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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the same-bat-time-same-bat-channel dept.
Unless you've managed to not watch anything in the past three weeks, you're aware that Chris Nolan's final Batman movie is out. With Christian Bale as the low-talking caped crusader, The Dark Knight Rises is two hours and forty-five minutes of of fun. While it lacks a stand-out personal performance like Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, it is still a decent ending to this round of Batman movies. There are plenty of familiar faces, and a few new ones as well. Read below for my take on the movie, but be warned: there might be a few spoilers.
The movie starts out eight years after The Dark Knight. Batman has taken the blame for the death of district attorney Harvey Dent, and has disappeared from the public eye. Thanks to the passing of "The Dent Act," organized crime has been wiped out in Gotham, and the police find themselves increasingly obsolete. That all changes with the arrival of the villains. Since it was decided at some point in the 90s that all comic book movies needed at least two villains, in The Dark Knight Rises we have Bane and Catwoman.

Bane is played by Tom Hardy. Despite what Rush Limbaugh suggests, Bane is not connected to Mitt Romney, but was introduced in January 1993 and is best known for breaking Batman's back during the Knighfall comic series. He was even played terribly by a professional wrestler in 1997's Batman & Robin. I must admit that I was worried after reading reviews about how hard it was to hear Bane speak that the movie would degenerate into a low-talking competition between Hardy and Bale. They must have fixed the audio issues, because Bane's voice is certainly loud, if not the clearest at all times. To get an idea of what Bane sounds like, imagine Bill Cosby speaking with an English accent through a Darth Vader filter. The Bane in the movie shares little with the Bane from the comics, so he might not be to the liking of the purists, but he does a decent enough job of being a moderately intelligent juggernaut, and is the main villain in the story.

Ann Hathaway dons the cat ears as Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. All to often, female characters are little more than Kung-Fu cliched eye candy in comic movies. Nolan avoids this with Hathaway, but barely. Instead of a hot chick in a skin-tight, black leather outfit who is one bad fall from becoming the headliner at the local furry convention, Hathaway is a hot chick in a skin-tight, black leather outfit who plays a small but important role in the overall story arc.

Plenty of old characters reprise their roles, including Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Michael Caine as Alfred. Some old villains even show up for this final installment. New to the mix this time are Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Matthew Modine, who play the cop everyone likes to love and the cop that everyone loves to hate, respectively.

For those of you who like the military look of Nolan's Batman vehicles over the more stylized Bat-vehicles of past movies, this one does not disappoint. The Batbike gets plenty of air time, as well as multiple Batmobiles driving around the city. This time around, the Batcopter makes its debut. While I think it looks more like something the Space Marines would fly around while fighting Aliens, it is consistent with the franchise's aesthetics.

Overall, a large portion of the story reminds me of a post-apocalyptic movie, with a Gotham that has existed in anarchy for many months. There are some decent fight scenes, including a small army of mercenaries fighting thousands of police in the streets while Batman and Bane duke it out in front of City Hall. There aren't a lot of surprises, and there aren't any stand-out performances, but there isn't a lot to dislike either. This was supposed to be the last of Nolan's Batman movies, but the ending leaves the possibility of another wide open, and I would not be surprised if another was made (assuming Rises makes enough money). So many movies — comic movies in particular — degenerate quickly with each sequel, and having to exist in the shadow of Heath Ledger is a daunting task. The Dark Knight Rises does a good job of stepping out of that shadow, however, and delivers for me, the best story of the series.
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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

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  • Awesome (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This was awesome clahbpah

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:22PM (#40718345)

    too many guns and killings. I fear that some impressionable youth will try to imitate batman and get himself hurt. Or even worse, someone will imitate the villain and kill innocent bystanders will guns.

    The government needs to step in and forbid such violent movies that glorify guns and violence. PG-13 ratings by MPAA isn't working. And guns need to be banned, period. Only military and police should have guns.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jeng (926980)

      Why stop with guns?

      http://www.top10stop.com/lifestyle/top-10-most-common-murder-weapons [top10stop.com]

      The third most common murder weapons are body parts such hands, feet, fists and head. Throwing a punch, a head-butt or a kick against another personâ(TM)s head usually has fatal consequences and unfortunately many people have been murdered as such. In 2008 it is reported that 861 lost their lives by fatal body blows in the US.

