Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Movie Review - The Dark Knight Rises

**Slight spoiler alert**

For the first time in ages I couldn't get in to see a film because it had been sold out. This is in the age of multiplexes where big films are shown every half hour on several screens. I didn't quite realise the magnitude of excitement for Batman's last 'Nolan'-flavoured outing and was surprised to discover I had to wait for the next available showing.

The third outing for Christian Bale's Batman is bolder, more ambitious and bum-achingly longer than the previous two. It has successfully ridden the wave of comic-inspired films that have been released over the last couple of years and no doubt will do very nicely at the box office.

It begins with Bruce Wayne moping around his stately home, afraid to venture out due to bad things that happened eight years ago. Batman has retired amid scandal and is now but a myth among Gotham City's finest. Only when the vicious terrorist Bane appears does Wayne find the strength to save his beloved city from doom. Along the way, Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman, although this name is never mentioned) gets in the way of Batman's work due to her own selfish ambitions while also serving as the does she / doesn't she? love interest to give the audience some sympathy for her.

That, dear reader, is the set up for the whole movie. Unfortunately, Christopher Nolan has decided to take 2 hours and 45 minutes to tell the story. More on this in a bit.

The leads are all excellent. Bane (Tom Hardy) is a convincingly evil antagonist who proves to be a formidable foe for the Dark Knight. Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) does a great job of alternating between cool, calculated cat burglar and helpless damsel in distress (when the situation calls for it). Hero Wayne (Christian Bale) has his moments of self-doubt brought on by failure and loss.The action sequences are deftly choreographed and there are some interesting moments between the key characters which give a sense that this is more than 'just a comic-book movie'. While the scale of this project is impressively huge, what is sadly missing however is any sense of keeping things tight. Admittedly, there's no obviously wasted dialogue or action but this film could easily be 30 minutes shorter without ruining the pace or sacrificing the heart of the story.

There are also things that weren't really addressed very well (particularly Bane's motivation for destroying an entire city – personally I didn't get it) that were probably cut for timing's sake but should really have been explored.

When I saw The Dark Knight, I didn't regard it as overly long (even though it's only 10 mins shorted that DKR). Perhaps it was Heath Ledger's performance that kept the film engaging. Nolan might fancy himself as David Lean, but I'm not sure he's in the same league just yet. At least Lawrence of Arabia had a 20 minute interval.

After seeing the film I was saddened and shocked to hear about the horrific shootings at a midnight showing of the film in Colorado. Such cold and calculated evil seems the kind of thing that should remain on the silver screen, but sadly isn't. Bane might be the stuff of nightmares, but his real-life counterparts don't seem much different.

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10


  1. Nice review. This is probably one of the most epic films I’ve seen in a long, long time and with good reason, because Nolan has created such a great set of stories, that you honestly couldn’t have ended it any better. Perfect way to say bye-bye to Batty.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Yes, it was certainly an epic movie – I just think the second film was the best of the trilogy.

    I'm sure Warner Bros are already planning the next 're-boot' (or at least working on a Robin film).