The Dark Knight Rises Review: A Stunning Conclusion to a Fantastic Trilogy

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Does Christopher Nolan’s final chapter in the Batman Legend disappoint? Not in the slightest. Filled with gripping performances, thunderous action, and more than a few shocking plot twists, The Dark Knight Rises is everything fans have hoped for and more.

The plot this time around sees Bruce Wayne hiding away in his rebuilt mansion, having abandoned his role as Gotham’s protector. Bringing him out of his slump is the elegant cat burglar Selina Kyle and the walking earthquake known as Bane.

The stakes have never been higher for Gotham City. Nolan smartly plays this one out slowly, making us wait to see the return of Batman, only to have the city crumble beneath him. The movie escalates to perhaps the best ending to a trilogy ever. The end of the film is absolutely sensational, and demands repeat viewings. Being the most emotional of the trilogy, you might find yourself surprised at just how much you have come to care for the characters.

Bale’s Batman has never been more fascinating. Early on he explains his mask to John Blake, saying that as a symbol, anyone can be a hero like Batman. This theme runs throughout and is perhaps the strongest idea in any superhero film to date, making me wonder why other films have yet to realize this.

The Dark Knight Rises boasts the best performances from Christian Bale and Michael Caine  in the series as they struggle together to realize what this heroic figure is meant to do for the city of Gotham. Gary Oldman give another rousing performance as Commissioner Gordon and even gets some of the better action moments in the film. Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox has a lot less to do this go around but pulls off his scenes with the usual craft he always delivers.

Now onto the villains. Anne Hathaway steals just about every scene she’s in as Catwoman. The question many fans will ask if she is better than Michelle Pfeiffer’s rendition in 1992’s Batman Returns. It is hard to say as both actresses played the character so differently, but were equally entrancing. Tom Hardy’s Bane makes for a great villain. Sure, he is no Joker, but this film is much more Batman’s story than his, and Hardy rises to the occasion as formidable foe for Batman to face off against multiple times in the film. Their fights are epic and laced with tragedy that you are forced to face with every blow.

Two other great additions to the franchise are Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake and Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate. Gordon-Levitt is particularly good as his character has the meatier themes of the film circulating around his character arc.

So, the ultimate question is whether this film lives up to 2008’s instant classic The Dark Knight. The answer is that this is an amazing movie and shouldn’t have to be pitted against its predecessor. But The Dark Knight is just slightly better than this sequel. The plot flows a little better in that film and it benefits from featuring my personal favorite movie villain of all time.

The Dark Knight Rises also features a romantic scene in the middle that just makes no sense and feels completely random (though not nearly as bad as the sex scene in Watchmen). But you will not see that detract from the rating in this review because everything else is just too incredible to ignore.

The Dark Knight Rises is extraordinary cinema and a terrific trilogy closer that will send Nolan’s trio of films down the lane of classics alongside the original three Star Wars movies and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. That is something no other superhero series can say. Welcome to the even bigger leagues Mr. Nolan. Now I hold my breath to see what is to come of both this series’ phenomenal hero and it’s visionary of a director. My guess is that the future is bright. Grade: A

One Response to The Dark Knight Rises Review: A Stunning Conclusion to a Fantastic Trilogy

  1. Mitch says:

    I was actually underwhelmed with the movie. I really wanted to love it, but I ended up just liking it. Its just compared to the masterpiece that is The Dark Knight, I was a bit underwhelmed.

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