Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises banner

A Fire Will Rise

Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Modine, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, JunoTemple, Nestor Carbonell, Desmond Harrington

Director: Christopher Nolan

2012  |  165 Minutes  |  PG-13

“No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.” – Bane

First off, I have to admit something to you.  I read spoilers of The Dark Knight Rises prior to seeing it.  I know.  I am ashamed.  Fortunately it didn’t completely ruin my viewing experience.

Eight years after taking the rap for Harvey Dent’s death, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) dons the Batman cape and cowl once again to stop Bane (Tom Hardy) from destroying GothamCity.

The opening of the movie felt really poorly put together.  It felt a little like a jumble of scenes that, when put together, didn’t really make a clear cut story.  The further we got into the movie the more coherent the story became.

The first fight between Batman and Bane was rather disappointing.  The broken back of Batman is such an iconic Batman comic book scene that didn’t feel fully fulfilled.  I know this isn’t a direct port of a comic book story but for full effect Batman should have been bent across Bane’s knee, not just bouncing off.

The passage of time after the broken back is really poorly represented.  There is a three month jump that happens over the course of only a couple minutes as if nothing significant has happened in three months with Bane as the dictator of Gotham.  It is after this point that The Dark Knight Rises really takes off and starts to feel like we are watching a Batman movie.

I have a new theory after watching The Dark Knight Rises as to why Christian Bale talks the way he does when he is Batman.  I think part of the growl is because the guy can’t frickin’ breathe.  Watch for it, the guy can’t possibly breathe through his nose.

Christian Bale is as good as he has ever been as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  This is just a different Bruce Wayne than in prior films.  This is not the playboy Bruce Wayne who drives awesome cars and dates lots of women.  This is a Howard Hughes style hermit Bruce Wayne.  And when he finally becomes Batman again, he seems to be looking for a way out.  The focus of The Dark Knight Rises is much less on Batman or Bruce Wayne and much more on the villains and side characters.

Count me as one who found Bane’s voice to be incredibly stupid sounding.  He sounded better when I couldn’t understand him in the early trailers.  There is nothing intimidating about the way Bane sounded in the finished product.  A high pitched British accent does not terrorize me.  I got used to it as the movie went on but the first few scenes with him actually had me laughing.

Tom Hardy definitely bulked up for the role but he was never Bane huge.  I know this is the more realistic Bat-Universe but there are guys out there that are a lot bigger than Tom Hardy that could have pulled off this part.  I mean, I am a good couple inches taller than he is.

Anne Hathaway was excellent as Selina Kyle.  She not only pulled off the slinky, cat-like movements but she also had a great sassy, deceptiveness that is synonymous with Catwoman… and she looked great in skin tight black leather.

Joseph Gordan-Levitt’s performance as John *ahem Robin* Blake is amazing.  He’s come a long, long way since 3rd Rock From the Sun.  The problem I have is that we are led to believe that this could be the next Batman.  I really hope this doesn’t come to fruition.  Batman is Bruce Wayne… PERIOD.

Even after seeing all kinds of spy pics of it, the first appearance of “The Bat” was truly awesome.  And for some reason I didn’t quite see it coming at that exact moment.  Where does he get those wonderful toys?

What the world needs now is a Batman that isn’t able to become a crippled old man.  Robin Blake will not do.  Only a billionaire Bruce Wayne, with his unique personal history, can be Batman.

So, reading spoilers didn’t ruin The Dark Knight Rises for me and I even enjoyed the movie much, much more than I expected after reading the spoilers.  That said, I still look forward to seeing how DC/Warner Brothers reboots the Batman film franchise.  I would love to see a iteration of Batman that is truer to comic book form.  Batman should be able to drive a Batmobile without us having to think it is completely ridiculous, the same way S.H.I.E.L.D.’s helicarrier is acceptable in The Avengers.  It’s time for DC’s comic book movies to be fun again.

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