The Dark Knight Rises Review (Spoiler Free)

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The Dark Knight Rises is finally here! After doing my very best to stay up to date on the filming while remaining spoiler free for the last year was tough. Was it worth it? Was four years of anticipation since The Dark Knight worth it? Yeah, I suppose, sure. This latest Bat-film is better than any other non-Nolan Batman movie. But how did it stack up to the previous Nolan movies from Gotham City?

Visually TDKR (ahh,brevity), is fantastic looking not unlike the previous installments in this trilogy. The downside is that TDKR does not have the same visual quality as its predecessor’s as in, TDKR has a clean well swept look to it. Somehow the film managed to make location shooting appear as if it were done on a Backlot. this is the main thing that pulled me out of the film.

The second thing that pulled me out TDKR? Besides the cheesy title? How about that everyone was in it but didn’t seem to do much of anything. I felt that a lot of the characters were missing their fair shake at some good exposition and were instead stuck with quick explanations and hurried coverage.

I promise I’m all done complaining, while I do have more gripes they would be impossible to voice without spoiling key moments and plot details.

In TDKR we see a Gotham that finally has its crime under control, and it’s about time too, this isn’t Detroit. Harvey Dent is a martyr and his death motivated law makers and citizens alike, to finally end the bureaucracy that kept organized crime alive in Gotham. Batman disappeared and Bruce Wayne was able to live the better part of the last decade hiding in his house. Once the plot starts moving its enjoyable to see the villains present themselves and then try to justify their motivations and actions.

Ann Hathaway as Selina Kyle/ Catwoman is pretty enjoyable. Selfish, conniving, fast, tough and somewhere underneath all of her thievery and betrayal she is also a good person. A thief with a heart of gold. Not so many nice things could be said about Bane.

Tom Hardy has a great burden to follow Heath Ledger’s Joker performance with something as memorable. That’s unfair to Hardy, to this film, to Bane and even to Ledger. Heath’s joker portrayal struck a chord with people in 2008 and became one of those very rare and classic roles in film history. We will see another Joker someday, that might be even better than TDK’s but no one would ever admit it. So how can Bane measure up in this universe? Hardy’s voice was drawn out and careful, he reminded me of James Mason. Bane’s physicality while fighting was fun and very straight forward, he doesn’t waste his time on flips an kicks. Otherwise bane does not seem imposing to me, he’s not much bigger than an average person, he’s about the size of a quarterback or a hockey player. He is strong enough and has some mass but he’s not so big that his muscle could outmatch a ninja’s skill and strength. And Batman IS a ninja. Remember, Bruce was in the League Of Shadows and left of his own accord after finishing his training, could the same be said for Bane? I believe Bane needs his mask as much for intimidation as he does for medical reasons.

The rest of the cast is solid but again, not everyone seems to get their fair bit of screen time. People have complained that it took too long for Batman to appear, I disagree because we needed to feel rewarded for Bruce putting on the cowl again. Wouldn’t it seem a bit silly to have him declare that Batman has served his purpose and then at the drop of a hat suit up to stop a jewel thief? It rightfully took a massive hostage situation to get Batman back.

The plot is fun, it has a few twists and turns and misdirections that were rewarding. The last 15 mins adds quite a few main characters to the pyre with one of them having the silliest and most jarring death rattle seen on film in a long time.

I would love to tell you about all of the qualities and scenes that made this film for me but that would be telling too much about the film. Keep an eye on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Officer Blake, he has quite a bit to offer…

I give The Dark Knight Rises 4 out of 5 fizzy marbles.

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