Batman: The Dark Knight Rises (BTDKR) is the perfect conclusion to the story that Chris and Jonathan Nolan started in 2004’s Batman Begins.
To be clear, I wasn’t excited about seeing this film. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first two. They are both excellent films, but this was not my Batman. I didn’t even plan on seeing it in the theatre. We didn’t have the kids for the weekend and I had taken a nap and woke up and decided it would be a good time to go to the movies. What’s playing? BTDKR was the closest to anything I wanted to see that was playing locally.
While BTDKR is the third film in the trilogy, it is really the sequel to Batman Begins. If you haven’t seen Batman: The Dark Knight, you could read the wikipedia article and be prepared for BTDKR. Then again, you can pick up both Batman Begins and Batman: The Dark Knight for $10 in Blu Ray each or somewhere around $6 in DVD.
There were a number of pleasant and unexpected twists. They play the Ra’s Al Ghul elements really well. Tom Hardy is very Banelike. He’s huge, skilled, and incredibly intelligent. The developments at Wayne Enterprises were full of intrigue and were handled well.
There is very much a Hero’s Journey angle to the story. They very much break Bruce Wayne and he has to rebuild himself as he has many times in the comics. There is another character who also goes through his own Hero’s Journey. John Blake while a hero throughout the movie is resisting a call to action. He goes through the whole cycle by the end of the movie.
Points in Favor
- This is the closest to the Batman of the comics that Chris Nolan has gotten. This time he got it completely right and made a great Chris Nolan film at the same time.
- Anne Hathaway makes a great Catwoman. Hathaway brings the right balance of sex appeal and
- Tom Hardy makes a great Bane.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job in the role of John Blake. I can’t say too much about his role, but in many ways this film is John Blake’s story. It’s about the man he has become and the man he has yet to be.
- After seeing Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon for the third time, I’m not sure I ever want to see any one else in the role. For me he is Jim Gordon.
- The plot twists. There are so many potential spoilery elements it’s difficult to write a decent review without giving them away. Like most Chris Nolan films BTDKR is full of twists and turns that you don’t see coming.
- The new Batmobile, or rather The Bat, which is Batman’s flying Batmobile. I love that they did a possible Batmobile that flies.
- It is difficult to hear some of the dialogue. From Bane speaking from behind his mask to Christian Bale talking like he has laryngitis while in the Batman costume to Jim Gordon mumbling everything he says while in the hospital, they really seemed to go out of the way to make you try to hear what was said.
- Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. To do the things she was doing, she really should have been a more athletically built woman. It’s again not a huge issue, but it bothered me a little.
- They chose to go with the origin of Catwoman from Batman: Year One. While I don’t like that version of her origin, it provides an interesting motivation for the character.
Read them before or after. It really depends on what you want your movie viewing experience to be like.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
- Bane vs Batman
- Batman: The Son of the Demon
- Batman: Year One
- Batman: Knightfall
Recommendation: HOT BUY! It’s definitely worth seeing. It’s both a great Batman film and a great Chris Nolan film. They definitely got it right with this one. And even better, it’s not in 3D.
Sidebar: Due to the tragic event in Colorado at the premiere, they had law enforcement officers at the entrance to the theatre. I had my messenger bag with me. I don’t like to leave my iPad in my truck. One of the officers came over and asked to look in my bag. I opened it and he asked what that was. I told him it was my iPad. He thanked me and went back to his post. The ironic thing is there were two other pockets that could have contained something that they wouldn’t want me to bring into a theatre. Also he didn’t look in or at the case I keep my bluetooth keyboard in. The case could have very easily concealed a weapon. I didn’t have a problem with them looking in my bag. I don’t use my bag to sneak snacks into the theatre. It’s just that the illusion of security is worse than no security.