The Dark Knight Rises is an excellent conclusion to probably the best superhero movie saga in terms of quality. Rises is not a perfect movie and it’s not as fun as The Avengers but Rises still satisfies. Director Christopher Nolan made this movie is a final love letter to loyal Bat fans while remaining dramatically accessible.
Rises is about the nature of heroism. In the final chapter of the Dark Knight Trilogy, Bane executes a major plan to take over Gotham City (Pittsburgh with a coastline!). Bane, built like a classic pro wrestler, shows great cunning in his power grab. Meanwhile, catburglar Selina Kyle prefers, initially, to take whatever valuables she targets.
What about Bruce Wayne? He’s not the man he used to be after leaving the Batman identity behind eight years after Harvey Dent’s death. After meeting Selina, Bruce eventually gains the non-stop fighting spirit and gets into the suit again.
Will Bruce Wayne finally become the hero Gotham needs? Batman takes his ultimate test defending Gotham while meeting intriguing personalities like rookie cop John Blake and the wealthy Miranda Tate. As usual, Wayne gets crucial support from Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, and Lucius Fox.
Rises puts in as much mythology as it can with everything established from Batman Begins & The Dark Knight. For example, there’s that “Knightfall” moment Bat-fans will recognize. Rises emphasizes the importance of heroism and sacrifice. It does so to the point where Batman doesn’t stand out at times, but I wasn’t bothered. The Nolanverse Batman has always been treated as a limited-time deal. Especially in Rises where the stakes being raised could’ve made a lesser man feel like less than nothing.
Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman are very comfortable and confident in their roles. Poorer-quality actors would’ve made the dramatic moments cheesier. Thomas Hardy is a great Bane but I didn’t like the odd Sean Connery-like voice the character uses. I haven’t seen much of Anne Hathaway’s body of work, but she works hard making a memorable Catwoman and worthy, playful rival to Bruce Wayne. I’m digging those “cat’s ears.” Marion Coutillard and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt are significant, but never annoying, newcomers who make their way into Batman’s life. The cameos in Rises are very welcome, too.
The special effects are great because they’re applied practically and not used to simply look cool. The action sequences involving the Bat-vehicles are done well, but they aren’t my personal highlight. I prefer the interplay among the characters.
Rises ebbs slightly in the middle part during the aftermath of Batman’s fight with Bane. I get the point Nolan’s making but it could’ve been a few minutes shorter. Also, anyone attentive to Bat-lore during the movie can guess one major revelation.
Rises will draw debates in comparison to The Avengers through the summer movie season. Avengers deftly balances humor and drama, but Rises keeps its drama, lower-key humor, and special effects in fine harmony. Rises is a “can’t miss” for anyone seeking superhero movies and anyone who wants to see the highs and lows of heroism. Nolan’s Batman trilogy, lacking a weak link, is highly recommended.
Thank you for reading my review. Here’s Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt singing. (action really starts at about 2:48)