Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises
Pros:Not only is the acting way above par, but the plot is so beautifully designed that it you're left in awe of Nolan's storytelling abilities.
Cons:Dialogue can be a bit difficult to understand at points which leaves you wondering what was said when you instead should be watching the cinematic brilliance that's passing you by.
Batman is back in the much anticipated final installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Does it live up to the hype? Oh boy, does it. If you’re a Batman fan, be prepared to nerdgasm. Twice.
After Commissioner Gordon (Oldman) is left hospitalised after an encounter with Bane, plucky young cop John Blake (Gordon-Levitt), after somehow deducting correctly that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one (this is the only weak point in the plot with the reason given being only believable at a bit of a stretch), begs for Batman to help investigate. Wayne, whose interest in a return to vigilantism had already been roused following a robbery by a master cat-burglar (Hathaway), obliges and pays a visit to his old friend and gadget whiz Lucius Fox (Freeman) who kits him out with a kickass new vehicle. Although Bane’s actions lead to Wayne being replaced at Wayne Enterprises by environmentally conscious Board Member Miranda Tate (Cotillard), Wayne, as Batman, continues in his efforts at stopping Bane whose insidious plans for Gotham have been revealed to be nuclear in nature.
The plot of The Dark Knight Rises is beautifully designed to be interwoven with events in the previous two installments of the trilogy, so much so that if viewers haven’t seen either The Dark Knight and, more importantly, Batman Begins, important developments and climaxes in the storyline won’t have the same effect as it would to those who have followed the series from inception. That being said, due to Nolan’s use of flashbacks during or just before these pivotal moments, even those who are coming to the Batman series for the first time will be able to understand everything unfolding before them with ease. And although Nolan regularly jumps from character to character, sub-plot to sub-plot, the storyline remains easy to follow and not overly complicated. In fact, the only time a viewer is going to be left scratching their head in confusion will be during Bane’s dialogue.
And it’s not that that is overly complicated either, to be fair, but the sound distortion used on Hardy’s voice often leaves what Bane is saying very difficult to make out at times, especially during the events in the stadium which is an important part of the storyline’s development. It’s unfortunate that in such a pivotal part, people are going to be left wondering what Bane said instead of the importance of what he said. The sound effect also rendered the voice more comical than intimidating, with filmgoers more likely to laugh upon first hearing Bane speak than to be struck with fear.
Bale continues to perfect the dark and emotionally wounded Bruce Wayne/Batman character in his final reprisal in the role while the introduction of Hathaway’s often catty character compliments Freeman’s infamous wit in his portrayal of Lucius Fox, both of which punctuate the often serious storyline with much needed relief. Gordon-Levitt excels in his role as Gotham’s latest good cop and often threatens to steal the screen from Bale in shared scenes – at some points there’s a shadow of the character he played in previous Nolan film Inception. Michael Cain had the biggest character change from the previous two films, moving from a philosophical and witty butler to someone more emotionally preoccupied with a friend’s deteriorating health and behaviour. However while other characters shine, or continue to do so, Cotillard’s character often seems disjointed and any attempt to classify her as a strong female character pales in comparison to that of Hathaway. Obviously in this case the screen just isn’t big enough for two strong women.
The Dark Knight Rises is a superb ending to a much applauded trilogy and will leave fans of the series in awe at Nolan’s storytelling ability. It contains everything a good action films needs, from an over-abundance of fight scenes, to plot twists, to witty one liners. There’s even one or two moments of cringe thrown in there for good measure. Cinematography is amazing and the acting is more than excellent however dialogue can be difficult to understand at times, which leaves you momentarily lost. It is recommended that you watch the previous two installments before this as, although you’ll understand what’s going on regardless, you’ll only be as half-aware as what’s going on compared to a die-hard fan of the series.