      Just think of how many lives would be saved if we just cut off everyone's hands.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by siddesu (698447)
        No reason to stop with guns, but according to your list, they'd be a good place to start.
      • by godel_56 (1287256) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:38PM (#40719173)

        Why stop with guns?

        http://www.top10stop.com/lifestyle/top-10-most-common-murder-weapons [top10stop.com]

        The third most common murder weapons are body parts such hands, feet, fists and head. Throwing a punch, a head-butt or a kick against another personâ(TM)s head usually has fatal consequences and unfortunately many people have been murdered as such. In 2008 it is reported that 861 lost their lives by fatal body blows in the US.

        Just think of how many lives would be saved if we just cut off everyone's hands.

        Good luck killing 12 people (so far) in one place with your hands and feet. A typical assault rifle clip holds 30 rounds, and he changed clips at least once according to early reports.

        "It's the gun laws, stupid", (at least in large part).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Just think of how many lives would be saved if we just cut off everyone's hands.

        Because seriously, I can't think of how many times a maniac has broken into a crowded theater and kicked 12 people to death, amirite?

        Why the fuck is this even an argument: do you have to hand your BRAIN in when you get an NRA membership, or is it just a self-selection effect?

      • Or heads.
      • No, but if you cut off everyone's hands, all the top 10 weapons on that list are instantly outmoded

        After that its Lord Vader Jedi mind tricks for you.

  • by Fallingcow (213461) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:28PM (#40718425) Homepage

    I didn't like it much.

    It felt like the script needed another good once-over and a trim. It's a thematic mess and takes about twice as long as it ought to to introduce the characters and (poorly, repetitively) present their motivations. Some of the delivery was pretty wooden, especially in the first half, but that may have been the result of mediocre editing (there were also a couple awkward cuts, IMO, so maybe that was it) or the piss-poor dialog. Filled with painful talking-to-the-audience exposition that's so bad it was comical—again, a writing issue.

    For the entire first half I was worried that I'd walk out hating the movie, but fortunately improved somewhat, nearer the end.

    The audio was poor. A fair bit of the dialog (not just Bane's) was hard to pick up. Bane sounded like he wasn't even in the same room—more like a voiceover— an effect which, it seems to me, can only be called an outright mistake on the part of the filmmakers.

    The ending's OK I guess?

    • I didn't like it much.

      It felt like the script needed another good once-over and a trim. It's a thematic mess and takes about twice as long as it ought to to introduce the characters and (poorly, repetitively) present their motivations.

      I actually didn't like the last one: too long, too tedious, too overblown, too overhyped.

      If I go see this one at all, it will only be to make sure I get the jokes when I read Cleolinda's send-up.

    • by BarryHaworth (536145) on Friday July 20, 2012 @07:46PM (#40720199) Homepage

      I didn't like it much.

      I went to see the movie with my kids last night, and liked it a lot less than I expected to.

      SPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERS

      My main gripe was the set up of how the city was held to ransom for an extended period of time, which simply didn't feel credible. We have a situation where the bad guys manage to hold a city of ~12 million people hostage for a period of about 6 months (not completely sure of the numbers here) by threatening to blow them up with the fusion reactor. The bad guys keep control by their initial army of outlaws who have been training in the city's sewers, augmented by the hundreds liberated from the Bastille - sorry, the prison. During this time no one is allowed to escape because of the threat to blow the nuke, a threat which is enforced from the outside, yet somehow the city manages to function after a fashion - food supplies are provided from the outside, and somehow enough order is maintained that the city doesn't simply collapse. I would expect plagues and famine and riots, not to mention fire after all the explosions at the start of the siege.

      I found this all rather hard to buy. In terms of the story the extended siege is done to give Bruce Wayne time to heal up in his remote prison, and to make his spiritual journey that allows him to escape from it and return to Gotham. I find it hard to believe that such a siege with so many hostages could be maintained - this is a city after all, and would leak people like a sieve. Similarly, the maintenance of order would be a real problem in such circumstances. Least credible of all, I could not swallow that a thousand or so police offices could be trapped underground for six months, somehow supplied with food & such, then be busted out and run off to battle, fully fit and wearing clean uniforms. Really?

      Did anyone else spot all the French Revolution/Tale of Two Cites references? I mean the conflict between aristocracy and underclass, the storming of the prison (the Bastille), the citizens' court against the oppressors, the final sacrifice and Bruce Wayne's epitaph, read from the close of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. Interesting to see that put into a modern setting.

