Watched Jul 20, 2012
Now I'll admit, I went into this film with my hopes the size of a Mack truck. They should've been the size of twenty. Hats off to director Christopher Nolan for doing the impossible: bringing the Batman legend to a conclusion that is able to compete with The Dark Knight.
Eight years after Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes, a new underground criminal power is rising. Crippled and defeated, Bruce Wayne ignores the pleas of his friends to come back to the real world, but Gotham is about to be destroyed. The people need a hero, but perhaps the Batman isn't who they really need.
That's it. My lips are sealed. The surprise twists in the story are what make the journey of this film so much fun. Superbly written, wonderfully acted, brilliantly crafted and very engaging, The Dark Knight Rises is an epic piece of cinema that will not quickly be forgotten even if it gets snubbed by the Academy.
Many films are wrapped in an R-laced action package: perhaps sprinkled with foul language or injected with sensuality to appeal to an "adult" audience. But peeling away the layers, we rarely find messages or themes that are much more than baby formula. While we do get the slightest bit of mild language and the beginning of an intimate scene, Nolan chooses to concentrate on giving his audience the meat. There are many great directors that have made many great films, and one of Nolan's greatest qualities is his ability to tackle issues that run as deep as your worldview, giving you just enough to set your mind turning. A lot of that lies in the script, and this film is very well-written. We do get plenty of action: guns, bombs, cop chases, bridges blowing and the threat of a nuclear bomb. But between and amongst all that, you 'd better keep your ears open, because there is plenty of dialogue worth listening to.
Accompanying a great script is the superb cast. Christian Bale carries his role well, Michael Caine has a lot of excellent moments and Commissioner Gordon (Oldman) and Officer Blake (Gordon-Levitt) are heroes in the film as well. I don't think I was the only person wondering how a villain could possibly compare to Heath Ledger's Joker, but Bane (Hardy) is a strong antagonist. And it works because he is so different. With muscles even greater than Bruce Wayne's and a voice that will shake your theater seat, he is by no means weak.
Hans Zimmer's score is great. The music ranges from a "Star-Spangled Banner" child solo to lots of heavy Batman percussion, to the silence that is perfectly crafted into several of the most important moments of the film.
Though it is directed by Britain's Nolan and contains a number of foreign actors, set in the USA, this film deals with many American issues. And it is a celebration of conservative values. A lot of imagery is used throughout the film conveying important themes without being in your face at all. A shredded American flag. An angry mob.
This is the story of Batman. One of the finest film trilogies, period. Your emotions will be taken all over the spectrum: you'll be cheering for heroes, waiting on justice for evil, wondering how in the world this can possibly turn out right, gripping your seat in a police chase, held in suspense as time clicks by in a mental war, and yes, there are scenes that will bring tears to your eyes. Or you can dive deep down into philosophies and worldviews, where they lead and why one is right over the other. It's all there, you can go as far as you want.
While I won't call this a perfect film, it is a cinematic masterpiece: filmmaking at its best. After all this is what film is all about: telling a good story.
It is complete. The legend ends.