Second Opinion: The Dark Knight Rises

Something we haven’t ever done on Eggplante is a second opinion review of a movie. Well, there was much hubbub about John’s The Dark Knight Rises review, and I’ve decided to give my take on it to show just how opinions can differ. Regardless, we stand by both reviews, as these are opinions after all, so try not to take things too seriously, mmkay?

Oh, and there are plenty of spoilers here as well.

The Dark Knight Rises begins much in the same way that The Dark Knight did, with a blow-your-mind opening sequence in which the movie’s main villain is introduced and turns the tables on their enemy. In the second movie of the trilogy, it was Heath Ledger’s Joker robbing a bank and killing his accomplices to keep his prize for himself. In the finale movie, it is Bane introduced who, in a wild show of airplane-acrobatics and an incredible test of wing and tail strength, manages to kidnap a nuclear physicist and kill the people trying to capture him.

In fact, Bane is certainly not the only memorable character in The Dark Knight Rises. There is the stunning Anne Hathaway playing Selina Kyle and Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing an every-man police officer John Blake. These characters pale in comparison to our series favourite, Michael Cane, as Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth, but that should be no surprise.

We won’t get into specific storyline details, because you probably already know them if you’re reading this review. If you’re reading here and you haven’t seen the movie, shame on you! In any case, the movie is entirely too farfetched in some areas. Christopher Nolan does a great job of somehow making you forget that what you’re seeing is unbelievable by switching scenes and plot lines quickly and often. This is good and bad, though. It makes you forget about some stupid points in the movie, but also keeps things fresh. Then again, it also serves to be confusing as hell in other points.

Here’s an example. There is no police force on the planet that would ever put its entire police force underground to tackle a single villain or problem. First, there would be too many opportunists above ground that would begin rioting, and second, because there are other crimes to fight. And how is it possible that Bane would ever know that they would send the entire police force into the trap? Sure, Gotham City might send a lot of them, but Bane’s entire plan hinged on the fact that the police would be trapped underground. What if only half the force went?

Of course, through the whole sequence, the audience is so blown away by the ingenious plan to lace the city’s concrete with explosives that it almost forgets that the entire thing is preposterous. It’s not like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight didn’t have similar unbelievable sequences, but the ones in Rises takes the cake.

The only other real problem we had with the film was a purely artistic decision, and it comes right at the end of the movie. About halfway through the movie, Alfred explains his love for the little cafe in Italy that he planned to retire to. In the closing sequence, when he smiles and nods at another patron, Nolan shouldn’t have chosen to show Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle sitting there, but rather should have left the audience wondering. Yes, the autopilot on the bat(plane) was programmed long ago, but that doesn’t mean that Batman necessarily used it. Throughout the movie, he had been talking about death and not being afraid of dying, so what is to really stop him from actually dying alongside the bomb? Not showing Wayne and Kyle would have also left the audience with the same sense of “holy shit! what happened?!” that they likely had at the end of Nolan’s Inception.

The audio in The Dark Knight Rises was excellent, although not as instantly memorable as the score in The Dark Knight. With that said, it is still better than most movie music out there – and by a long shot – but there was no feeling that Hans Zimmer really tried to outdo himself this time around.

The Dark Knight Rises is certainly a masterpiece, and while it falls into the world that Christopher Nolan has created very well, it makes us witness an odd phenomenon in cinema where the second movie in a trilogy is the best. The Dark Knight is a superior movie, but not by much of a wide margin, as Rises really does a lot to keep the momentum of the cynical, maniacal Joker going with Bane and his plan for Gotham’s destruction.