Director: Christopher Nolan (Momento, The Dark Night, Inception)
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway
What’s special about it: The epic conclusion to the Nolan Batman saga, Anne Hathaway in tight leather
Check it out if you liked: Anything Nolan, Sin City
Plot – 8 Acting – 9 Representation of Genre – 9 Cinematography – 8 Effects/Environment – 9 Captivity – 8 Logical consistency – 6 Originality/Creativity – 7 Soundtrack/Music – 8 Overall awesomeness – 9
It’s very difficult to write this review, considering all that happened last night. We are still in the process of reaching out to those we know who were there and trying to make sense of this event. I cannot shake the gravity of this situation and we will address it in a separate letter.
I will try my best to get through this review without letting the events at Century 16 in Aurora influence it, but it is nearly impossible to separate the two events. I’ll also do my best not to spoil anything about the plot or character development.
The Dark Knight Rises is Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman movie, and a terrific conclusion to the trilogy. Rises takes place eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, where Batman took the fall for the murder of Harvey Dent AKA Two-Face, and thereby ruining Batman’s name and keeping Harvey Dent a hero. This allows the Dent Bill to be passed, keeping all organized crime members off the street and in prison. Nobody struggles with this decision more than Commissioner Gordon, bearing this truth by himself and forced to lie about Dent’s true ugly side (no pun intended). Batman, and therefore Bruce Wayne, have been “retired.” However, as Catwoman states it, “a storm is coming.”
In terms of acting, this is the best of the series. My Cocaine (imagine Michael Caine saying his name in his own voice) did a terrific job as Alfred, bringing a lot of emotion to the role, in addition to his subtle, dry, British humor. Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman performed expectedly well as their former roles as Bruce Wayne, Lucious Fox and James Gordon, respectively. However, it was newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway who stole the show.
Levitt plays a beat cop, John Blake, who shares a similar past with Bruce Wayne, an orphan who shares Wayne’s constant anger and pain. His role is one similar to Dick Grayson in the comics – a poor, well-meaning and strong orphan who always sticks up for the little guy. Tom Hardy plays a very convincingly scary Bane. His story is similar to his comic book origin. He was born in a prison, a hell. He is very intelligent and brutal. My only gripe on his character is that I genuinely felt his image was as important as his character. The luchador mask, Venom addiction and Mexican accent was vital to his character. So, to hear this gentlemanly British voice was almost comical to me. Anne Hathaway did an amazing job as Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman. Her previous roles as a princess were soon forgotten after her first scene. The chemistry between her character and Batman was played very well. Oh, and the cat ears I thought were ridiculous actually serve a technical purpose; they’re pretty rad.
The story was very dynamic in Rises. Instead of focusing on Batman’s development and struggles, the film spreads the love between all the main characters and we really get to see how the Batman and the terror that is plaguing Gotham affects everybody, from the President to the orphan paupers. Comic book fans will also be satisfied by the amount of homework Nolan does; TDKR feels like a compilation of Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns, No Man’s Land and, dare I say, even a little hint of Batman, Inc. The Dark Knight Rises also threw a lot of plot twists to keep even the keenest comic book fans off Nolan’s scent. However, a lot of these twists were so predictable that you guessed wrong because it was “too predictable.” I’ll cut Nolan some slack, though, since, being a definitive movie with a definite ENDING, there aren’t too many other options for an epic conclusion.
While saying that Nolan had a political agenda may be stretching it, to say there were no political themes in the movie would be just plain ignorant. From “The Star-Spangled Banner” to the tattered American flags, all evidence pointed in the direction that Nolan was trying to say something. It could be a lot of things. In a conservative viewpoint, it could be the representation of the 99% becoming the 100%, the symbol that Bane could be the leader of the Occupy movement and that instead of pushing for equality, the Occupy movement would be a dismantling of the system. More liberally, it could be a scream for gun control. The issue of guns and armed violence is bought up repeatedly throughout the movie. More realistically, it may be a representation of the idea that money does not make a person just; we should not let money have power over us and it is the actions we take that define who were are as people. To me, this movie laid the foundation, and the subsequent massacre at Century 16 has cemented it, that truly terrorism succeeds when the people become oppressed. As a people, we must decide that this will not be tolerated.
Overall, this movie was a roller-coaster of emotion. From the heart-wrenching story to the terrific acting by the entire cast, Christopher Nolan does a great job of putting the viewers directly in the fire. It’s a fitting end to the best trilogy ever made (I see you, Star Wars) and there is absolutely no way you should let the actions of one keep you from seeing this inspiring film.
written by Sherif Elkhatib