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The Dark Knight Rises Review

"We were in this together, and then you were gone. Now this evil... rises. The Batman has to come back."

Personally, I think Christopher Nolan is a genius. To take a mere comic (designed for children and young adults) and to twist it into the light of the modern world and includes cleverly written responses to corrupt Governments & terrorism deserves a solid pat on the back from me. 

The Dark Knight Rises is the third and (hopefully) final installment of Nolan's Franchise and boy, what a way to go. Nolan understands what the audience liked from the first two films and has successfully incorporated these aspects into a story with thought & heart juxtaposed with heart stopping action and visual masterpieces. Plot wise; it's been 8 years since the events of the last film and supposedly all is well in Gotham City. Batman is no longer needed and Bruce Wayne has gone into hiding looking like a hermit you see lingering in the subways.  But, this is a Batman movie so of course, he is forced out into the open thanks to new masked terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) and the mysterious Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Obviously nothing is as simple as it seems, but that's all I'm saying without spoiling anything. The less you know, the better. 

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer #4

The first thing I have to talk about is the two new antagonists. Tom Hardy's portrayal of Bane is truly terrifying, what he lacks in terms of speech he makes up for in facial expressions and overall presence on screen. Bane is almost giant-like and as an audience member, you actually worry for Batman in the fact that he has met his physical match. An example being one memorable scene where Bane snaps a characters neck; a scene that shows his strength but also his lack of compassion in his eyes; you wouldn't want to run into him in a back alley. This is just a point about the most basic form of acting, Hardy focuses all his energy into his bodily/facial gestures and he excels. Hardy by all means is no Heath Ledger, but I put this down to high audience expectations, no-one was really going to live up to the Joker were they? So, I class them and assess them as separate villains. Another point I HAVE to mention was Bane's voice. I'm glad they tweaked it in post-production after the unveiling trailer at Christmas last year, but at times it was still REALLY difficult to make out some of Bane's dialogue. Especially when it could be crucial to the plot (see, no spoilers?) and it doesn't help when you have Christian "shout & grunt" Bale in the same scene, you may as well have two dogs barking at each other for all the good I could understand.

Next; Anne Hathaway. It was clear she was going to be the marmite of this franchise, but I loved her. For a woman whose traits go hand in hand with the innocent goody two shoes, it was good to see Hathaway play...well a bit of a minx. Her first scene with Bruce was excellent, the shift in mood that was reflected in the shift in music (by the by kudos to the fantastic score by Hans Zimmer) and the character's flirtatious nature. It could of veered in a horrible direction and become far too cringey but Hathaway kept the balance nicely. AND she can kick butt too, who knew? To me, it was like Hathway kept a metaphorical jar of all the women who portrayed Catwoman over the last 50 so years and took all the best aspects. Good acting prep Anne!

In terms of actual plot and length, at 3 hours long you'd think it'd snowdive in the second half. But, I found that it moved along quite nicely at a rapid pace, keeping me on the edge of my seat. It was only when I saw it the second time I found myself to be shuffling in my seat. I found the plot to be okay, not brilliant. I did like the influence from the original comic 'Knightfall' in which Bane breaks Batman's back but I just wished all the questions from the whole franchise could've been answered. But I suppose that's the beauty of Nolan's work, you don't have to know EVERYTHING. To save you from dozing off I'm going to make a short list of things that you should look out for:
*Michael Cane is just amazing, he really cranks up the emotion this time around
*The football stadium scene in the trailer OH MY LORD AMAZING (IN IMAX.)
*A cameo appearance in the court scene from an old friend....
*Cheesy ending...but somewhat fitting

Themes are a big part of the movie, especially if you're like me and literally read into ANYTHING. I liked the whole 'Rise' significance and how it applied to individual characters, Batman's rise from his fall, Bane's rise to power, Selina's rise through the social ladder and so forth. Obviously this wasn't about physical strength to rise, it was more about the strength of the mind, how can you rise from being so broken minded? e.g, Bane's destruction of Gotham while Bruce watches from a screen. I found it very clever and very thought provoking.

Nolan isn't God, so not everyone will be happy with The Dark Knight Rises as I mentioned earlier with different audience expectations and whatnot, but I was very happy. There wasn't an overload of new characters *cough* Spiderman 3 *cough* and it never felt crammed or rushed. Also, it was left quite nicely for a new director to take over, as I felt it symbolic that as Batman's time was over, so was Nolan's on this franchise.

Kieran x


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