My Completely Spoiler-Free Review
My Movie-Revealing Review
Okay then, let's get into the nitty-gritty of what works in this and what doesn't. I saw this as part of one of those big trilogy-screenings that theaters such as the AMC I attended did. Therefore, I got to see, "Batman Begins" and, "Dark Knight," again before the midnight premiere of, "Rises." This helps me come to the conclusion that Dark Knight is indeed one of the best super-hero movies--if not movies in general--that have been made. "Rises," is better than, "Begins," but also actually ties into the first movie a lot with all of its guild of assassins business and such. Whereas, "Dark Knight," could really be viewed as just its own masterpiece of a stand-alone movie, "Rises," cannot exist without, "Begins," and some of the key plot elements of, "Dark Knight," mainly Harvey Dent's/Two Face's death being blamed on Batman.
It makes sense to tie everything back together, but it comes off a bit as an attempt to have way too much of an, "This series is an epic multi-movie event," feel instead of just being its own superior movie. That's okay though, I suppose. What I cannot get over is how much I hate Bane's voice. Bane is a huge force of nature to be reckoned with, he shouldn't have a high-pitched & Sean Connery-esque voice. Also, was there any doubt Marion Cotillard would turn out to be a bad-guy? Yes, you keep waiting for the reveal, and waiting, almost to a point where you think, "Hey, maybe she isn't going to turn out to be a villain!" but sure enough the so-called twist comes and we learn she's Talia, the daughter of Ras Al Ghul/Liam Neeson (who puts in a good-if-brief appearance as a hallucination of Bruce Wayne).
|Bane, he would be intimidating if not for his voice.
Oh, and let's not forget Selina/Catwoman, whom is never actually called that in the movie, but c'mon, she's Catwoman! Anne Hathaway starts out as a sexy fiend who seems to be either bisexual or a lesbian, but by the end of the movie she seems to be, "cured," of her, "wrong," sexuality and now is a good little straight housewife to Bruce Wayne--who it turns out did escape that atomic explosion thanks to the auto-pilot in his Batplane that is constantly mentioned to foreshadow Wayne's escape. Hathaway is slinky, she doesn't ascribe to society's rules with her sexuality, stealing from the rich, and otherwise being against the norm. By the end of the movie she's now just a good-girl who is with Wayne though. Talk about a heteronormative ending.
|Hathaway's character goes from subversive to a tamed kitten in the course of the film.
So far I'm being awfully hard on the movie, but I did in fact quite like it. The story of Bruce Wayne coming back from defeat is good and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome even if he seems to be one of the many people who suddenly are able to figure out Bruce Wayne is Batman (seriously, his identity is either known by or revealed to a lot of people). The action set-pieces are awesome and nothing beats that football field collapsing in a way even more impressive than the previews for the film hinted. I liked so much of the movie, but the flaws in it just bugged me enough to go on about them at length because I feel like this is a really good film that is so close to being as much the masterpiece as, "Dark Knight," but can't quite pull it off due to its many plot issues, weird social and political messages, and Bane's terrible voice.
|Levitt is great in this movie, ever since, "Brick," I've had mad respect for the man.
Overall, despite the complaints I've expressed, this really was a good film, if not one as great as, "Dark Knight." I've only seen it once at that midnight premiere but I definitely want to see it again. It's a good end to the series and whether this tale will continue on with John Blake (whom we learn at the end is really named Robin, nicely done there, Nolan) assuming the role of the Batman, or they will try to reboot the universe in anticipation of a supposed eventual Justice League movie is the new question on people's minds. Whatever happens, I'll always be glad that Nolan came along and showed that you can make deep, thoughtful movies about something people occasionally think of as disposable and childish entertainment. Nolan's take on the super-hero movies has been superb and it is sad he doesn't want to do anything else with Batman--as he has had to make clear sternly in countless interviews, but I also do understand his wanting to move on to new things.
So yeah, "Dark Knight Rises," a really good movie, but not the greatest ever.
4 out of 5 stars.