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This review contains a ton of spoilers. You have been warned.

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I must repeat how big of a fan I am of Batman.  Not just of the Christopher Nolan series, but of Batman in general.  Anyone who has read my Arkham City review knows how much I love the Caped Crusader.  So, you know that I might be biased in favour of The World’s Greatest Detective, but then you also know it pains me a great deal to say that I was quite disappointed with The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises takes place about 8 years after The Dark Knight.  After taking the fall for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne has gone into seclusion.  The emergence of a new threat in Gotham requires Bruce to get back into shape and don the cowl again.

I did enjoy the film, I think.  It wasn’t slow, I never looked at my watch, but there were a lot of things I didn’t like about it.  And the more I think about it, the more I find that I didn’t like.  On the flip side, there were quite a few things I did like, but in the shadow of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, this film doesn’t measure up.

What Was Good

Catwoman was played ‘purrfectly’ by Anne Hathaway.  From the moment she spoke, I could see the essence of Selina Kyle emerge.  It was very reminiscent of the Arkham City Catwoman.  Not just from how she spoke, but how she moved, and her character was exactly what it should have been.

Bane was downright scary.  He often spoke in a very poetic way, and was always calm and collected.  Tom Hardy really allows Bane’s power to come through even though his face is blocked with a mask.  He is exactly the opposite villain that Joker is.  He is cold, calculating, but also physically a match for Batman.

Alfred Pennyworth has always been the audience’s perspective in Nolan’s series.  He is the one we really feel things through, and try to understand Batman through.  The most heart breaking and emotional scenes in any of the three films come from Michael Caine.  He got me choked up more than once and really iterates what the audience feels.

The basic premise of the story clearly takes its notes not just from the Arkham City Batman, but clearly taken cues from The Dark Knight Returns and especially from Knightfall.  I am glad that Nolan even showed Bane literally breaking Batman’s back as he did exactly in Knightfall.

The ending was very emotionally rewarding.  While it did leave room for DC and Warner Bros. to continue with this particular saga, it gave a lot of closure to fans of the series and was a nice farewell to the Dark Knight.  The end really tied up all the loose ends with all the characters but also gave Bruce Wayne a way out of the cowl.  The ending made me feel happy, and allowed me to leave the theater satisfied, despite the few disappointments throughout the rest of the film.

What Was NOT Good

The title has frustrated me from the beginning.  I found it a boring title, and it seemed to more of a copout than anything else and trying to ride the waves of The Dark Knight.  I have found the title to be uncreative, and it really doesn’t fit well with the previous two entries.

The sound work in the movie was really something that needed to be fixed up.  And while Bane was difficult to understand sometimes, I often found it difficult to understand other characters as well and really needed subtitles just to figure out what was going on.  Not to mention that the score made the entire theatre vibrate and often overpowered anything else that was going on in the scene.

The specific plot of the film seems like an over the top 1980s action film.  The basic idea is that Bane holds Gotham hostage with a nuclear weapon and Bruce Wayne has to put on his cape and save the day.  You had thousands of police officers fighting thousands thugs, and in the middle is Batman trying to stop a bomb with a red LED on it that is counting down.

The magic knee brace that allowed Bruce Wayne to kick with a huge amount of power after his entire leg has atrophied from what I guess is just a lack of use.  Bruce Wayne at the beginning of the film is a recluse very reminiscent of Howard Hughes and has been told that he has no cartilage in his knees by a doctor.  So he straps on this mechanical knee brace and all of a sudden he can kick so hard, he can break a brick.  This scene literally left me rolling my eyes in the theatre.

Talia al Ghul appears but is less calculating and more just psychotic.  If everyone can remember that in Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is trained by the League of Shadows’ leader Ra’s al Ghul.  In The Dark Knight Rises, Talia (undercover) becomes CEO of Wayne Enterprises to gain control of the nuclear reactor that eventually becomes Bane’s weapon.  To get to that position, she had to have been patient and strategic.  But in her final moments, after revealing herself, she seems like she is more just bent on revenge for her father rather than trying to preserve the world as Ra’s thought he was doing.

