Dark Knight Rises Review

poster from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

Batman Begins is one of my favorite movies of all time, but The Dark Knight disappointed me. With a 2 hour 44 minute running time, I was worried the third and final entry in Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot would be more of the same convoluted rambing that put me off of The Dark Knight. It didn’t help that the trailers were maddeningly tight lipped about the plot, which usually means it’s too complicated to sum up.

The city of Gotham falls prey to a masked villain named Bane as it anxiously awaits the return of the vilified vigilante known as the Batman.

But of course I went to the movie anyway because it’s Batman and I love Batman. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this movie was far superior to The Dark Kight and almost on par with Batman Begins: simple, direct, tight – The Dark Knight Rises was the perfect end to the trilogy.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot I can tell you about the plot of The Dark Knight Rises without giving away some pretty cool twists. The gist of it is that it’s eight years after The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has retired the Bat Suit and is living as a crippled recluse in his own home like Howard Hughes in his crazy phase.

Bruce Wayne as an old recluse from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

Like it wouldn’t be at all suspicious that Bruce and Batman disappeared at the same time.

Enter Bane (Tom Hardy), a mercenary turned supervillain who looks, sounds, and acts like Darth Vader. And what an entrance it is! The Bane-on-a-hijacked-airplane scene is probably the coolest and most memorable part of the movie.

Bane and his goons hijack a plane in mid air from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

If this is not really possible, I don’t want to hear about it.

Bane also dispenses with his goons as casually as Vader ever did, snapping their necks left and right if they so much as sneeze while he’s giving his big evil speeches, so I guess it must be pretty easy to find good hired help in the supervillain world. Perhaps they come mass-produced on a factory line.

Bane snaps the neck of his goon from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

Before I snap your neck, please go on Amazon and order your replacement.

Bane takes over Gotham and turns the city into a giant chaotic social experiment. People are free to do as they like, robbing from the rich and giving to themselves like it’s Christmas. It’s kind of like the grown up version of Lord of the Flies, but with more humungous ticking time bombs to keep the National Guard in line.

Bane leads a mob of mercenaries from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

We want the conch shell! Give us the conch shell!

Gotham P.D., here represented by Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), a young rookie named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Foley (Matthew Modine) a vigilante-hating goon who clings to the lie that Batman murdered the city’s hero Harvey Dent, do their best to stop Bane. This mostly consists of getting their asses handed to them.

Commissioner Gordon in trouble from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

Oh Jesus, oh God! How the hell do I get myself into these situations?!

And Batman, who has taken on mythical status among the city’s kids, is once again required to clean up the mess, even though the cops would rather eat their own hats than ask him for help. This upsets Alfred (Michael Caine), Bruce Wayne’s butler/only friend, who feels Bruce’s time could be put to better use in getting into the pants of a woman, like the lovely philanthropist Miranda (Marion Cotillard).

Bruce and Alfred confer in the bat cave from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

ALFRED: I’d set you up with a chimpanzee if I thought it would get you back out in the world.
BRUCE: Sorry, I’m already married to my Kevlar.

Oh, and there’s another player in town, a lithe cat burglar named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) who may or may not be working for the bad guys depending on what part of the movie it is.

catwoman takes the bat cycle from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

And now I will steal your motorbike. Sorry.

Possibly the best part about this movie, though, is that Fox (Morgan Freeman), Batman’s gadget maker over at Wayne Enterprises, has made him an amazingly awesome urban combat helicopter prototype called “the Bat,” presumably for use on his next heli-skiing excursion, and I want one.

The Bat urban combat helicopter from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

FOX: “And yes, it does come in black.”

Christopher Nolan made it abundantly clear that this was going to be the ABSOLUTE FINAL LAST Batman movie he made, so my friend Matt and I had a bet over whether or not Batman would die. I won’t tell you which side I took but I will tell you that about a half hour into the movie, I knew I was going to lose. So be warned – if you have super storywriter powers, you might figure out the last scene before you see it. I also figured out half of another important plot twist very early on, but again you should be safe if you’re not a writer yourself.

Bane and Batman square off from the Legendary Pictures film Dark Knight Rises

Just focus on the hitting. You’ll be fine.

So obviously, if you’ve been reading closely for the last few paragraphs, you know that I’m going to tell you to go see Dark Knight Rises. Don’t worry about watching the other two immediately beforehand (or at all). Even if you’re new to the series they explain any references they make to the older movies so you won’t feel left out. It’s a bit violent for children, but that didn’t stop most of the people I saw when I went to see it, so what the hell! Bring the whole family! Just be aware that Bane is scary enough to give your under-tens nightmares.

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