No Input Required: The Dark Knight Rises

It’s hard to just talk about The Dark Knight Rises by itself. As a conclusion to Nolan’s Batman story you really need to talk about the trilogy as a whole. I’m not going to go into which film was best because thanks to the third movie, it’s not really three separate stories. It’s one, it’s the story of a man who goes through tragedy after tragedy but despite the fact continues to be a symbol of, if anything, endurance.

Just a heads up, I won’t be ruining any spoilers for you about The Dark Knight Rises. I will be assuming you’ve seen both Batman Begins (BB) and The Dark Knight (TDK) and will talk about the events of those movies and how they relate to this one. Please be advised that if you haven’t seen those movies there will be spoilers ahead.

Something I have yet to see is a good superhero trilogy. Think about it every superhero movie has failed to get three in a row. Spiderman 3 and the Jazz Emo Dance, X3 and Brett Ratner destroying the Phoenix Saga, Batman Forever and the Joel Schumacher takeover, Superman 3 and Richard Pryer or Superman Returns and Superman’s son (whichever Superman 3 you prefer on that one). I don’t think anyone has ever gotten that right and because of that my expectations were low for The Dark Knight Rises even if I had full trust in Christopher Nolan doing a great job.

The Dark Knight Rises starts off 8 years after Joker’s rampage through Gotham that took place during TDK. It’s been a time of peace and prosperity for everyone that was wealthy already but still most people are at the very least safer. The movie begins showing the inner demons of those who know the truth about Harvey Dent and how they’re dealing with them. We find an older and defeated Bruce Wayne still grieving over Rachel Dawes’ death from TDK and has yet to find himself as Bruce Wayne even though he hasn’t put the Batsuit on in nearly a decade. Commissioner Gordon is haunted by the fact that he has to lie and praise a man who tried to kill his son so that Gotham can keep most of the criminals involved with organized crime behind bars. Finally one of the most heart felt performances comes from the amazing Michael Caine as Alfred, who is struggling with the promise he gave Bruce’s father and the guilt of his failure is starting to haunt him as he makes more and more desperate attempts to fix Bruce.

“Bane as a villain is great, I was engaged with the evil Sean Connery thing going on with this voice.”

Thankfully the movie begins in the middle of all this sadness with Selina Kyle (who is never referred to as Cat Woman) breaking into Wayne Manor and lighting a fire under Bruce Wayne’s ass thankfully bringing him back into the world. Anne Hathaway is the light of this movie as she brings the one and only bit of fun back into the bleak world of Gotham. Everything is so terribly important and profound that it’s nice to have her in the movie breaking things up with her few moments of genuine carefree destruction. The grandiose scale of what is happening in this film is hard to talk about with out ruining it but lets just say that a lot of shit is going down.

Bane as a villain is great, I was engaged with the evil Sean Connery thing going on with his voice. He’s smart and brutal but the difference is that after the movie I didn’t think about him any more. Unlike the Joker who I could probably talk some interesting things about right now. Who happens to never even get a mentioned in The Dark Knight Rises, I guess out of respect for Heath Ledger but honestly it made the events that happened in TDK seem hollow as if the Joker wasn’t a big fucking deal (Hint: He was). Bane does what he’s famous for though and if you’re a fan of Batman. Oops I guess there is at least one spoiler.

The story itself doesn’t really have that much to do with TDK to be completely honest, it’s mostly goes back to BB and finishes things up. I was actually really happy about this as it made a nice and tidy ending for the whole trilogy. Batman Begins was great as it used the story line of The Man Who Falls comic and The Dark Knight Rises continues with the themes from that. It’s kind of obvious with the “Rises” part in the title but I wasn’t thinking about that on my way into the theater. Bringing in everyone from all the movies (with the exception of the Joker) in one way or another helped conclude the story as well. Something I can’t say very often about most superhero movies.

The movie in IMAX is really the way to go. It’s mostly filmed in that format and while I’ve read from other critics that it can be jarring transitioning from that to regular film, I never experienced that. I did experience some probable hearing loss after the movie though as Nolan brought the Inception horn along for the ride and the theater really had everything super loud. The Dark Knight Rises concludes the trilogy very well and even as a stand alone movie, enough shit blows up to make me happy. I was more than satisfied and as far as I’m concerned it’s escaped the dreaded curse of the third superhero movie.

Bryan Belcher

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