Review: After the huge success of The Dark Knight, it seems impossible to top what that movie accomplished: it made comic book movies a respectable outlet of cinema. A crime action thriller with a man dressing up as a bat that fights crime was an epic, well thought out, and compelling piece of film-making. Now we have the end of the Nolan Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises that promises the closing chapter in this massive saga. Does it deliver? Yes, it does. In spades, aces, and all other forms of awesome analogies.
It truly felt like the end of a massive storyline with Batman. It all came full circle as we see Bruce Wayne trying to get back into the mind of Batman and what he represented. Wayne is weakened not only in body, but in mind and soul as well. Nolan gives Wayne/Batman a purpose and a crusade in order to prove himself worthy to save the city of Gotham and its citizens from a new breed of danger while rediscovering what Batman symbolizes to everyone. Christian Bale gives a tremendous performance as Bruce Wayne and Batman. He conveys the conflict that Wayne has over his Batman persona and whether it has done more harm than good to not only himself, but his family’s legacy and his loved ones. Michael Caine gives a strong performance as Alfred. He really shines through at how much he cares for Bruce and he gets several emotional scenes with Bale. Anne Hathaway absolutely steals the show as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. Feisty, witty, and just sexy all around. She embodied Catwoman to a tee and certainly one of the highlights of the movie. The supporting cast of Levitt, Oldman, Freeman, and Cotillard were great in their own right as well. Tom Hardy rocked as Bane. Not only did he have the physicality and the intimidation factor down, but he had a cunning aura around him and was intelligent even while beating people to a pulp. His voice is hard to understand at times, but his actions and body language do all of the talking for him. He didn’t have the sudden impact of the Joker in The Dark Knight, but he slowly built up throughout the movie and you get why he should be feared. This movie really embodies the term “epic”. The scope of this movie is unreal and the set pieces used are some of the best action sequences this year. The use of practical effects and stunts are awe-inspiring and exciting. The final act turns into an all out war that you could literally say it was the climax of the film. Very intense.
Plot (10/10): It truly was the final chapter for Batman. It examined the mythology behind Batman. It managed to examine corruption, social classes, rich vs. poor, moving on from past events, and morality all while delivering a thrilling conclusion to the saga.
Acting (10/10): Great performances from everyone in the cast. They all provided their importance to the story and each had their shining moments.
Action (10/10): All practical effects when needed and the CG looked great. The fight scenes with Bane and Batman were necessarily brutal and the final scene in the city was fantastic.
Direction (10/10): I always respected Nolan’s more subtle and old school approach to film-making. He gives us an epic finale that really embodies that term and delivers on all fronts. The action scenes were intense, the swooping shots of the city were amazing, and it didn’t feel like a 2+ hour movie.
Eye Candy (9/10): Cotillard was great to look at, but Hathaway stole her thunder easily. The personality was sexy by itself, but add a leather suit and you got gold.
Overall, it is the fitting epic conclusion to this fantastic series of films that have made Batman into the complex hero that we know and love. A great superhero movie, but a fantastic movie on its own merits.