Blogging some of my past movie reviews — this is my take on “The Dark Knight Rises.” Warning — fanboy bubbling ahead.
Dear Lord, “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) was fantastic. This third and final installment to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, at several times, wanted to make me stand up and cheer.
This film deserves a perfect 10. All of the magic of “Batman Begins” (2005) and “The Dark Knight” (2008) return – especially with respect to an excellent script with a layered, detailed plot and great, three-dimensional characters. I found myself seeing parallels between this movie and another current popular comic book adaptation, AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Both seem to have expertly taken the best elements from the comics, but then also changed or updated the source material to enhance it and surprise longtime fans. And there’s a great continuity with the preceding films in terms of characters, themes, motif and story.
The dialogue was wonderful; this is a quotable movie. And the basic story is perfect, especially in the way this film was challenged to follow up the amazing “Dark Knight.” They made some wise choices. Instead of trying to match Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker, Nolan simply presents us with a new kind of “Bat-villain” — Bane, a supremely logical and ordered personality whose background seems very similar to Bruce Wayne’s. I was a Batman comic book fan in the early 1990’s, when Bane was created. He remains one of my all-time favorite villains, along with Randall Flagg, Two-Face, (Matt Wagner’s) Grendel, and Hannibal Lecter. Nolan seized the compelling original character (created, I believe, by writer Chuck Dixon), and truly capitalized on it.
So too, did Nolan capitalize on the great character of Selina Kyle as Catwoman (again best characterized in the original comic by Dixon). She was wonderfully played by a runaway performance by Anne Hathaway, and she really does deserve her own movie.
The acting was wonderful all around (even though Tom Hardy doubtlessly was challenged as an actor by a mask that obscured his face). Hathaway, was a terrific surprise, and Gary Oldman and Michael Caine were awesome as always. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard did just great in their supporting roles, especially with some character aspects and choices that viewers might not have expected. I’ve criticized Christian Bale’s acting in the past … but here I thought he was at his best in the trilogy.
By the end of the movie, the two quibbles I had were extremely minor. One, we see various supporting characters use high-tech military vehicles that would seem to require at least some training. (You and I cannot simply hop into a tank and know how to use it.)
Two, by the end of the movie, Bane is not quite the iconic character I remember from the comics. He seemed upstaged by certain other characters. But I’m a nerd, and Bane is a favorite, so … really? There’s probably no pleasing me, anyway.
Seriously, though, THANK YOU CHRISTOPHER NOLAN.