Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway
The legend ends
In the last eight years, Gotham City has turned into quite a peaceful place and the authorities are praising the deceased Harvey Dent for the change while Batman has gotten the blame for Dent’s death. This has caused Bruce Wayne to become a recluse and also Batman to disappear.
A new threat is coming to Gotham City though. The outlaw Bane and his gang of anarchists are coming to finish Ra’s al Ghul’s goal to destory the the city. He is planning to do this by gaining access to a nuclear reactor that the Wayne Enterprises owns and detonate it as an atom bomb. The only hope of the city is that Batman will once again rise to the occasion and save the day.
It has to be said before I go into this film that I’m not a big fan of superhero movies. It is perhaps the most popular subgenre of cinema in the last fifteen years, but the only ones I seem to enjoy are Iron Man and the previous two Batman films from Christopher Nolan.
That being said, I was let down by this film. It’s not a bad one by any means and I’m sure the majority of people who like these type of films will be satisfied by it, but there was to many negative aspects to it that I disliked.
For being nearly three years long, it sure does have a simple story. The narrative goes all over the place instead of focusing on its main part, giving all the characters plenty of time and dialogue. The film could have been tighter if they had cut down or cut out a few of the characters. I think Anne Hathaway was fun, great and quite delicious as Selina Kyle (Catwoman), but her part was not needed for this film. They could easily have cut her out and made small changes to the film to tighten it up and made the running time a little shorter.
I’m used to watching films with plot holes and or even movies that have less to none story at all, but I do expect a coherent story when I watch such a big movie who also tries to go for a realistic mood. An example of this was how Bruce Wayne was able to heal and get back to Gotham City in great shape and also how Batman knows where everyone is at any given time, it makes sense in a film that has a more comic book look, but for a movie that is goes for realism it makes the viewer stop and wonder how in the world that could have happened. At least that’s what I did.
The dialogue is also at times very crappy and that’s a huge problem for a film that deals mostly with dialogue for the first hour (after action filled first fifteen minutes). The scenes with Bruce and Selma lacks any interest and chemistry at all. Yeah, some of it does tell the backstory of her character but it is just very dull.
Visually the film looks great and that’s one of the highlights of the film. The effects are ok, very expensive I’m sure but not always very effective. I did not care for the batwing vehicle thing that Batman had. It seemed out of place and silly. The action scenes are not very good and I don’t think they have been that good in any of the films in this series either. The first fight between Bane and Batman is over before you know it and the final fist fight between those two also leaves a lot to be desired. It’s built up like the big final fight, but ends up being two big muscular guys throwing punches at eachother.
The actors are mostly good. I have never been a huge fan of Christian Bale as Batman, especially when he talks in his Batman voice. His character doesn’t get that many emotional scenes here actually and he is outshined by a few of his co-stars including Hathaway.
Tom Hardy plays Bane and he does look physically menacing here, although a bit short. I would have prefered if they had a bigger guy in his part to create an even more menacing character. It’s not that easy to judge Hardy’s acting here since he has a mask that makes his face look the same regardless of what’s going on. He also has a weird voice, sounding like a mix between Morgan Freeman and Darth Vader. I’m not sure why Nolan has a thing for these weird voices, it was distracting at first for me but over three hours you do get used to it.
I did not care much for how they ended the Bane character, they could have come up with something a lot better than that. I also failed to see his real motives after the revelation of Talia al Ghul. It seemed to reduce him to being a simple henchman instead of being the great, big villain that we get the impression of during most of the film. And if all they really wanted to do was to blow up the city, why didn’t they go forward with that plan a little sooner? Speaking of Talia, her death scene was bad, cringeworthy bad.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is good as John Blake, a young cop who puts his morals before his badge. I didn’t think his character was needed for most of the film however, but due to the ending I can see why they had him in it. Gary Oldman is once again great as Commissioner Gordon. He is perhaps the best one in this film.
I didn’t care much for the ending of this film and Nolan’s trilogy. It seemed like a very safe ending, becoming a very Hollywood ending instead of daring to try something new. It dabbles into Michael Bay territory with the final kiss of Batman and Catwoman and I expect more from filmmakers like Nolan. His directing failed in giving this film a more coherent tempo, making many scenes feel just rushed through.
Even though I’m picking on the film a lot here, it is still worth seeing. Most people will probably not notice all the flaws that I think are in it and especially the ones who enjoyed the two first will want to see the finale to the series. Over time I believe that The Dark Knight Rises will be remembered as the worst of the Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan since it does not come close to having the same quality as the two first films.