Isaac Klak’s review published on Letterboxd:
While it isn’t a bad film “The Dark Knight Rises” is an immensely disappointing finale to the Dark Knight trilogy. Instead of being more of a crime movie like the first two this chapter seems much more of a normal blockbuster trying to convince us that it is profound.
The first twenty minutes are by far the strongest of the film, it starts out with a creative set piece, which is not a sign of what is to come for the rest of the action is very uninspired. Then we get a look at Gotham eight years after “The Dark Knight” and the city is prospering due to the Dent Act that is keeping the streets clean. The film shows that Gotham looks at the fallen Dent as a source of hope, similarly to how Batman was viewed earlier. This shows the power a symbol can have in a society and raises the question does it matter if a symbol is made from a lie even if it is inspiring good. Yet these ideas are quickly lost as the film descends to the level of the normal summer movie.
In this film the main villain is Bane, played by Hardy, and while he does not match the masterwork of Ledger in the previous film he delivers a strong performance. The character of Bane on the other hand is very weak and uninspired. His main plan is to give Gotham back to the poor, an idea that could be interesting, but they only scratch the surface of this idea. Also his actions seem counter productive in that he simultaneously wants to destroy Gotham for being so corrupt, an idea that worked in the first, but this film doesn’t add to it at all so it is nothing we didn’t get in the first film.
Unlike the previous installment this movie spends lots of time focusing on physical strength. The villain is a villain because of his physical dominance and Bruce Wayne is struggling to his lack of physical strength. This idea of strength being the determining factor in who win will and who will lose is very generic, and is a large step down from the use of hope and manipulation that gave characters power in the first two films.
As we have come to expect from Nolan films the look of the film is amazing, yet doesn’t fit the tone of the series like the first two did. For the palette of the film is very clean and bright, which clashes with the despair the film seemed to be going for.
The film also lacks a compelling story in any way, and defaults to a race against time to prevent the city from getting blown up. As always when there is so much to lose in a film like this the stakes seem lowered for you know that they will succeed. Unlike “The Dark Knight” where the risk is lower, which creates higher stakes for there is that possibility that not everything goes as planned.
The biggest surprise in the film is Anne Hathaway as Catwomen. Contrary to many expectations this does not come of as cheesy and ridiculous, but instead she is one of the most compelling characters in the film. Hathaway delivers a great performance and her character’s moral is one of the more fascinating aspects of the film.
Despite its faults it is still fun to spend time in the world Nolan has created, and that is what untimely saves the film from being the disaster it could have been. Also the film suffers from the strength of its predecessor, yet still if the “The Dark Knight” been average this would remain an insufficient ending to an incredibly great trilogy.