Pacing is a very important element of filmmaking. It's possible to effectively tell a story through a series of brief scenes or even just a sequence of still shots, but get it wrong and it can undermine the entire experience. If you have more plot, characters, themes and action sequences than your film's running time would comfortably allow then you could end up falling foul of bad pacing. Despite being rather long, The Dark Knight Rises is burdened with an abundance of all of these things and, in an attempt to fit them in, Nolan pushes a little too hard on the accelerator peddle. In a pure action movie this fast pace can feel exhilarating, where the key emotions that need to be stirred in the viewer are wonder and excitement. However, should you also want your audience to feel the full spectrum of emotions that would allow them to be draw into your story, a more balanced approach is required. There are other side effects when racing through a story at this pace. Dialogue becomes stifled and truncated or, worse still, dumps of expositional information. Relationships are not given the space to develop and breathe. Character actions take place in seemingly unrealistic timeframes, so complex tasks or long journeys are completed instantly which can be confusing or unintentionally comical.
This is the biggest problem I have with The Dark Knight Rises, it's a tragedy that this huge misstep kept me at arms length for the majority of the film – a film I was more than ready to enjoy the hell out of.
However, much like this Summer's other big disappointment, Prometheus, there are parts of The Dark Knight Rises that are pretty terrific. But while I enjoyed Ridley's Alien prequel, for the most part, in the cinema mainly due to how ace it looked, I didn't get the same satisfaction from this and instead of it unravelling as I thought about it afterwards, The Dark Knight Rises improved a little with time to ponder. As I've mentioned before, I love Batman as the classic monster terrorising the criminals of Gotham in Batman Begins, so Bane turned out to be an interesting mirror to that persona and echoed a lot of Bruce Wayne's personal struggle. Like Bane, Bruce is unable to remove his mask, but instead of keeping him alive it's actually destroying him as he becomes a victim of his own creation. Rachael might have given him hope of a better life after the Batman had cleaned up the city, but that wasn't what Bruce ultimately needed. He needed somebody to save him from the monster, Selina Kyle managing to do what his loved ones, Rachael and Alfred, could not. I also enjoyed the grooming of Batman's replacement, seeing the moments that would mould Robin into the caped crusader gave the film a Batman Begins Again plot line that wasn't too hampered by the general off pacing even though it made the final outcome feel overly signposted.
The two highlights I took away from actually watching the film had to be Selina Kyle on the Bat Pod and her all too brief team up with Batman, along with Bane physically destroying him – the most powerful moment in a sadly disappointing end to the saga.