Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Dark Knight Rises 2012 film movie poster

Rated: P13
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Running Time: 2 Hours 44 Minutes
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Josh Pence, Nestor Carbonell, Diego Klattenhoff

Synopsis: “The Dark Knight Rises is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake.Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox” (Warner Bros Pictures).

Verdict: It’s perhaps Christopher Nolan’s worst movie to date but in overall, it’s still pretty good. The Dark Knight Rises is significantly inferior to The Dark Knight (2008) because the main villain is not as interesting as The Joker and the plot isn’t as intriguing or should I just say – it’s a little cliche. Many things don’t make sense and don’t tally as well (read the spoiler section below if you wish). However, the intensity and emotional engagement are definitely on a higher level. The full potential of the Bat vehicles and gadgets are nicely shown in action. Tom Hardy’s performance as Bane can be appreciated as well, especially his voice. A decent end to the trilogy but could have been more satisfying, I believe.

Second opinion: “It’s a long movie, but it is so awesome until I never checked the time” (Iris Loong, never seen Batman Begins).

Selina Kyle / Catwoman: This version of the character played by Anne Hathaway clearly beats the one played by Halle Barry (2004) but there is no explanation or background on the character given in the movie as to why she’s so skillful and knowledgeable. In my opinion, the greatest portrayal of Selina Kyle / Catwoman is in Batman Returns (1992) played by Michelle Pfeiffer.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Plotholes part 1: So after 8 years of hiding in the mansion, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) still looks pretty fit despite not exercising for a long time. He gets trashed by the obviously bigger and stronger Bane and in the process, he gets his back severely injured before being dumped into a prison that seems to be very far away. Ridiculously, he gets healed in the prison by a bunch of unknown prisoners in the most unorthodox and unconvincing way, and just by doing pushups and situps for a few weeks, he manages to defeat Bane on their second face-off! What the fuck?

Plotholes part 2: Let’s rewind a little. The doctor in that hell hole prison doesn’t seem to speak English at the beginning and then suddenly, somehow, he’s speaking in English. Wayne, after climbing out of that prison, manages to get back to Gotham City and find Selina Kyle seemingly in an instant. How did that happen? He borrowed a miracle bike like Bruce Banner in The Avengers? It also doesn’t make any sense that Selina Kyle can immediately know how to ride Batman’s bike and use it so efficiently. But then again, same can be said about Batman as he flies his new air vehicle, namely the ‘Bat’, in the movie without any practice beforehand.

Batman’s not taking the situation seriously? A nuclear bomb is about to blow in a couple of hours and he still has time to make something that shapes up into his logo when it’s lighted in flames.

Where is The Joker? Doesn’t make sense to not feature him at all in this sequel when all the bad guys are released from prison by Bane, with Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) making a couple of appearances.

Robin: I gotta love the little twists at the end of the movie but can’t say I didn’t see one of them coming when it’s deliberately made obvious at the earlier scenes where Batman kinda tells John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to wear a mask if he wishes to fight for justice like him. And John Blake’s legal name is revealed to be Robin (same name as Batman’s sidekick in the original comic series) during the ending of the film before he resigns from the police force and swings himself into the Bat Cave to continue Batman’s job.

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  1. Bernard Chung

    [HEAVY SPOILER] – Plotholes 1: Bane was not defeated by Batman. Bane was merely "defeated" on the ground that that its gas chamber was detached (I find it LOL though). I was amazed with the absence of Lazarus Pit storyline although I remeberred seeing this in production last week.

    Logo in frames: Bat symbol is one of the most traditional symbol in any Batman trilogy. A symbol of hope and justice, been serving only for two uses – to signal he is here or to intimidate criminals that he is working (explained in TDK)

    The Joker issue has been discussed a lot during production. Nolan stated, I did blogged abt it that putting Joker in third movie is not necessary because 1) Heath Ledger's dead 2) Joker's involvement will have nothing to do with Bane, Ras al-Ghul etc etc because he doesn't work with anyone and 3) again Heath Ledger is dead.

    About the Robin thing, let's not put into perspective that he is in fact that Robin. Fans of Batman will know that Robin is an alter-ego of Dick Grayson or Jason Todd in latter comics.