      I wondered about some of the technology also. I thought the helicopter thing was pretty neat, though it was fortunate that the missiles fired at it were so slow that the copter could keep ahead while it outmanoeuvred them . Did Bane buy them from the lowest bidder, perhaps? I didn't really buy that the fusion core could be (a) so easily turned into a bomb, or (b) be removable from the reactor and still remain deadly without the need to keep it fuelled or maintained.

      That said, there was a lot to like. I don't think I'll be in a hurry to watch this one again, though - unlike the first two movies in the series.

      • by metrix007 (200091)

        Nolan cited using ATOTC as inspiration, so the similarities you note are not surprising.

      • by chebucto (992517)

        Wait, what?

        Blow up the city with a fusion reactor?

        (Morbo's voice): FISSION REACTORS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY

        That's the same knumbskull mistake Aliens made.

        Just call it a fission reactor and, while it isn't going to blow up in a giant fireball, it's still a credible threat. Yeesh.

    • by greggman (102198)

      Agreed, there were all kinds of problems

      It was reaaalllllyyy ssssssllllloooooowwwwww

      SERIOUS SPOILERS!!! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN

      How do you feed 12 million people for 6 months with all the bridges blown up except 1 and the tunnels blocked?

      Why did they hold the city hostage for 6 months if they planned to blow it up anyway? They had the trigger from day 1. The girl pushed the button at one point. What was the 6 months of waiting for?

      What was the point of Miranda keeping it a secret that she was part o

  • still waiting... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spidercoz (947220) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:32PM (#40718465) Journal
    for Warners to make a Batman movie as good as Mask of the Phantasm
  • by JakFrost (139885) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:43PM (#40718579)

    Saw it yesterday after the the Citrix Wow to How 3 seminar (great job on that Brad Peterson, very informative and well done presentation!). (PS: To any Slashdot geeks support Citrix, sign-up for next year to get an early preview of whatever movie is going to come out then.)

    The movie was pretty good. It had a nicely flowing narrative with the main story and plenty of other side stories to keep it flowing nicely. Christian Bale performed as expected with a top notch performance, Tom Hardy did a great job as Bain showing a completely calm and serene villain standing up to anything that Batman threw at him and then outmatching him. Great performance there, hope to see more of Tom Hardy in future movies. The audio from Bain's filtered voice mask was very loud and clear and fully understandable with a very nice English accent. The mask did cover a lot of Tom Hardy's face and you really had to look down at his neck to even notice that he was actually the one talking because you can't see any movement. The performances of the other cast members were also very good with great character play.

    There were of course a few plot issues and unbelievable things that you had to ignore with the police being trapped underground for 3-months and then finding out that it was only 3,000 officers. I grew up in NYC and I know that the NYPD has 36,000 officers so it was very hard to imagine so few out there in Gotham as the GPD force. That didn't jive with me. Also if you're trapped underground for 3-months without light and no access to clean water and food things don't go very well for you. Also NYC (Gotham in the movie) has so many access tunnels into the underground that it seems far fetched to be stuck down there without a way out.

    Anyway, like the movie overall and am looking forward to the next set of Batman movies in the future. I don't mind this franchine being remade every few years because it attracts a lot of money from the studios and talented actors. (Heath Ledger being the most memorable, damn those Olsen twins!)

    • The trapped cops were getting plenty of food and water throughout the ordeal. They were essentially jailed...in the pit.

  • How was the film?

  • spoilers? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by eldepeche (854916)

    If you can't write a review without spoilers, why bother?

  • Spoiler alert: The alien bursts out of Batman's chest and kills Bane as his first victim :-)
  • I thought he was about to have a conversation with the characters from Peanuts.
  • What'd y'all think of the Lazaras Pit?

  • At the end of Batman Begins, Zsasz (Tim Booth) was shown walking out of the opened jail, and is (for all we know) still at large, doing unspeakable things to the children of Gotham. Won't somebody think of the children?

  • For Nolan, Gotham City looks like one of those maps of LA or NY that shows the rest of the World as being about the same size. Some dude is in Hong Kong that has information you need, that's like a day trip for Batman. If you were to squeeze the events going on globally into a city, and scale down the wars being fought, it would be just like a Batman movie.

    I have lived in 5 countries and visited even more. In every single placed I've lived and visited, there were bad parts of town you knew were not sa

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