Over the weekend I saw The Dark Knight Rises at the i-max in Waterloo, here is what I thought…
When it was first announced officially that Chris Nolan would be making a third installment to his Dark Knight trilogy I was a little sceptical. It seemed as though the film-maker had little to no interest in returning to Gotham and completing the trilogy and I was worried this would have a negative impact on the film’s quality. That changed when I was lucky enough to see the 6 minute prologue at the i-max in Waterloo a few months ago, the quality and spectacle in that opening sequence completely dispelled any doubts that I may have had about this films quality.
I’m not going to recount the plot here because I hate it when people do that in reviews, instead I’m just going to talk about the things I liked, and the one thing I felt a little let down by.
The Dark Knight Rises is a huge, grand, epic film. There is so much spectacle on display here that I’d say if you can see it on 70mm at an i-max then go do it now. Nolan uses every inch of the screen to great effect and in my opinion the i-max screen pulls you into the film in a far more effective way than 3D ever could.
I loved Bane, he’s a smart villain that always seems to be one step a head in the game. His voice was great and I absolutely loved how he constantly spoke in such grandiose metaphors (“You think darkness is your ally, but you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it” possibly my favourite quote from the film). I’ve read some reviews that question his motivation…were these reviewers actually watching the film? It is quite clearly stated he is there to fulfill Ra’s and The League of Shadows mission from Batman Begins, he wants to destroy Gotham. He also states why he has such a problem with Bruce Wayne/Batman, he feels that he is a traitor to the league, he even tells him directly to his face during the sewer fight scene!
In my opinion this was Christian Bale’s best performance as Batman (the best performance as Batman of any actor in fact), and that’s because this really was Bruce Wayne’s story. He spent most of the film being battered and beaten down until he reached his very lowest point of the trilogy and it made his eventual rise even greater. The focus on Bruce made every scene with Batman even more engaging, the excitement I felt the first time he pulled back on the cape and cowl to bring down Bane’s thugs was sky high!
The rest of the returning cast weren’t given too much to do, Lucius Fox was pretty much sidelined, Alfred was given a small but significant part to play and Commissioner Gordon’s usual part was pretty much taken over by John Blake. Which brings me to one of my favourite parts of the film, the John Blake story arc. I really enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance and thought his ending was great. I would like to see Warner Bro’s take the route set up by this character’s arc and use JGL as a new Batman/Nightwing rather producing a reboot of this reboot…
Getting to the female cast members I thought Marion Cotillard did well in another small but significance role. Anne Hathaway was brilliant as Selina Kyle (Catwoman in all but name) she completely proved all the doubters wrong with a charismatic and often scene stealing performance, which was needed to bring a little levity and charm that may other wise been lacking.
The one thing I didn’t like? How things ended for Bane. I felt a villain of his stature and prowess deserved a little more than what he got. Another slight niggle is that I would have liked to seen some explanation as to how Bruce got back from prison, they never actually state where the prison is either. The only time it’s location is mentioned is when Alfred says it’s in an ancient part of the world, so I assumed it was an Aztec prison located somewhere in Mexico, but would have liked a scene showing Bruce sneak through customs/past border patrol, but those are only small nitpicks in the grand scheme of things.
All in all I thought it was a very good film, not as good as The Dark Knight but very much a worthy ending to a great trilogy.