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The Dark Knight Rises(2012)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Christopher Noland

Starring:
Christian Bale/Bruce Wayne/Batman
Tom Hardy/Bane
Anne Hathaway/Selina Kyle
Michael Caine/Alfred
10 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has been a recluse since he put the Joker away and took the heat for Harvey Dent’s aka Two-Face’s crimes. But a ruthless terrorist rises out of the shadows; his name is Bane (Tom Hardy), he ain’t playing and aims to burn Gotham to the ground. With this new foe in the mix, Bruce Wayne has no choice but to suit up and do what he was born to do, what gives him purpose: Be BATMAN!
THE LOWDOWN

When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die. - Bane

As the build up to the THE DARK KNIGHT RISES release has been kicking in, I have been noticing some hate towards the franchise from SOME (I stress some btw) fans. One of the “perks” that comes with running a movie website and being online 24/7 is that I get to see a lot. In this case; the usual drill with beloved franchises. BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT were worshiped when they came out, so of course with some time away, some folks start trolling on them. “That wasn’t the Joker I know, The Dark Knight sucked” or “That wasn’t Batman’s true origins, Batman Begins sucked”. Well it’s not supposed to be; this is Christopher Nolan’s version of BATMAN, his novel stamp on it and I f*cking loved it, all that matters in my little world.

Now before tackling THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, I had a back to back rewatch of BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT, and I am glad that I did, cause this was not three movies, this was one long story, told in three installments. So reminding me of what came before, surely helped me in appreciating this final chapter further; I recommend you do the same. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was a more introspective edition that its predecessor, being that everything that was established in the two other movies came to a head. The toll of being Batman on Bruce Wayne, physically and psychologically, the strain it brought to his relationship with Alfred, his love life (or lack of) and Wayne Enterprises and although the flick spat out some potent socially relevant themes like the clash between high class/low class and the huge dents in society’s info structure, it was Bruce Wayne’s plight that tugged at me. A man that put everything on the line for his city and ideals, sacrificed so much in the process, took the heat for something he didn’t do, and now with this new menace, has to rise again, deal with the beat downs and make the wrong things right. This movie was not just Batman must save the day; it was also about Bruce Wayne coming to terms with himself, his past and allowing his life to jump that wall he created to move forward.

Huge props to Christian Bale for conveying the many facets and layers of his character so convincingly. He was my anchor to the whole spiel and he nailed it and then some! But Bale was not alone in providing a nuanced and gripping performance. Tom Hardy as Bane was a force to be reckoned with. A beast of a man physically, yet obviously smart and eloquent (took me 10 minutes to get used to that voice). Hardy was an ideal choice, and he used his body language and his expressive eyes to communicate the role supremely. I adored how the flick eventually gave him a glimmer of depth hence shifting my perspective of him to SOME degree; it made the role so much more powerful. Anne Hathaway was tops as well; a good girl gone bad with maybe some good still left in her. I didn't really get "Catwoman" from her (not catty enough) but she still worked. On his end Joseph Gordon-Levitt was mucho credible as the idealistic cop on the beat. His role became meatier and meatier as the clock ticked forward and I relished every second of it. Now while, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman all gave stellar shows, I have to point out Michael Caine, who as Alfred had the most emotionally riveting scenes to tackle here. Caine was given A LOT to chew on and being the veteran that he is, he handled the material with some much gusto that it brought tears to my eyes. Yes I was a man-bitch for a moment.

Story wise; this was a perfect cap-off to the two previous films. The references/expended story threads/surprises related to THE DARK KNIGHT and particularly to BATMAN BEGINS really hit home and helped bring a satisfying close to what may be one of the best trilogy of all time. We had Star Wars (OG), we had Indiana Jones (ignore Crystal Skull) and now we have Nolan’s BATMAN. Yes I rank his take on the same level as the greats! Armed with stirring dialogue/drama, sumptuous cinematography, jaw dropping moment of chaos/destruction and thrilling actions scenes, why wouldn’t I? Speaking of action; this one had less physical get-downs than the two previous films, but that was okay, because I don’t watch Nolan’s BATMAN movies to see shit blow up (that’s a bonus); I watch them because I am invested in the characters and the situations. And here; I was so there, that when BATMAN rose for the first time or when he threw down with Bane (awesome nifty gritty fist to cuffs bits by the way, no bullcrap Hollywood close shot editing here) or just when the overall shite hit the fan, I sat up in my seat, all wide eyed, fanboy goose bumps traveled down my spine, and I appreciated every second of it.

Add to all that jive Nolan’s striking visuals (dug his wow areal shots, grandiose wide shots and his keen attention to details), superior editing (so many plot threads, tied together masterfully) and Hans Zimmer’s resounding score (my fav tune is Gotham's Reckoning) which lets face it brings in at least 50% of the emotional power of these films and you get one hell of a movie, one that gets its cake and eats it too! How’s that? Well try a: visceral character study, a relevant social commentary and a Hollywood blockbuster all at once. Any complaints? A couple but nothing to tarnish my perfect score over. Why? Cause I’m THAT guy! Some of the dialogue was too blatantly expositional, one of the film’s twists was see through, the flick skimmed over some happenings (it needed to be a 5 hour movie) and I caught some conveniences in terms of some turns. So….SO WHAT!  It’s funny cause one of the first things I said to my bud coming out was: “The movie was three hours long, I craved three more hours of it”. If like me you are enamored of Nolan’s rendition of BATMAN, loved the first two films, then I have a hard time grasping how you’re not going to get your rocks off on this one!

As the end credits rolled, I was floored, Nolan did it again, and for the last time! Thank you for giving me a movie trilogy that is worthy of my hard earned cash. And thank you for giving me a trilogy that I SHOULD revisit and show to my kids if I ever have any someday! Call me a Nolan fanboy or an a-hole, I don’t give a frick, I love these movies and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES owned me and then some! “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” RISEEEEEEEEEEE!

GORE
We got some violence but it kind of annoyed me that the film would cut-away when brutality (mostly at the hands of Bane) would go down. Having more on screen graphic violence would have given the acts more oomph in my useless opinion.
T & A
Every time Catwoman hopped on the Bat-Bike, I was staring at that latex hugged ass. Was that wrong? If so. All good!
BOTTOM LINE
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES put the word epic in EPIC! It might be the installment that is more likely to divide peeps, hey that's fine. To me, it was a beyond fitting cap-off to a stand out trilogy. A well written, skilfully shot, thought provoking and magnificently acted piece of cinema. And that’s what Nolan has given me with his trilogy; CINEMA. Films that managed to do it all at once and very well at that. Layered character studies, with relevant themes while wowing me with aces visual effects, extravagant imagery and genius action scenes. Granted, I saw one twist coming miles away, we got some explicitly expositional dialogue, some turns were rushed (in the name of pacing) and there was some convenient coincidences to serve the plot, but I was EASILY able to let them boo-boos go, entranced and moved by the brilliant filmmaking before me. Thank you Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale and company for the AMAZING ride this has been! Can’t wait to see THE DARK KNIGHT RISES again!
BULL'S EYE
Natalie Portman, Jessica Biel and Eva Green all screen tested for the Catwoman role.

Christopher Nolan verbally told the actors the ending of the film to avoid leaks.

Both Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have stated this is their last BATMAN movie.