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The Dark Knight Rises – Movie Review (05.01.2013)

Published on January 7, 2013, by in Reviews.

The Dark Knight Rises – Movie Review (05.01.2013)

Review of The Dark Knight Rises (2012) by director Christopher Nolan

The Dark Knight Rises (Blu-ray cover)Story:

Harvey Dent has gone and Batman took all the blame for his crimes. After all his battles with the underworld Batman aka Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a physically and psychologically broken man. He never got over the death of his childhood love Rachel. Nowadays Bruce spends most of his time alone in his mansion. He has become a loner. The crusade as Batman seems to have broken him mentally. He even has to walk on a cane.

But then a new darkness takes over Gotham. The terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) conquers Gotham and brings the reformed league of shadows with him. There is also Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a mysterious woman who seems to be on no one’s side. Will the Batman be broken or is it time that The Dark Knight Rises once again?

My Take:

First let’s get it out of the way: I am a big Batman fanboy. I love Batman, Batman Returns and also Batman Begins and especially The Dark Knight. The latter is one of my favourite superhero movies of all time. Yet, I don’t really feel much love for The Dark Knight Rises. In my opinion it is a letdown which does not hold up to the first two parts of the trilogy. Many reviewers seem to disagree, though.

Let’s start with the obvious: Bane is not half as exciting as the Joker was. While Heath Ledger gave a great performance as the Joker, Hardy disappoints as Bane. Like Ledger he tries to give his villain a distinct voice. The result sounds like a character from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Instead of threatening Bane’s voice comes off as extremely campy. But this is not the biggest weakness of The Dark Knight Rises. There are so many illogical events in the script. It’s hard to keep count. For example the relationship between Bruce Wayne and the idealistic cop Blake ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt) comes out of nowhere:

Spoiler 1
Okay first Nolan tells us via exposition how withdrawn and private Bruce Wayne has become. Then Blake visits him, tells him he figured out his secret identity. Blake also reveals he feels Bruce should return to being Batman. Whoa! A complete stranger figured out Batman’s true identity??? This seems hard to digest for a  man who already is paranoid, doesn’t it? Well, in the movie Bruce just goes like this “Okay, dude. I don’t know you at all. But hey okay, I will be Batman again. Never thought of it myself. Thanks pal!

I really hated that. The same can be said for the development of the relationship between Selina Kyle and Bruce in The Dark Knight Rises:

Spoiler 2
Selina hands Batman to Bane on a plate. Seemingly she has no problem with Batman being trapped and tortured by Bane. Yet when Batman is free again for no apparent reason he thinks Selina can be a hero, too. He goes like “Ah, you almost got me killed – no problem! I don’t know why but I think you are great!”

That makes NO sense at all! It is as if Bruce was thinking with some other part of his body but surely not his brain. Yet, I have to say that Anne Hathaway was a great addition to the cast. She handled her part much better than Tom Hardy.

But there were two more things I really hated about The Dark Knight Rises. First I despised how they made a fool out of Gordon:

Spoiler 3
Come on! Blake figured out that Bruce Wayne / Batman are the same guy in no time. Yet, James Gordon is completely taken by surprise when Batman reveals who he is? This is just a punch to the face to the character. In the comics it is often implied that James Gordon knows who Batman really is. But out of respect for him he never talks about it. Bruce Wayne even says that Gordon is too good of a cop NOT to know Bruce Wayne is Batman. In the movie they make Blake the supercop who can do everything and Gordon now looks like a dumbass. I feel the Nolan brothers almost made fun of the character.

Yet, there is one thing I really hated much more. And that is the ending of The Dark Knight Rises. It felt completely out of character. Out of character for the Batman I know and love from the comics and out of character for the Batman Nolan portrayed in the first two movies:

Spoiler 4
Batman just quits his mission to live a calm life. This is the one thing the dark knight would never truly do. In the comics he calls the war against crime his “mission”. He is a soldier. Crime does not quit and neither does he. Nolan’s version may be different from the graphic novels. But even in the first two movies Batman never felt like such a slacker. Also: He retires with the one woman that tried to kill him earlier. Yeah, makes much sense. And of course a worldwide celebrity billionare choses to frequent public cafés only weeks after his alleged death ;-) .

Even more out of character and extremely irresponsbile was, that he just handed the batcave to Blake. Blake never received the hard training Bruce had to endure. He is not suited for the job at all! So Bruce abandons his mission and gives it to someone who clearly is not ready for it. He puts Blake’s life in extreme danger with this. This is so extremely out of character for Batman, I can hardly express how much I hated this ending

Well, these were only some parts I despise about The Dark Knight Rises. I also thought the plot twist was not really one as I saw it coming pretty early on. Bane’s whole plan about that secret Waynetech weapon also seemed lazy. It was too similar to the villain plot of Batman Begins. It was also hard to get over the fact that Bruce seemed to be completely over the death of his parents. Instead he know mourns Rachel’s death much more.

Still there were also some things that saved The Dark Knight Rises from becoming a total desaster: The budget really shows onscreen and I was surprised how good Anne Hathaway was as Selina Kyle. The action scenes were well done, too. Though there was nothing as spectacular as the car chase scene with the Joker in The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight Rises had a similar effect on me as Spider-Man 3: It is no bad movie per se but far inferior to the movies that came before it.

My score is 5/10

 

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