Saturday, July 6, 2013

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Action, characters, acting.  Pretty much everything
Cons: Dialog could have been mixed in better
The Bottom Line
Worthy conclusion
To superhero saga
Will leave fans happy

Christopher Nolan's Masterful Conclusion to His Dark Knight Trilogy

After not enjoying the last Batman film, I was hesitant to see The Dark Knight Rises.  I finally decided that if I was invited to see it with friends, I'd go, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it.  Fortunately, some friends asked me to join them on opening night because I really enjoyed it.

I am going to be very careful to not spoil this movie.  However, I will make some references to the last film.  Those will mostly happen in the next paragraph.  You have been warned.

It's been eight years since the night Harvey Dent died and Batman became public enemy number 1.  In that time, Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) has cleaned up the streets of Gotham City.  But he's done it without the help of Batman, who is still in hiding.  Likewise, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has spent the last eight years in Wayne Manor grieving Rachael and refusing to move on with his life.

That changes, first when Bruce has a run in with cat burglar Selina (Anne Hathaway).  But he really must come forward after Bane (Tom Hardy) comes to town.  Bane has a plan all his own to destroy Gotham.  Is the city ready to forgive Batman?  And can Bruce truly come out of retirement to be Batman again?

As I said, I went into this movie a little leery about whether I would ultimately enjoy it or not.  Now I'm not going to say it was all light.  There was still plenty of darkness to the film.  But it wasn't overly depressing and the ultimate messages of the film were more uplifting overall.

The movie is a two hour and forty minute epic.  I really was expecting the movie to drag at some point.  But it never does.  I was engrossed the entire time.  Yes, certain plot developments were expected, but everything was so well done I really didn't care.

Even though these have been more realistic superhero movies (well, as realistic as you can be in this genre), the movies have been filled with great action sequences and special effects.  This one is no exception, and they hold together well.  I bought what I saw, and the action was all easy to follow and exciting.

Many of the actors returned from the previous two films, so it's hardly a surprise that they are great here.  Of the new cast members, I loved Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.  She brought a sass to her lines there were just so much fun.  Another great newcomer was Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a policeman who becomes involved in the plot.

I have seen neither of the previous films since the last one came out.  I wish I had because there are references to them that I had forgotten.  I had to have my friends fill me in on the way home.  So if you can, rewatch them before you see this one.

If I had one complaint, it was Batman and Bane's voices.  At times, they are hard to understand over the background noise/music.  They really should have mixed the sound better.  Still, I could always follow the story, so it was a minor complaint.  I wasn't the only one who felt that way; we all agreed it was an issue on the way home.

I am thrilled I didn't let a bad experience keep me away from this movie.  The Dark Knight Rises is a worthy final chapter to this trilogy.

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