It’s hard to describe the final chapter in Christopher Nolan‘s three part saga of Batman without giving away the juice—which I won’t do…
So consider this more of an impression than a review of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.
The story picks up eight years after the menacing actions of 2008’s THE DARK KNIGHT. Bruce Wayne/Batman has been out of sight in a self imposed exile, vilified as an enemy of Gotham City and still bearing the blame for the death of Harvey Dent.
But when an underground terrorist cell raises its ugly head in the metropolis, creating chaos and anarchy, our caped hero is persuaded back into action and ultimately bringing Christopher Nolan’s three part saga with twists, turns and turmoil to its conclusion….so to speak.
More on that conclusion later.
New in this final chapter is Bane, the master villain portrayed by Tom Hardy who’s often hard to understand due to his mouthpiece contraption. But there’s no mistaking his evil plan and execution for Gotham City. There’s also Wayne’s business ally Marion Cotilard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as gutsy cop John Blake—but it’s Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) who (almost) steals the show.
Some general observations:
* The movie’s main action doesn’t really get going until about half way into the film and then turns full blown during the third act.
* There are no references whatsoever to The Joker. Wonder if that was a decision made out of respect of Heath Ledger?
* Does anything or anybody in this film come close to Ledger’s demonic portrayal of The Joker? No way.
* 72 minutes of the film’s scenes were filmed with high resolution IMAX cameras and it shows. Especially if you watch the movie in IMAX. However it also improve those scenes in standard presentations.
(Note: the film was not filmed and is not being presented in 3-D!)
* Speaking of minutes, total running time is 2 hours and 44 minutes. Add in the possibly up to five trailers showing with the Caped Crusader and you could be looking at spending three-plus hours in your theater seat.
* The film is more dramatic and more complicated than the last two and has less of a comic book feel to it.
* Does it have a political agenda? Probably not even though the media is trying to brush that aside. Some viewers will point to its themes of class warfare, economic collapse, the Occupy Wall Street movement, bad guy Bane being linked (name wise) to Bain Capital and the volatile stock exchange and markets. All of which is pretty ridiculous. Hell, it’s a commercial comic book movie.
Rush must be taking those pain pills again….
* Finally, there’ll be many a discussion after the movie trying to interpret Bruce Wayne’s final fate.
Did he sacrifice himself for the survival of Gotham City? Is there hope for another Warner Brothers reboot in the franchise’s future? (Of course there is.)
And most importantly: Does he die at the end?
No spoilers from this reviewer. Suffice it to say that Christopher Nolan, who also co-wrote the screenplay, came up with a most clever closing. If there’s one small hint I might offer, it would be the word IMAGINES—as in Michael Caine‘s Alfred character imagining _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
So which of the three Batman movies is the best? In my book the nod goes to number two, THE DARK KNIGHT.
That said, I’m holding up four out of five caped fingers for The Dark Night Rises.
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. on KMBZ Fm & Am / Also anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411 / And throughout Nebraska on NEBRASKA ON DEMAND, Channel 411.