Bane’s ending was disappointing.  He was powerful, menacing, and very well spoken throughout the whole movie, but in the end it appears that he was nothing but a pawn for Talia al Ghul’s plan.  The audience was meant to feel like Bane was in control but to see his relationship with Talia made him far less frightening.  And frankly, the fact that they have a relationship at all is just weird.

The lack of Batman seemed odd considering this is supposed to be his story.  There was a lot of Bruce Wayne, and a lot of other of Gotham’s citizens but it seemed the Batman himself was absent from a good portion of the film, and he was definitely missed.

Bruce Wayne’s healing of a broken back takes place over months.  He is trapped for almost 3 months (if not more), and takes that time to not only heal his back but strengthen his body.  My only problem is that it doesn’t feel like three months at all.  There is no real sense of time, and while the movie is supposed to take place over a period of roughly 5 months, you don’t feel like more than a few days (maybe a week) has elapsed.  I wish they spent more time on watching Bruce Wayne heal and train before they moved on.

Officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was a super cop that seemed to be everywhere and figured out everything.  He seemed like at the beginning he was just a beat cop and yet he manages to show up to all the major incidences that go on to set up the main plot.  He also manages to figure out the identity of Batman after meeting Bruce Wayne when he was in an orphanage as a child.  And in the end it turns out his real first name is Robin and Bruce Wayne has left him the exact location of the Batcave. I think that it is obvious he isn’t going to be Robin; I assume he might take up the mantle of Nightwing.  But everything about this character bugs me.  He was too perfect, and just too good and being a police officer.  And the fact that his first name is Robin is just stupid.  If his first name was Richard, or maybe his hyphenated last name was Grayson, I am sure the audience could have figured out the connection.  But to say his first name is Robin I find just insulting to the audience’s intelligence.

The Bat (plane) is apparently Nolan’s answer to the lack of Batmobiles, or Tumblers rather.  Even though there are three tumblers in the basement of Applied Sciences at Wayne Enterprises, it is apparently more realistic to have Batman flying around in an airplane capable of vertical takeoffs.  Really?!

The lack of any mention of the Joker is supposed to be out of respect for Heath Ledger.  In a movie where everything else in the previous movies has been mentioned again, and often multiple times, this seems like an odd one to leave out.  We hear about Ra’s al Ghul, the League of Shadows, we get to see Scarecrow more than once (which was too much to be honest), several mentions of Harvey Dent, and have more than one moment of Bruce Wayne’s photo of Rachel Dawes.  And not to even mention the Joker, or where he is, or what he might be doing seems like something that was very odd and clearly something that was missing.

Too much reliance on the previous films for the plot was too much of a rehash.  Batman Begins was an excellent start to the trilogy, then The Dark Knight took the trilogy in a different direction and really stands on its own, but The Dark Knight Rises really hinges on the audience being familiar with the first two entries of the film and reintroduces the League of Shadows as the connection between the antagonists and Bruce Wayne.  Ra’s al Ghul’s goal was balance in the world and he tried to ‘save’ the world.  But Bane and Talia al Ghul just seem bent on revenge rather than fulfilling her father’s plans as she claims.

The Dark Knight Rises was crushed by its own weight.  There was far too much going on for its own good and I daresay followed the typical folly of previous superhero movies.  They added more characters (both protagonists and antagonists), and as a result the film became filled with far too many story lines and not enough time to see strong character arcs.

Ultimately, I was let down by The Dark Knight Rises and although it’s a fun film, it doesn’t hold a candle to the previous two entries, and often doesn’t feel like it is part of the same world.  It has an excellent ending but getting to that end had quite a few disappointments.  I really wish I liked the film more but I just can’t, although maybe in time, re-watching it might give me a new perspective.  At this point, I can only say the film is good and not great like it should be.

