Friday, March 25, 2016

Movie Review: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)

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Movie"The Dark Knight Rises"
Director: Christopher Nolan
Year: 2012
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 44 minutes

After the death of Harvey Dent, the new Dent Act has empowered the police to clean up Gotham. However, after being blamed for Dent's death, Batman (Christian Bale) has retired and his alter ego Bruce Wayne has become a recluse. Now, a new scourge has come to Gotham in the form of a mercenary named Bane (Tom Hardy), who throws the city into chaos and draws the Dark Knight out of retirement.

"The Dark Knight Rises" is the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the one we wish would have never ended. This film had a very lofty and high benchmark set by its predecessor "The Dark Knight" to try and live up to, and though this does fall a bit short of that kind of greatness, that doesn't make it unsuccessful. This is actually a very excellent movie in its own right, and even though many people would fight us on this issue, we love the film. Christian Bale returns as Batman, who is now retired with a broken down body due to years of fighting crime. Bruce Wayne has become reclusive and hasn't made a public appearance in years. Wayne straddles the line between retirement and wanting to get back into action very well, and we watch him strengthen himself in many creative ways to get back to fighting crime in Gotham. Bale, as always, is great. New to the cast is Anne Hathaway, who plays Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, a master thief trying to find a way to scrub her record. Catwoman operates within a gray area. She is a criminal, but often wishes to do right in the world. Even though she can and does float between good and evil, the new primary villain is Bane, played miraculously by Tom Hardy. Bane is one of Batman's toughest adversaries. He is a stronger, more agile version of Batman with the same training through the League of Shadows. This is the second time Bane has been seen in a Batman film. The first time was in Joel Schumacher's "Batman & Robin," who made Bane a mindless thug who only grunted and smashed things. Nolan, however, treats the character with far more respect, making him just as clever as he is strong, and though not a 100% faithful adaptation to his comic book roots, he is light years better than the atrocity given to us by Schumacher. Batman might need to find an ally in his new thief friend to defeat this strikingly powerful enemy.

There is some great action in "The Dark Knight Rises," along with some compelling storytelling. The movie is also very well paced and keeps us engaged despite being one the longest if not the longest comic book movie ever made. There are some who will find flaws in its story, but when it comes down to it, we never felt bored, and we never disliked its grim storytelling. Instead, we thrive on Nolan's expert vision of the series and its conclusion. The acting is pretty strong for the most part. We love Tom Hardy, and his performance as Bane is dominating. As good as Hardy is, no one could ever eclipse Heath Ledger as The Joker from "The Dark Knight." Filling the villain slot after such a memorable cinematic performance was a tremendous undertaking, but we think he is excellent as Bane. Marion Cotillard is also in this film and does a good enough job with what she's given, even though we do get a chuckle out of one scene in particular involving the Oscar winning actress for being a little too artificial. Some of the voices, including Bale's Batman grumble, does come off as extremely annoying by now. Though many have exclaimed they don't like Bane's compacted, gravelly voice, it never really bothered us, though the sound mixing on it could have been better as his voice and speech seems much louder than that of everyone else.

Despite these minor flaws, we still find this film to be massively enjoyable and a worthwhile end to Nolan's Batman trilogy. His more grim tone, his attention to detail, and his use of practical effects over heavy CGI have made this one of our favorite film series. Bale was a fantastic choice for the Dark Knight, and we were almost always impressed with what was put on screen.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "Glengarry Glen Ross"

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