This weekend I was able to squeeze out some time to go see The Dark Knight Rises and all I can say is wow. That movie was incredible. If you haven’t seen it yet don’t worry, I won’t spoil any of the plot details and surprises. You may read ahead without fear.
Ever since Batman Begins I have loved Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. There is so much heart and humanity infused in them that I find myself believing the story could actually be real. It’s not like Batman has any superpowers or mutations – he’s just an obscenely rich man who chooses to do some eccentric things with his money. Going into The Dark Knight Rises I was quite nervous. I knew that this was the end of the film series and wanted so badly for it to live up to its predecessors and was terrified it would not. Everything I had seen leading up to the release, though, filled me with hope and that hope was rewarded.
The thing that I have loved the most about this particular franchise is the attention that is given to the story. It is much too common for action movies to focus so much on the actual action sequences that they forget about creating an engaging story that makes the viewer care about the outcome of those sequences – this is not the case here. The Dark Knight Rises had a huge cast of characters, many of whom were new, yet I cared deeply about what happened to them. Even the villains were given proper motivations so that, while I wanted them to lose, I understood why they did the things they did and even felt some empathy for them.
I am not a huge Christian Bale fan by any means, but I think that he is an amazing Bruce Wayne/Batman. There are so many conflicting emotions in this character that are imperative to making him believable and Bale does a fantastic job at conveying that. Other returning actors that continued in their excellence were Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), and especially Michael Caine (Alfred). Micheal Caine may be my favorite part of all three films. The love and loyalty Alfred shows Bruce, in spite of all the antics Bruce puts him through, tears my heart to pieces.
And I must say, I was very impressed by all of the additional cast members. Anne Hathaway was, in my opinion, perfect as Selina Kyle (side note: I loved the subtlety with her alter ego. Just another example of why this version of Batman is so great and believable.) and Marion Cotillard was fantastic as Miranda Tate. Both women held their own in a very male-centric cast and showed that you can be both feminine and strong.
Then there was Joseph Gordon-Levitt as young police officer John Blake. Going into this movie all I ever seemed to hear was how excited people were to see him. I didn’t really get it. I don’t have anything against Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but I simply did not understand why people seemed to fawn over him SO much. I get it now. He was phenomenal. Somewhere along the line the goody kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun became an actor to watch out for.
I also need to take a moment to praise Tom Hardy who played the villain Bane. Wow. He was incredible. Bane was freaking intimidating without ever being over the top. His mere presence was enough to cause me to hold my breath wondering what he was going to do. Yet he was also able to show great vulnerability when it was needed. By the end of the movie I felt true compassion for this character. He was crazy and needed to be stopped, but I still felt for him.
That’s pretty much all I feel I can say without giving things away, so I’ll stop. Bottom line: go see this movie. But go into it expecting story and character development aided by action as opposed to action with occasional story. The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic end to an even more fantastic trilogy. And, as my friend Coty would say, it made me feel all the emotions.
Have you seen this film or do you plan to? What did you think? Without giving away spoilers, were you satisfied by the ending? Let me know in the comments.