The Dark Knight Rises
Let me start this by saying that this movie (the Batman trilogy, really) means way more to me than it really should. The Dark Knight is one of my favorite movies ever. It came out July 18, 2008. Three whole days before Colin and I met. We went to go see it on our first date on September 1st and before that I saw it way more times than I feel comfortable admitting. TDK captivated me, it hypnotized me, it showed me that action movies have the capability of being more than just a buff guy throwing one-liners at the screen while walking away from an explosion. That action in a movie could be used to drive the story and actually develop characters instead of dooming them to two-dimensional personalities. And when I heard that they were making The Dark Knight Rises I was ecstatic and I’ve been happily anticipating it since then. Even more perfect the release date: One day after Colin and mine’s 47 month anniversary (yes, we are that sappy) and one day before his birthday. It was a no-brainer that we were going to see this the second it came out and we did and it was worth the four years and every penny.
Super Quick Movie Review:
If you’re like me and you don’t like to know too much about a movie before watching it. (No spoilers, I promise)
If you ask me to summarize this movie in 7 words they would be:
Not The Dark Knight, But Worth It.
The story is a little bit patchy and Bane is definitely not the villain that The Joker was in The Dark Knight, but this was still the best movie that was released all summer. No, scratch that: ALL YEAR. Yes, I can say that. If there is one movie that you watch in the theaters this year make it this one.
Actual Movie Review Stuff
First of all let’s get one thing straight: This movie is NOT The Dark Knight and Bane is NOT The Joker. This is the problem I’ve come across in other reviews I’ve seen. I understand that it’s tough not to compare this movie to its talented and super-hot older (younger?) brother, but you got to let poor TDKR try to stand alone. Judge it for what it is and not for what its predecessor was. Second thing, I recommend you watch Batman Begins before you go see this movie. Maybe it was just me, but I did not remember a lot about Ra’s al Ghul or the League of Shadows and whatever the hell their plan was.
Bane (Tom Hardy) is a weird character to me because he’s both terrifying and anything but. He has the potential to be a great villain: he’s ruthless, he has a loyal group of followers and he’s strong. This is not a guy you want to make angry because there is no way he’s letting you go. He has everything going for him and I wanted, oh how I wanted to love him, but there’s just something missing. Most obvious: he’s can be pretty hard to understand. Literally. It’s kind of hard to be terrified of someone when you can’t hear what they’re saying. Now I know that Bane had to have the mask, it’s Bane and Bane wears a mask, but couldn’t they have done something more on the side of Darth Vader rather than old man using an oxygen tank? Bane’s lack of interaction with Batman also made for him being a less compelling villain. I’m pretty sure that Bane and Batman were only in the same room twice and if that number is actually higher then it sure didn’t feel like it. This is such a shame because it makes Bane seem absent from the movie. I never felt like Batman was actually trying to stop Bane, he was trying to stop an evil plan that Bane was just a part of.
“Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!” – Bane
The story in this movie, while compelling, felt a little patchy. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t remember a few things from Batman Begins (all the important parts I’m guessing), the fact that I’m not really familiar with the comics (yes, shame on me) or the fact that I was really tired, but there were definitely a few times during the movie where I wished I could just pause and rewind. Like, what is up with The Pit! Where did it come from? Does it have a back story or did they just throw it in for symbolism? Am I supposed to know about it or do they just want me to accept that a place like this would actually exist?
What I love about this movie (and the trilogy in general) is that while it is about Batman and his struggle to bring justice to Gotham (and Bruce Wayne and his struggle to find meaning in his life) it is also about the other characters and their struggles too. We get to see a young police officer, John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), learn about what it means to be a hero. It’s truly amazing.
Now to answer the question you’ve all been asking. How does Bane compare to The Joker? He doesn’t, but in all fairness you can’t really compare the two. The reason why the Joker was such an amazing villain was because he was completely bat-shit crazy. He’s a deranged psychopath and he only has one motivation: to watch the world burn. Bane on the other hand is not crazy, he’s just a radical. Bane has actual reasons behind what he does and that makes him predictable and as a result, a lot less terrifying.
In my opinion the only flaw that this movie truly had was how short it was. A weird thing to say about a 2 hour and 44 minute movie, but it’s totally true. There just was not enough time to completely flesh out some plot points or to show more interaction between some key characters. I would have gladly sat down through four hours of this movie if it had meant more character development and more background information!
I’m going to be honest with you, I think this movie is the best movie of 2012, no holds barred. Sure, it doesn’t have the same psychological drive and the chemistry between Batman and the villain that made The Dark Knight what it was, but it tries and that’s all that I wanted from this movie.
Overall: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Yes, I know that technically no movie is perfect and realistically this movie should only get like a 4.85, but I can’t really do that with the stars and this movie deserves more than 4/5.
Action: ★★★★★ (5/5)
The opening scene is amazing and goddamn it, IT’S BATMAN
Casting: ★★★★★ (5/5)