The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard
Most of the time I’m against sequels. They seems to take a story one step too far for me, which leaves me disappointed in the entire series. There are, however, some exceptions to this. The Dark Knight Rises just happens to be one of them. Christopher Nolan took on this film to complete the saga started with Batman Begins in 2005. The second film, The Dark Knight,followed in 2008. The trilogy has included stars like Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. Along the way we’ve seen great performances from Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart and of course the late Heath Ledger.
It’s been eight years since Bruce Wayne (Bale) last appeared on the streets of Gotham City. He is living as a recluse while Batman has become villain in the death of Harvey Dent. Bruce is also losing hold of the company his family started as he wallows in misery over the death of Rachel Dawes. With the ever-faithful Alfred (Caine) by his side, Bruce is forced to face the reality that her death was not the end of his life. Now he’ll have to step up as Batman as Bane (Hardy) threatens to destroy Gotham. He has the help of his old friend Lucius Fox (Freeman) to get him back into gear. He’ll also need help from some new friends, Detective Blake (Gordon-Levitt) and Catwoman (Hathaway), to get the people back on his side. As the battle for Gotham looms, Batman will need to rise again and save the city he loves.
This movie had a lot of hype to live up to. With The Dark Knight we had the tragedy over the death of Heath Ledger to accompany the release of the film. The controversy and mystery of that role ensured that the movie would have a cult following just as The Crow did after the death of Brandon Lee.
Sadly, with this film we saw a different kind of tragedy, when a lone gunman opened fire on a group of moviegoers during the opening minutes of the show. Despite this tragedy, we have seen people go back to the theaters in huge numbers. I suppose this is a powerful statement about what movies mean to our generation. I think that we will always go to the movies as an escape from the realities of life.
Taking all of the outside events out of the equation, this is a really good movie. The acting is great, and the cast is put together nicely. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the newcomers Hathaway and Cotillard. Both of these women played their parts wonderfully. Hathaway was particularly good in her conflicted role as Catwoman. The rest of the cast brought the movie together nicely. I think this might be the best performance from Bale from all three films. Caine is also incredible, bringing an emotion to Alfred that resonates throughout the story.
The visuals are also incredible. As expected, they spared no expense in the production of the film. The vehicles and stunts are all really exciting and nothing seemed to be overdone. The movie also has incredible sets that really bring the story to life. Adding in some great costumes, this movie is an overall success.
I don’t have much in terms of criticism. The story did leave some things a bit too vague at the beginning but seemed to wrap them up nicely. There are also a number of new characters introduced that seemed to overwhelm the first half of the movie. I would agree with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times who stated that “the film begins slowly with a murky plot and too many new characters, but builds to a sensational climax.”
I try to avoid spoilers, but I will say that this felt very open to a sequel. I think fans of the other films will really enjoy this one. It is a very dark movie that might not be great for young kids. The action is intense and the acting is great. I give this movie 4.4 out of 5 stars.