Me and My Nine Iron

July 24, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 3:37 pm

With so much hype around this movie and then the event that occurred at the midnight showing in Colorado, this, if now dubiously, is without a doubt the biggest movie of the year. For so many reasons, I feel like no one can look at this movie from a truly unbiased standpoint, and while many will overrate this movie, I’m trying not to undercut it.

Why, you ask? Batman. The last part in the amazing trilogy. Christopher Nolan. Being epic (2-hour, 45-minute length). Huge action summer blockbuster ($250 million budget). Just to name a few, but I believe each one of these things subconsciously factored into everyone’s mindset about this movie.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the death threats against the critics who wrote reviews that didn’t give it a perfect rating. And how Rotten Tomatoes had to disable user commentary for the movie because of all the fan backlash against critics. Seriously. People who didn’t see the movie got enraged by people who did see the movie and didn’t think it was the best movie in the world. Its current IMDb rating as a top 10 movie of all-time? Please.

While I haven’t looked up these so-called negative reviews, I do agree with the one-liners posted on its Wiki page. Here are a few:

Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, stating “the film begins slowly with a murky plot and too many new characters, but builds to a sensational climax.”

The Daily Mail’s Chris Tookey said that the film was bloated and overly long as well as criticizing the sombre tone and lack of humor, despite praising the film’s visually impressive set pieces.

I completely agree with the pros and cons from both reviews. Before I read Ebert’s review, I too used the word “murky” to describe the second scene, and I was quickly disengaged from all the quick cuts and overload of plot points. I thought it was at least half an hour longer than it needed to be. The third act started two hours into the movie, and though I was the only one in my group of friends who struggled to pay attention, it just took way too long to set up the satisfying payoff.

If there’s one thing you can count on from Nolan, it’s that he’s an amazing filmmaker who will provide you visually cinematic pieces on a grand scale. The opening scene attests to that, as well as the destruction of the football field scene shown in the trailer. The third act provided great closure and was highly entertaining, if only to rid of the talking heads that consumed the previous act, and it made The Avengers‘ third act almost look cheesy in comparison.

Brief actor/character comments:

Christian Bale – Unlike The Dark Knight where he was overshadowed by the Joker, this movie was about Batman. With a great mystery around the 8-year layoff of the superhero and the internal struggles to suit up again, a great return to form for Batman.

Tom Hardy – A more traditional villain than the Joker with a physical force that rivaled Darth Vader’s death grip. Not the most exciting villain, but a force to be reckoned with. In a traditional sense, it’s much cooler to dress up in a costume and throw blows with the city’s baddest than play mind games like in The Dark Knight. Oh, and Batman gets his shit owned.

Anne Hathaway – A nice Catwoman, definitely got the slender body for it and doesn’t make you question how a woman is kicking men’s asses.

Marion Cotillard – Nice to look at, but with all due respect, thought her role would’ve been better suited for an American. Damn Inception residue.

I found The Dark Knight to have a more entertaining opening scene introducing the villain–though this one is as large-scale as a hatch gets–and a much more concise second act (The Dark Knight Rises, like Tookey said, was so serious) while The Dark Knight Rises had a much clearer and obviously, more complete third act.

Overall, a great conclusion to the trilogy. Thanks to Nolan for an amazing reboot of one of the two most popular superheroes of all-time.

Now, please no spinoffs (Halle Berry‘s Catwoman, anyone? 3.2 IMDb rating.), remakes or reboots for at least 10 years (Spider-Man only lasted a dismal five years).

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 9.1 (T-8th all-time)
What it should be: 8.1





  1. The movie is flawed. Many plot points go unexplained, while others seem too convenient (characters happen to be at the perfect place at the perfect time). Michael Caine is at his Michael Caine-iest ( And Marion Cottilard… yeesh. — And yet, I had a fucking blast.

    The first act is plodding, for sure, and would’ve benefited from finer editing. But everything within it is necessary, to establish characters, motives. Not sure how I would’ve changed the first third.

