My heart and prayers go out to everyone affected by the horrific tragedy that took place the night of The Dark Knight Rises midnight movie premiere in Aurora, Colorado.
Now that is has been a little over a week since my most anticipated film was released in theaters, I can now do the review that is deserved. One that is full of spoilers and speculation.
Sadly, Christopher Nolan’s Batman cinematic experience is at an end. Three movies make up an epic, visual novelization unlike any other comic book hero film in existence. Batman Begins gives viewers an origin of Bruce Wayne and his journey to becoming Gotham’s dark savior. The Dark Knight further drives the tale by including two of Batman’s top villains: Two Face and The Joker. The Dark Knight Rises brings the tale full circle and concludes it with an ending that rivaled Inception.
The movie took risks which is something many movies seem to be afraid to do. Unlike The Amazing Spider-man or Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises has a very minimum appearance of its lead hero. Batman is rarely in the film at all compared to the length I the film (clocking in at 3 hours with previews). This is one of those risks. How can you have a Batman movie with little Batman? TDKR focuses on the false peace of Gotham City and it’s quick deterioration upon the arrival of Bane, a ‘masked’ Terrorist. However, the lack of Batman was odd, but only noticed after I completed the film.
The choice of Bane seemed risky itself. Although Bane is a key villain in the Bat-universe, he seemed a very unlikely choice to finish out the trilogy. I, however, felt that Bane was incredible. There are many people who hated his voice. While difficult to understand at times, I was not someone who hated his voice although it would have been amazing if he had a Hispanic accent. I also wish they had shown off Bane’s power a bit move and also explaining why he wore the mask. It was apparent that Bane was strong, but it did not translate very well in the film just how strong he was.
The buzz of the Internet is how well Anne Hathaway performed as Selina Kyle after many fans were concerned by her being cast for the role. She certainly had the most impressive fight scenes especially the bar fight scene which showcased a variety of emotions and acting skills. I was satisfied with her performance wholeheartedly.
Now, I will address the ending. I felt like the way it all played out was classic Nolan and I, for the most part, enjoyed it. Honestly I still do not want to believe that Bruce Wayne is alive. That may sound strange coming from a Batman fan, but the staggering emotional impact and finalization that his death would have had was so perfect.
The ‘Robin Easter egg’ was quite misplaced, however I do not think it was implying that James Blake, the hothead cop turned Detective played by Joesph Gordon Levitt, is any Robin for the comics or that he is slated to take over the Batman role after the movie ends. The movie seemed to focus on Blake far more then it did on Batman, but that does not necessarily mean he is Robin. Perhaps he is just taking up a sidekick role within this film. If anything, he is a Nolan created Robin and none from the comic books.
While so many claim the movie was a mess, I merely think it was unfocused to what it was trying to achieve. It did not successfully cut between scenes or fill all the plot holes. TDKR was not perfect, but what movie is? That being said, I enjoyed this film and appreciated it for being closure to the two previous, extraordinary movies. Like many comic artists or animators, Christopher Nolan created a Batman story that he wanted and he did not have to play by the standard “Bat-rules” or follow the canon story. Like The Dark Knight Returns or Batman Child of Dreams, he made something outside of *canonical Batman texts. If only people could appreciate the art of the creative mind instead of wanting it to be formulaic then there would be far less nitpicking of details and a focus on the picture as a whole. What a wonderful whole the trilogy is.
*by canonical Batman texts I mean the comics that exist within the major storylines of DC Comics such as (but not limited to) Detective Comics, Batman, etc. Stories like Kevin Smith’s The Widening Gyre or Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns seem to exist outside of the major storylines. This is just how I differentiate and is by no way the “correct” or “only” way to view it. But after decades upon decades of comics, I have to have a system of knowledge 🙂