Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review

The Summer of 2012 had in store for us two guaranteed major movie events, both being highly anticipated since the Summer of 2008. The first of that was The Avengers which started getting fans excited since Nick Fury appeared in Iron Man in May of 2008 and after four years of anticipation which included 5 movies made to build up to this one movie, it finally came out and was made so brilliantly that it exploded the May box office, earning a huge $207M opening weekend with a domestic total of nearly $620M. The second major movie of this Summer is one that just came today and one that I am about to review. The Dark Knight Rises. The Dark Knight Rises hasn't had the crazy five movie build up like the Avengers, but rather it's majorly popular predecessor will be enough to bring it to the point to compete with Avengers totals.

Now if you read my July movie preview, you will know that I had some reservations about this movie. I don't disagree with the claims of The Dark Knight being one of the best comic book movies ever made, but I had a few issues with it that bothered me enough to be worried about this finale. The first was the romance story line. The first movie built up him and Rachel Dawson a ton and that was really awesome to me. But the second movie totally messed that up. The biggest problem was the recast of Rachel. Now Katie Holmes leaving the series was one of those things that was out of their hands, but they did a poor recasting job with Maggie Gyllenhaal. Not only was her acting not great, but her character was poorly written and didn't hold a candle to Katie Holmes's Rachel. Then on top of that, after building up that romance line for a movie and a half, they blow her up. Those two aspects combined upset me and I was nervous that they would then add in a poorly done, forced romance in the final movie. Aspect number two that worried me a bit was the fact that The Dark Knight was just so dark. The whole movie was a string of terrible things happening to batman that was only partially reconciled with the Joker being caught and the people on the boats not blowing each other up. Now I realize that this could be just a Empire Strikes Back type of second movie where the middle movie has a bunch of bad things happen while the third movie clears everything up and if that was the case I would be fine with it, but I had the worry that because Christopher Nolan likes the dark, unhappy endings that there was a possibility of this ending darkly to send some sort of message and I wouldn't know what to think if that happened. Finally, I was worried about Anne Hathaway being casted as Catwoman. I thought that had disaster written all over it.

Now bringing those things up doesn't spoil anything, those were just my main concerns. Yes, I did just spoil the Dark Knight, but I don't feel bad about that one at all. It's been four years since it came out. So how did things turn out? Well to be completely honest, I don't feel I can say a whole lot. This movie is one that you have to just watch. It becomes more epic when you have the element of surprise to go along with everything. But since I can't just end the review like that I will make an attempt to say what I have to say without spoiling anything while being as vague as possible. But I will leave you the option of stopping right now. If I accidentally say something that you don't think I should've said, it is not my fault anymore. You were warned and advised to not continue.

With that in mind, let's carry on and address my concerns. First, the romance. By looking solely at the cast, you know that there will be one of four things that will happen. Fans of the batman comics will notice that they have Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Miranda Tate both in this movie. So your first option will be a hookup with Selina. Option two is a hookup with Miranda. Option three is that they have another minor female character that he hooks up with. Finally, option four is that there is no romance story at all. I will not tell you which one it is, but I will just say that I was happy with what they chose to do. Second concern, the ending. I'm not even going to go there. I'll just say that it is a very epic and awesome ending. Final concern, Anne Hathaway. Like I said, going in to this movie, I wasn't at all happy with the fact that Anne Hathaway was cast as Catwoman. Then I watched the movie. And oh my goodness, she is so awesome. Possibly the perfect Catwoman. Catwoman in the comics is this sexy, sly, mysterious, yet awesome character that you never know if she is good or bad because she is often a little bit of both. Anne Hathaway was spot on with her performance in portraying this and I have to publicly apologize that I was so harsh and negative towards her being casted in this movie.

Now with my concerns out of the way, time to look at other things. First off, Bane. So totally awesome. After Tom Hardy's performance in Inception and Warrior, I was a huge fan of him and once again he strikes gold. After such a good performance by Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight, it is hard to imagine that anything Nolan tries would live up to that, but Bane surprisingly does. He is sick and ridiculous in a super awesome way. Bane in the comics is certainly much different than Joker. Joker is a thug who is almost a mafia leader type. Bane is a brutal, strong, and very evil character that gives Batman more trouble than almost any other villain in the comics. Sadly Bane has never been portrayed well on the big screens and thus only the comic book fans would know about him, but in this movie his crazy awesome comic book character is finally given justice on the big screen. And the cool thing about Tom Hardy portraying him is that it doesn't even look or sound like Tom Hardy at all, which means we give Hardy some major props for being a versatile actor. Now other good things about the movie, the whole cast is great, as you would expect from such a star studded lineup. I mean, when your cast includes Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cane, Liam Neesen, and Cillian Murphey in addition to others it's hard to go wrong. Thematically the movie was genius. There are a lot of different themes that are included in this trilogy and this third installment does a great job of tying it all together. Going along with that, musical themes from all movies in the trilogy are used and that it great.

All this said, this isn't a perfect movie. It's 2 hours a 45 minutes long and quite honestly they should've shaved off 15 to 20 minutes. Most of that being from the beginning. The movie decided to introduce several new characters and they spent probably a whole hour at the beginning introducing characters and setting the scene for the movie and that got a little boring because some of the scenes seemed forced and/or useless. There is a time in the movie where Batman isn't in the movie for nearly half an hour due to him being overshadowed by the story line of Bane and Gotham City, which in a Batman movie might bother some. Some dialogue in it isn't that great. Also I thought Marion Collitard's character was almost completely useless. They could've possibly done without her. There are other things as well, some of which I can't say because it would spoil it and others I am just choosing not to mention, but for the most part it is several small nitpicky things, nothing extremely huge and bothersome.

Overall, this is a great movie. A must see. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Avengers, but it was certainly close and was in my opinion the best movie of the trilogy. Now that this trilogy has been complete I can easily put it in the top 5 trilogies of all time and even possibly third best behind Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Individually, I give The Dark Knight Rises a 9 out of 10.

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