Director: Christopher Nolan
Notable Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
This is going to be a tough one to get through knowing the backlash from fan boys about this film. Firstly, it must be said that in the end I very much still enjoyed this epic finale in Christopher Nolan's "Batman" Trilogy and there are amazing things about the epic scope and nature of the film. Secondly, as I walked out of the movie theater I could not the shake the feeling of massive disappointment. Where some good friends of mine clamored about the film being Nolan's best, I was stricken by the thought that this was actually Nolan's weakest film and throughout the night I grappled with this thought...and this is the review that I came up with.
It's been 8 years since the death of Harvey Dent and the fall of the Joker. Batman has been in exile and Gotham's clean up on crime successful. This leaves Bruce Wayne (Bale) a recluse over the loss of his love Rachael and the lack of Batman in his life. His absence from his job and society is kicked into gear when a daring jewel thief Selina Kyle (Hathaway) breaks him his mansion to steal some pricy jewelry. Upon further investigation, Wayne discovers that this is only the beginning since she was hired by some powerful folks attempting to unleash the devastating mercenary Bane (Hardy) into Gotham. With a massive plan to hold Gotham to its own lie by unleashing dystopia, Batman will have to come back and rise to the occasion...but has it already been too long?
|A man with a cane and a Caine.|
|"Two can play the skin tight black leather outfit game!"|
This missed balance of how real the film needed to be really affects how it comes across. HERE THERE BE SPOILERS so if you haven't seen the movie feel free to quit reading now. Examples of such can be found in the first sequence. Although I give him that the plane hijacking is massively cool visually with awesome stunt work, but...why? Who hijacks a place like that? What a needless way to bring down an aircraft. And that's only the beginning. We get massive nuclear bombs made from potential Earth saving energy sources (whom my friend Matthew pointed out is the exact same plot from "Spider-Man 2"), a military controlled state lead by Bane who sort of just hangs out in the last half, and Bruce Wayne gets his back broken only to sort of hang on a rope in traction, get punched, works out, and then escapes an inescapable prison to somehow make it back to Gotham with no funds and no connections. The film tries so hard to be so clever with its epic plot that it somehow forgets that these films needed to feel real. I definitely think that the brothers Nolan should have pushed for a 'less is more' concept for the film.
|"Wooly coats for EVERYONE!"|
It does massively help that the ending to the film was worth it. It makes up for a lot of the issues presented by the first two-thirds of the film. It has a delightfully tight ending and a few surprises that will have fans clamoring despite some of its ridiculousness. I definitely won't give that away here in this review, but know that its worth seeing the film just for its last fifteen minutes even if I felt like Bane (whom I loved as a villain through the first portions, despite his breathy Sean Connery impersonation) just sort of dwindles away.
It's hard to say any movie that Christopher Nolan has made is bad. His direction and his casting in the end save this film from a lot of its writing flaws both in plot and characters. In the end, I did enjoy the film for its visual prowess and glorious moments of great writing...but its easily one of the most flawed films he has done. It's simply too epic for its own good and has to cut corners in realism to make it all work. I'm sure that I'll take some heat and hate for this, but despite what I was told..."The Dark Knight Rises" is Nolan's weakest effort to date.
Written By Matt Reifschneider