The Dark Knight is my favorite movie of all time. It is one of those films that is nigh perfect; with excellent acting all around, stunning cinematography and direction, a witty and clever script, and a layered and meaningful story that everyone can get into. It received numerous prestigious nominations and awards, a lauded performance of the famous Joker character by Heath Ledger, and acclaim from all corners of the critical world. Naturally, the sequel was highly anticipated. Did it live up to the expectations?
I’ll be straight up and answer: No. It was not as good as The Dark Knight. Hold the phone; I didn’t say it was bad. And I know that I say I hate making comparisons between films, but I don’t mind so much in this case, as I consider Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy as a single entity and therefore are needed to see how cohesive the three films stood together. With that said, Rises had a very different reactionary feel to it.
I’m afraid I won’t be talking about the acting that much this time as I’m fairly sure you all know by this point that Nolan’s movies always featured superb acting from everyone. Instead, I’m just going to mention quickly that you better clean out your ears before seeing it. Almost everyone either mumbles through their lines or has a really thick accent. Bane’s voice effect especially was difficult to understand at times.
Visually, the film is beautiful. This may seem like a strange thing to say, but the film truly looked like a comic book brought to life. Every scene had a dynamic and stylized look to it, reminding me of the many city shots or pictures from the Batman comics. I honestly started seeing the movie through panels. As cliché it is to say, Gotham was just as much a character as the rest of the cast. It had a life to it, and you can feel it dying as the movie progressed. It was crying out for its hero that cared for it the most.
The story this time around deviated a lot from what one would expect from a superhero film. For the majority of the movie, things are very bleak and somber as Batman is the most broken physically and mentally out of the three films. It really didn’t feel like a superhero movie, despite reminding me of one in terms of visuals. After a while, you completely forget you’re even watching a Batman movie. Is that a good or a bad thing? Eh, I’ll leave it up to you.
To be perfectly honest, my initial impressions of the movie after seeing it were that I didn’t really like nor enjoyed it. I felt both physically and mentally exhausted from viewing it. I felt beaten down by the movie and lacked the ability to properly critique it. I think that was the point, because after clearing my head with some fresh air and rest, I began liking the film a lot more. The film’s events were like Bane and we, the audience, were Batman as it beat us down to the point of despair. And, much like Batman himself in the movie, we had to rise again. I felt rather exhilarated afterward, thinking rather highly of the movie as the more I thought about it. Either that or my first midnight screening left me really friggin’ tired.
Either way, the film just keeps on building and building on top of itself until its huge and powerful climax that leaves the audience breathless as it unfolds before us. My mouth wouldn’t stay closed from watching it all. Rises was a very emotionally taxing film.
However, I do have to say that its story wasn’t as particularly thought out as the previous two films. I’m not saying that it wasn’t as deep; it definitely was and you can spend years analyzing it much like The Dark Knight was. The problem was that, outside of perfectly capturing the emotional feel that it was going for, it had elements that either were unneeded or spent too much time on. For instance, the first half hour felt very long and boring. It took its time to get to the meat of the film and without being amusing enough to keep our attention. Afterward, however, I was happily punched to the theater floor by the movie. It also felt like the character of Selina Kyle/Catwoman wasn’t really needed for this. It was like Nolan had to feature a love interest for Batman that he went with the longtime favorite couple of those two. Admittedly, I am one of those fans, but in terms of story I didn’t really think her character had to be in this.
With all that said and done, was The Dark Knight Rises a good movie? Oh hell yeah it was! If a movie is able to make a viewer feel so strongly that they are unable to think straight afterward, I’d say it was doing something right.
For the end of the Caped Crusader, I give a:
4.5 out of 5
– Visually spectacular
– A deeply layered story that you could spend years looking into
– A truly cinematic experience that brings out powerful emotions
– It’s Batman!
– Some elements were either unneeded or dragged out too long
– Very hard to understand or follow some scenes due to actors not speaking clearly
– Doesn’t really feel like a superhero movie, though this is a really minor gripe
Recommendation: Must See!
If you truly enjoyed or even loved the Dark Knight Trilogy so far, The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect cap for it. It doesn’t really live up to its predecessor, but that couldn’t have been a better way to let Batman’s legacy end.
Before I end, I would like to dedicate this review to those that were tragically lost or injured in the Aurora, Colorado shooting at a theater for the midnight screening of this film. May they rest in peace and may justice be served to the gunman responsible. Please support them in anyway possible. Thank you.
The Dark Knight Rises was produced by Legendary Pictures, Syncopy Films, and DC Comics, and distributed by Warner Bros.