Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises
Jul 21, 2012 / 7:00 am
Anyone that knows me is well aware of how much I was looking forward to the final instalment in Christopher Nolan's mammoth trilogy of Batman films, The Dark Knight Rises.
The big question is: does it live up to my lofty expectations?
Well, not entirely, and I find myself a little conflicted and frustrated having to say that because it makes it sound like I was disappointed in the film. I'm not, the film was quite incredible, however I had one overriding issue with my viewing experience and it diminished my enjoyment somewhat.
The problem was the sound mixing. I don't know what happened but the acoustic balance between the dialogue and composer Hans Zimmer's non-stop constantly pounding musical score cannot possibly be what Nolan and his collaborators intended. I literally couldn't hear some of the crucial dialogue moments as the voices seemed so low that I had to strain to make out what was barely audible. This may seem like something nit picky to some of you but you have to understand how hyped I was to experience every facet of this film to the utmost of its ability. I am primarily a fan of good storytelling and part of that is being able to understand what is happening at all times and unfortunately at times things became a little muddled.
Ok, now that I've got that little rant out of my system I'll tell you what you want to hear. The Dark Knight Rises is a massive spectacle of epic proportions that is a fitting end to the trilogy. It's full of great propulsive action with enormous set pieces that boggle the mind and dazzle you with their technical proficiency. If you want eye candy then you've definitely come to the right place.
I want to keep this review entirely spoiler free so I won't go into great detail about the plot. Basically it's been eight years since Batman has appeared in Gotham City following the death of DA Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse never leaving his mansion. When a vicious and ruthless terrorist named Bane invades Gotham and essentially holds the entire city hostage, Bruce is forced to don the costume once again and become the caped crusader in order to save the citizens of Gotham.
Christian Bale once again does a fabulous job portraying Bruce Wayne/Batman as a brooding individual haunted by his past. He can't seem to get over the death of his girlfriend Rachel and he seems to harbour guilt and resentment about it. Tom Hardy is frightening as the brutal Bane. He exudes an air of superiority and strength that make everyone quake in their boots. We're not given a ton of backstory on him but he is a scary presence whenever he's on camera. He is much more of a physical menace to Batman than the Joker was, however nowhere near as interesting as a character. Heath Ledger's Joker is just iconic and can't possibly be topped.
Also joining the fray to give Batman a headache is Anne Hathaway, who plays Selina Kyle (otherwise known as Catwoman - although never referred to as such in the film). Hathaway is wonderful as the seductive enigma whose motivations are always walking a fine line between good and bad. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really solid as John Blake, an idealistic young cop who believes in Batman's cause and wants to do whatever he can to aid in the battle against evil. He is a very likable character who ends up becoming fairly integral to the story by the end. Also reprising their roles and doing a fine job once again are Michael Caine as Alfred the butler, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman as the brilliant inventor Lucius Fox.
Even though Christopher Nolan tries to cram a lot into the plot so as to make it somewhat convoluted and the tone is constantly somber and foreboding where you wish someone would just smile once and create some levity, The Dark Knight Rises is still top level entertainment full of bombastic magnificence. There are some truly memorable scenes and moments of visual splendour that will surely thrill any fan of this series.
While not a masterpiece like The Dark Knight was, I still highly recommend seeing the last chapter of this fabulous trilogy.
I give The Dark Knight Rises a 9 out of 10.
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