After Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight broke all kinds of box office records in 2008, The Dark Knight Rises quickly became one of the most anticipated movies of all time. My close friend, fellow fan-boy, and HUGE Batman fan Travis Artim and I are here to give our thoughts on the final chapter in this Batman saga. ***Spoilers***
T. Artim: Let me start by saying that The Dark Knight (the second movie in this EPIC movie trilogy) is my all-time favorite comic book inspired movie. The unforgettable performance by Heath Ledger, combined with the tone and feel of the movie, make it epic in every sense of the word. And after seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I can happily say that Christopher Nolan and Co. have not forgotten how to make a truly remarkable movie. The Dark Knight Rises is everything that a Bat-fan would want in the conclusion to one of the most revered Dark Knight sagas.
This movie absolutely met or exceeded the expectations that I had rumbling around in my head leading up to seeing the movie. The one that I was most nervous about was the characterization of Catwoman, and if Anne Hathaway could play the part. And she completely delivered. The first scene between her and Bruce, when she steals the pearls, just felt like Catwoman. When she completely turned off the act and became Catwoman was pure awesome. Selina Kyle would have stolen the show for me, if it hadn’t been for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his portrayal of young rookie GCPD cop John Blake. His detective skills (figuring out Bruce was Batman, finding the cave, etc.) cemented him as a key contributor to the story. And, come on, don’t act like when you found out his name was Robin, didn’t give you goose bumps.
Heath Ledger/The Joker cannot be replaced. He is the Clown Prince of Crime, and I completely agree with Matt, as well as Christopher Nolan on not involving him or any mention of him in this movie. However, Bane completely lived up to his name, and did an exceptional job in following the Joker, but more importantly Tom Hardy did a truly admirable job in following Heath. For being asked to wear an almost full face mask, have your voice augmented (which I wasn’t too keen on), and still be overpowering and menacing, Hardy delivered in spades. He has recently become one of my favorite actors thanks to his roles in Bronson, Inception, and of course, The Dark Knight Rises.
The big reveal(s) of course was the introduction of Blake as Robin, as well Talia al Ghul (daughter of criminal mastermind Ra’s Al Ghul, Liam Neeson’s character from Batman Begins, who had a great cameo in this movie) being the one to break the Bat. Bane may have done it physically, but it was through her plans and her deception that it came to be in the first place. Marion Cottilard captured the duality perfectly, and it showed in Bruce’s reaction towards the end of the movie. To see Batman’s eyes at the end, when she reveals herself as the true villain of the movie, is heart-wrenching and really made me think that the Bruce Wayne was going to die. So when he did, I wasn’t all that shocked. However, what I thought was so brilliant about this movie is that, Bruce Wayne did “die”. He’s gone from Gotham. The Bat, however, the symbol, will live on (in John Blake). The legend of Bruce Wayne did end, but the legend of the Bat is eternal, and will live on in Gotham City, and in Hollywood, forever.
Every scene of The Dark Knight Rises felt important. The characters felt real, the relationships felt genuine. Nothing felt forced, and to have it so intricately weave together all three films of this epic trilogy, reminds you of why you go to the movies. Christopher Nolan gave us one of the greatest interpretations of the Dark Knight and of Gotham City itself. It was a beginning, middle, and end of a story that, for me, was the inspiration for picking up an actual comic book. In my humble opinion, The Dark Knight can now stand next to The Lord of the Rings as the greatest movie trilogies of all time.
M. Horn: Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is star-studded, and action-packed, but at the core of the entire trilogy is story telling/movie making at it’s best!
Walking into the theater Friday night I felt mixture of excitement, and nervousness. Excited to see one of my favorite comic characters on the big screen for what promised to be an awesome conclusion to the trilogy, but nervous of the huge criticism it might face if it didn’t meet “everybody’s” expectations. Though, I had faith that TDKR would deliver. (How can you not have faith in Christopher Nolan or Batman by now?)
Bane (Tom Hardy) was a ruthless and relentless brute, which I thought was a good choice as the feature villain. An intellectual equal to Bruce Wayne, and psychical force who could over-power a battered bat in decline. A character who could really make the audience question whether or not Batman would survive? Bane was capable of pushing Bruce Wayne and Gotham to and past their limits.
Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) was as I would have hoped: deceitful and slippery, out for number 1. Viewers couldn’t put a finger on which side of the line she really stood? Eventually her feelings for Bruce guide her actions, but it was never a sure thing. Especially after she betrayed Batman to save her own skin.
New characters to the franchise John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) ended up being two of the biggest roles/surprises in the film with Robin and Talia Al Ghul.
In TDKR, Talia and Bane are in Gotham to carry out the main function of “The League of Shadows”, i.e. destroying Gotham.
Having Batman beaten, humiliated, and left for dead was vengeance for Talia, knowing Batman was responsible for her father’s death. Talia and Bane went straight for the heart, finding out Batman’s identity – Bruce Wayne. Then, eliminated all of Bruce Wayne’s financial resources, and stole his armory at Wayne Enterprises. Followed by Bane delivering the infamous back breaker to Batman – breaking the bat.
Bane severed Gotham from its silent guardian and any help from the outside world. Leaving Gotham City hopeless and completely at Bane’s mercy. I felt Nolan did an excellent job setting the stage for Batman’s greatest trial. The impact and scale of Talia/Bane’s menacing plan to eliminate Gotham was devastating to say the least.
I thought the movie was excellent, a brilliant ending to the Bat-saga. All in all, this film is about Bruce Wayne rising above his actions/in-actions since dawning the cowl, and becoming the enduring symbol he set out to become for Gotham.
From Batman Begins thru The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan upped the ante every time. Nolan covered all phases of Batman’s evolution in TKDR with only one exception – no mention of The Joker. We saw Ra’s Al Ghul, The Scarecrow, and flashes of Two-Face, but with Heath Ledger’s passing, Nolan did not want to make any references to his Joker character out of respect. And I was perfectly fine with that decision.