Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises
Posted on Friday, July 20 @ 15:06:51 Eastern by Daniel BischoffEvery once in a while we like to branch out. We'll go off topic in Tell GameRevolution or even if a new book arrives on our doorstep. Let's head out of the video game realm once more for The Dark Knight Rises.
When I sat down to watch The Avengers earlier this year, I did so with a heaping helping of scepticism. I had seen every film leading up to the billion dollar blockbuster, and I wasn't sure how the project could come together. Still, I left thoroughly satisfied and have even see Marvel's massive movie once more in theaters.
I entered the theater for The Dark Knight Rises in a distinctly different mood. I was overhyped, boiling over with enegy and anticipation. I had to seek a sort of reverse-hype, fearing my anxiety would eventually ruin my enjoyment.
And then the film rolled and it was good.
The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final entry in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Instead of an anarchist, an aging Bruce Wayne comes to blows with Bane, a mercenary with ties to Batman's past. So much of Rises is built upon seeing the film for yourself, so let's ignore any further plot exposition.
Nevermind that the man has crafted movies as intimate and ground breaking as Memento or as bombastic and etherreal as Inception, Nolan will be remember for the way he's portrayed the caped crusader on screen. But why?
It certainly won't be his ability to direct actors. While performances by Christian Bale have been passable throughout the series, only Heath Ledger will stand out as a truly memorable performance. Tom Hardy does a decent job in Rises, but a mask and dozens of pounds of bulk muscle ultimately weigh him down.
It also won't be the spotty pacing. While The Dark Knight managed a breathlessly feverish pitch throughout almost its entire run time (almost to an exhausting point), Rises features a valley a mile wide near the middle of the film. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, was the lull so necessary?
It's a testament to the narrative that the bloated run time is bearable and it's a testament to Nolan's realistic vision that a cat burgler femme fatale actually works in the hyper-masculine battleground of Gotham City. The argument could be made that Catwoman is the most entertaining and watchable character in Rises.
And its the relationship she builds with Batman and her development as a character that allows the audience to breathe in between explosions and gun shots (of which there are many). It's also the way characters enter and exit the Batman mythos that makes Rises so entertaining and enjoyable.
And the culmination, the pay off on the audience's nearly three hour investment is grand, haunting, suggestive, and open for interpretation, if you're so inclined. Despite the losses and the damage, The Dark Knight Rises allows us all to take solace in tragedy, in rebirth, and in death.
What Nolan's movies will be remembered for is the feeling they leave the audience with: a intimacy and understanding that goes beyond the goofy, the campy, or the raccous. The Dark Knight Rises continues in the vein of The Dark Knight: it's less a super hero movie and more a story about people challenged by their surroundings and the time they live in. What would you do when it came to the end?
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