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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » The Dark Knight Rises (IMAX)
The Dark Knight Rises (IMAX)
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // July 20, 2012
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted July 23, 2012 | E-mail the Author
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After Christopher Nolan created Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, expectations were extraordinarily high for The Dark Knight Rises. The film concludes the trilogy of the considerably darker perspectives taken upon Batman. Unsurprisingly, both excitement and controversy have been created as the release date approached regarding the quality of the movie. It's one of the biggest movies of the year, but Nolan has yet to let audiences down, so why doubt him now?

Even with high expectations, The Dark Knight Rises manages to be worthy of being in the same trilogy. Each film brings something different to the story. The first entry meant to set up the character of Batman for viewers and humanized him a bit more than most other interpretations of the character. In the sequel, one of the best villains of modern times made his mark and provided audiences with some additional depth. In The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan is wrapping everything up with a finale that truly concludes the story. All three of the movies are fantastic, but The Dark Knight stands as my personal favorite.

With the city stricken with grief over the death of Harvey Dent, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) hides from the public eye. He's filled with doubt whether or not he should wear the cape and mask of his alter ego, Batman, once more. He ultimately decides to defend Gotham with the presence of Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Tom Hardy). Catwoman, an expert thief, breaks into Wayne's mansion in order to steal his fingerprints. Her ultimate mission is to erase her dishonorable past from every database in the world. Meanwhile, Bane is rising to power and starting to take over Gotham, as Bane has locked Batman away. With the Bat's disappearance, Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young cop, believes in Gotham and fights for the citizens of Gotham. In order to remove Bane from power and save Gotham, Batman must rise and fight.

The Dark Knight has a very well-written script. However, the screenplay of The Dark Knight Rises has a few noticeable flaws. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan tried to fit a lot of content into this film that runs nearly three hours long. Catwoman is a welcome addition, despite my early doubts of her fighting for screen time with Batman. Around the midway point, it started to feel a bit bogged down with content, but Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) revives it. There are quite a few scenes with Commissioner Gordon that slow the overall pacing down a bit. Blake's character is a saving grace for these scenes.

Batman has less presence in The Dark Knight Rises than he received in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Bane and other roles seem to have just as much, if not more, presence than Batman himself. However, the film succeeds where many other superhero features have failed with having more than one villain in the same movie. Bane has been recreated very well. Instead of watching him be destructive, as many Batman fans are used to, audiences are able to see a more methodical villain. He's still very powerful, but he's more than brute force. The Nolan brothers have made Catwoman a neutral character that blurs the line of good and evil. She does what she wants, but primarily only when it benefits her in some way. She's a thief, but isn't overcome with the evil possessed by characters such as the Joker. Catwoman still has a conscious and moral standards. I genuinely respect this interpretation of Catwoman, which is far more interesting than making her strictly a protagonist or antagonist.

The ending of the movie is crucial, especially given the fact that this is the final act of Nolan's Batman trilogy. Fans and average moviegoers should both be happy with it with the exception that there isn't even a slight reference to the Joker from the last movie. Nevertheless, the conclusion works and will have moviegoers finishing the movie satisfied, as it fits the mood and momentum of the three feature films.

All of the surviving characters have returned, but there have been some new characters added. Christian Bale fits the role of Bruce Wayne, although his deep and raspy Batman voice can be a little bit over the top at times. Each and every time that Bane is on screen, Tom Hardy absolutely steals it. His presence is wonderful and makes Bane truly threatening, although I have an issue with the clarity of Bane's dialogue. Hardy's dialogue was intentionally muffled underneath the mask, but there are times where some words are difficult to understand. The other addition is nearly as interesting too. I doubted the casting decision of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, but she actually does a good job. She successfully brings many elements of the original character to life. She sells the smooth and sexy fighting style very well. Even things as small as the seductive walk of Catwoman are perfect. Hathaway is a nice addition to the cast.

Christopher Nolan has once again created a beautiful looking feature. The cinematography is outstanding in each and every scene. Nolan is very particular with how he presents his films, which I really respect. This is most certainly the type of movie you'll want to see on the big screen. Make sure that the theater you go to has a huge screen and a loud sound system. Do yourself a favor and see it in IMAX, if you can. This movie isn't just something you watch, but something you experience. Christopher Nolan is an expert with a camera, which he has now proven yet again with The Dark Knight Rises.

Everything that we've seen from Christopher Nolan's telling of the Batman saga all leads up to this. Gotham's potential destruction is upon us and supporters of Batman and Bane are split to battle it out. However, the movie is more than just a popcorn flick full of action. A large portion of the film is dedicated to telling the story. Unfortunately, there are few moments where the pacing slows down and becomes bloated. There's a lot squeezed into this movie without Batman having very much presence. I would have liked to have seen more of Batman's character arc. The ending is satisfying, leaving me content that this is the finale. The actors do a great job, although some dialogue gets lost behind Bane's mask. Nobody will leave disappointed with the visuals, dialogue, score, or action. Try to see this in IMAX, since it's worth the extra few dollars in this case. This isn't the perfect movie that many audiences hoped for it to be, as it has its flaws, but that doesn't change the fact that this is still a great movie. The Dark Knight Rises is a strong film that concludes Nolan's trilogy very well.

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