resurface.

Batman finds a local cat burglar, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), to help lead him to Bane. Kyle uses the opportunity to get a program that can help erase her identity from all databases on the planet - and free her from her thieving ways.

Kyle, however, turns on Batman and turns him over to Bane in order stay alive - and Bane breaks Batman's back and leaves him in a prison in the middle of nowhere - the only way out is to climb out.

As Bane holds the city hostage with a nuclear weapon, he promises to finish what Ra's al Ghul started and destroy Gotham. With Batman out of commission, Gordon and Blake are all that is left to help save the city.

First off, my description above doesn't give the film justice. There was so much going on and all of it was so interesting and fit the story so well - just amazing story telling.

The film returns Bale, Michael Cane, Morgan Freeman, Oldman and another special guest that have been in all three movies and they continue to shine here. Newcomers Hardy, Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt were the main stars in this film and they were amazing.

Hardy was a great villain, and won't get the acclaims that Ledger did, but he held up this movie just fine as the villain. Sure, he wasn't the Joker, but Bane was ruthless and a great equal to Batman. Hathaway was simply amazing as Catwoman - I was a bit skeptical when I first heard she had signed on, but she played both sides of the fence to perfection - and wow did she look good. Finally, Gordon-Levitt - I can't really say much else about him, he has really become one of the best actors working today and here it was no different. So talented and he really shined in this film - even if he was just a cop.

Go see this movie - I am sure you already have. It is a great finale to Nolan's trilogy. I look forward to seeing it again.


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