    Tom Hardy as Bane is terrific. I’ve been a Hardy fanboy since Bronson, and now he’s a star. I feel validated. Who else could’ve shown such charisma with half his face covered? Bane is all aura, and his mere presence steals every scene. He’ll be standing there, silent, hands on his collar and it changes the mood of the room. But I still choose Joker over Bane. Who you prefer is more about personal beliefs than Heath Ledgar and Hardy’s performances. Ideologically, they characters are polar opposites. Joker is maniacal, evil personified and unexplainable. Bane’s terror is purposeful, not entirely motivated by anarchy, which some might see as more terrifying. I’m just not one of them.

    And I have to say something about Joseph Gordon Levitt. I’ve been tough on him lately. I’ve said that he has movie star looks but broadway acting talent. He can’t help but overact. But he killed it in Batman. His best performance to date.

    All in all, a great movie and a satisfying ending to an iconic trilogy, even if at times it buckles under the weight of its own ambition.

    Comment by Chris Le — July 24, 2012 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

    • Talking about overacting, I felt that way about Hardy, especially in Warrior. Though their styles are nothing alike, he and Gordon-Levitt have similar acting chops.

      Comment by Bryan — July 25, 2012 @ 12:07 am | Reply

    • Oh, and I actually had that conversation about characters being in the perfect place at the perfect time for this movie. Happens all the time in action movies, which is one of several reasons why I’m not the craziest about the genre.

      Comment by Bryan — July 26, 2012 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  2. I’ll have to disagree with you on the length of the film, as those were some niggling thoughts too first time I watched it. I rewatched it two more times since and believe the movie was actually fantastically paced for its length and I applaud Nolan for trying to squeeze in as much as exposition as possible. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded if it was longer to set up more of Selina Kyle’s background.

    Marion’s role in the film was…. not quite the most memorable, but I disagree with an American actress replacing her. Her character background and her father were not from MURIKA as it was set up, and she does have a kinda unique gypsy look to her that makes sense for the character’s background. But her very last scene though man… that acting was cringeworthy. Worse so 2nd and 3rd time around.

    I’m gonna stand by this through and through, but Bane is the best secondary character in the entire trilogy. Ledger’s Joker was better acted only because his facial features weren’t covered and there is a comical charisma associated to the character, Watching TDK, I didn’t wish for a Joker spin-off as he’s not fun to watch without Batman motivating him. But I sure as hell want to see a Bane prequel with Tom Hardy, because he was absolutely spellbinding in how he re-imagined the character from its comic book origins. He was the main reason I went to rewatch it a 3rd time, I realized he stole entire arcs of sub-plot whenever he appears. That body language, his limited but extremely well crafted expressions with his eyes, and his carefully crafted, eloquent and sophisticated speech makes him a fantastic actor.

    Comment by Ja-Hon Suh — July 24, 2012 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

    • You watched it three times? Animal…

      And what happened to some of Bane’s cheesy lines we laughed over? Have they gotten appreciable the second and third time?

      Comment by Bryan — July 25, 2012 @ 12:03 am | Reply

      • The cheesy lines for me came from Batman, not Bane (if you remember me and Ped bantering.). It was Ped who laughed at Bane, and I joined because he made it comical. But upon re-viewing and reviewing, he had the best dialogue in the movie. And yeah, I calculated that I wasted 8hrs and 15mins of my life sitting in the theater for this one film. I have a crazy story to tell you about my 2nd viewing when I see you guys next time.

        Comment by Ja-Hon Suh — July 25, 2012 @ 12:14 am

  3. I pretty much agree with you – a great closing to a great trilogy – but let’s not get carried away with all of the “best movie of all time” hype. None of the Batman films come anywhere close to that – it’s ridiculous to even suggest. I guess if comic book movies are the only movies you ever watch, then maybe you could make that argument…but c’mon, people…RELAX. And critics are allowed to have differing opinions. It’s also been a very lackluster year in general for films, so this came along at a perfect time to entertain us. At any rate…here’s more of my rambling –

    Comment by David H. Schleicher — July 24, 2012 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

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