About The Author

John Kalanderopoulos just so happens to know the Editor-In-Chief - they're brothers, duh! John graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He has always had a passion for great storytelling, whether in video games, movies or television. He is an integral part of Eggplante and excels at providing gaming and entertainment reviews, as well as the second opinions that people want from their favourite purple vegetable!

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5 Responses

    • Eggplante!

      We always welcome criticism. But please back up your opinion with some reasoning, as we have done. Our review above is not everyone’s opinion, so if you have your own, feel free to share!

      Oh, and it’s spelled “you’re”.

      Reply
  1. Danywd40

    To tell you the true i think that this movie was a master piece. Is far better than the 2nd cause it has a more deep plot and touch really amazing subjects. The first movie was about the spirit over the emotions cause he learned to control his fear and to use it at his advantage. 

    The second i have to admit that is a great one, but the concept was totally different, it was more a nemesis fight than a fight with himself and also i think that the movie was overated because of the emblematic performance of Hugh Laurie before dying (RIP). But there is no doubt that Hugh made a wonderful job becoming himself the character of the Joker. And That is what i call a “true performance”, and is what we all enjoy in the second movie, how he face batman with his vision of the world and his rule that everything is allowed.

     In the third movie, there are mentioned epic subjects. My favorite subject is the mind over the body and also the spirit over everything. If you see, Bruce manages to endure the pain and rise from the terrible beat down that bane gave him and he recovered his condition in a short time. But i also agree that they could spent a couple of minutes of the film in the training part, but is ok.  Also, his spirit was tested, cause he was able to complete the jump of faith without the rope, and that my friend is something that could only be achieved at the time he faced death with the more powerful human force.  (the desire to survive, to live).

     Also i believe that the name of the movie is really good and creates so much inspiration if you find the message. It tell us that even when we lose everything, money, family, friends, love and self confidence, EVERYTHING, we can rise all the way up to achieve whatever we want anytime anywhere. 

    Talking about the other points that you brillanty mark, 

    – The lack of batman? actually if we compare  this movie with the previous movies, we will see that he appeared more times for longer sequences.

    – i also want to point that Bruce Wayne according to the plot is an “eccentric billionaire” and also the whole department of applied sciences was at his reach.

    – If you see all that technology was suppose to be used for military purpose. Remember,  military technology is allways at the top of everything.  The internet was developed and used for millitary use only, and 10 years later it was released for public use, so if we follow that logic they got all the cutting edge advances in techno first than anyone else.

     For example the knee brace that batman used. i bet that it was designed to improve the performance of the soldier in battle, and the concept is really simple. What is the function of the cartilage? to create a surface in wich both the femur and Tibia can slide smoothly with out bone to bone friction. Now if we separate both bones creating a virtual space between them, the movement will be possible and there will be no pain because the bones are not hitting each other. Now lets talk about the Bat, an airplane capable of vertical takeoffs? that is old story, do not tell me that is something that cannot be achieved on this days lol just check the f-35 JSF (since 2007).

    – Bane ending: I agree with you in this one. He deserved way better than be a mere tool and to die with a missile on the face, lol.

    – Officer Jhon Blake: Yeah, he was a bit to perfect, but i have to say that it fits great cause he is the one who will take the torch.

    – Thalia al Ghul: she was great. No one expected her role. I was suspecting about her at the time i saw the mark on her back, but after a few minutes that idea was gone and she was the cool philanthropic girl that everybody loves. At the end, the way she puts everything to banish gotham city with the nuke, and leaving batman with no more choice than to sacrifice himself to save everybody, i think it was a great performance from the character.

    Well, that’s my point of view, thanks for your time and great comments. salu2

    Reply
    • Sdf

      You have some fair points.  Just a minor correction though, Heath Ledger played Joker, not Hugh Laurie.  Hugh Laurie plays Dr. House on TV.

      Reply
      • Danywd40

        LOL, my bad, i killed 
        Hugh Laurie, JC!!! LOL. Thanks for the correction and rest in peace Heath

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