    Anyway, great reviews. Just to share my opinions! Cheers

  2. Post

    @BernardChung Apparently the Bane's mask provides him heroin, not just gas, because his injury leaves him in pain all the time.

    It's not just the logo, it just doesn't make sense how he can do some things in an instant.

    If they aren't gonna feature Joker, they shouldn't have featured Crane. It's as simple as that.

    I agree with you about the Robin thingy. But it's still pretty nice for Nolan to end the film this way.

  3. Bernard Chung

    Apparently he plans for the logo since his arrival 12 hours before the final battle happens. In Nolan movie, you can do plenty stuffs in 5 minutes. Ask Inception about that LOL.

  4. Anonymous

    Do you rate chinese/cantonese movies? Or they just too low to rate or you probably not really that good in chinese/mandarin?

  5. Post

    @Anonymous Because I'm a blogger that my readers deserve, but not the one that Chinese movie-goers need right now. Just kidding. I do review Chinese movies as well if I was invited to watch them.

  6. Merryn

    I'm actually afraid of Joker. So no joker is GOOD! Looks so scary it will haunt my nightmares! I'm interested to see how Anne Hathaway performs as Catwoman though.

  7. MsXeRoZ Nicole

    I dislike this movie. It makes me feel stupid watching it, I mean in a sense that everything is so perfect – casting of the dark knight, catwoman, bane and all. But the storyline, loop holes and sorry is it me or i find the Batmobile super ugly. The storyline is predictable, and a disappointment, Mighty, Indestructable Bane being ordered around by a woman! gosh, what is this man! Bane is supposed to be highly intelligent (as per depict in comic batman)… In my opinion, the title shouldnt be The Dark Knight Rises. Come on, we all know he rose for like 20mins of the movie? The rest is about Gotham, Blake, Catwoman and weak Bruce.

    (i apologise for my agitation upon writing this comment)

  8. Post

    @MsXeRoz I think I can understand why you disliked it but you may have missed the idea about how Batman is put to the test and has to rise beyond his limits to save Gotham after all the issues that's still troubling city after 8 years.

    Yes, there are many loop holes and stupid scenes indeed but it's still an admirable film. It has a sophisticated theme just like its predecessor and it's not a typical superhero movie which little kids would appreciate.

    And I find the Batmobile design's very unique.

  9. Post

    @ErnestNg Of course I do! They should have either gotten a replacement, mention that The Joker's dead in this sequel, or don't write a script that involves the villains of previous instalments.

  10. room8five

    Later in the movie it was revealed that Bruce did do something to the 'Bat' system 6 month before hand. He's a genius and I assume along the process he know how to drive the 'Bat'.

    He did hide himself in the mansion but I doubt that he didnt at least do any training since there is a few arrows on the wall when catwomen was being scared off by bruce the first time.

    the batman logo on fire is a symbolic meaning and for marketing purposes. i dont think if its just an ugly shape fire, fan would be amaze to it. bare in mind this is a batman movie and its not a real life story of a policeman. it is somewhat necessary for the franchise.

    i kinda like the movie especial the twists at the end.

  11. Iriene

    I enjoyed it very much. I bought and watched the Part 2 DVD just to have a better understanding before watching this latest Batman. I should have watch Part 1 as well, since I can't understand much on Ras al-Ghul and his mission.

  12. Post

    @room8five The movie's approach has been gritty since the first film. He's gone through a lot of crap and he's learnt the ways of the Shadows before he became Batman so it's simply difficult to make believe that he could maneuver an uncommon aircraft without airspace to practice ('cause if he did, he might've been spotted and be classified as "UFOs").

    Very good point made on the arrows. But the movie made it seem like he's never trained for years, with his leg injured and all. Which makes more sense why Alfred's so worried about him going back into the game.

    About the logo, I didn't say it's ugly nor did I say it has no meaning. It's just that a freakin' nuclear is about to blow and it's a bit ridiculous to suddenly see the hero do such a corny thing. "Light it up." Mehhhh.

    And yes, I liked how it ends as well. =)

  13. Glitz Glitterz

    I went in without a clue of what is going to happen but I kinda enjoyed it. I have to agree with both of the plotholes you mentioned, super ridiculous! I was laughing at it HAHA

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