The Dark Knight Rises

I was five when I first saw Tim Burton’s Batman. At that age, I had no idea that the film was based on a comic book, or that it was meant to be the antithesis of a campy ‘60s TV show. All I remember is the score and the funny guy who played the Joker. To this day, Batman and its slightly campier but still enjoyable sequel Batman Returns remain high on my favorites list. Maybe that’s why I found The Dark Knight Rises so strange — namely because it closes out a trilogy that is supposed to be the antithesis to my beloved Burton films. Going for grit and semirealism, The Dark Knight Rises is a fun ride, but not entirely satisfying. At nearly three hours, the movie barrels along, pausing only a few times for the odd monologue from old friends (such as the fantastic Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon), or new faces (like the idealistic cop played earnestly by Joseph Gordon Levitt). It’s one big ball of tension, helped by a nonstop — and occasionally over-the-top — score by Hans Zimmer. Like most people, my favorite part of the Batman franchise are the villains. While it’s hard to top the awesomely weird, unforgettable performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises fell flat in the villain department. Everyone was interested to see Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Catwoman. Hathaway was fine, but she is something of a non-entity in this film. I know what they were going for — a character closer to recent comic versions. But with no sex appeal, no goals or fleshed-out motivations, Catwoman is just an annoying burglar who can be, well, a little catty. Bane is the real villain, a beefy terrorist threatening to blow up Gotham City. A facial injury left him unable to breathe without a mask (straight out of Mortal Kombat), and that makes for the second biggest mistake in the movie. To compensate for actor Tom Hardy’s garbled Sean Connery-lite brogue, director Christopher Nolan chose to overzealously dub Bane’s voice. For a movie that takes itself really seriously (and wants us to do the same), one would think that someone would correct the awful sound editing. I won’t say the plot is bad; even though it is a bit silly, this is a superhero film after all. No, the biggest mistake Nolan makes is taking the series out in a vague, ultimately unsatisfying way. I won’t spoil you, but once you see the movie, you’ll know what I mean. The Dark Knight Rises is a major blockbuster film, and has every right to be. The last act is thrilling, the performances are solid and the plot is extremely ambitious. But give me Michelle Pfeiffer in a cat-suit and Danny DeVito in a fat-suit any day.

Tags: batman, dark knight rises, movie, Review, superhero

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