His big depressive brood comes to a halt when Selina Kyle shakes his ass up by stealing his fingerprints and helping herself to his mother's pearls. More scales are ripped away by police officer John Blake, who proceeds to tell him that the orphanage supported by Wayne Industries is no longer receiving aid. Suddenly there just might be some purpose to his existence again. While Bruce finally ditches his pity party, Commissioner Gordon is injured in a seeming random crime gone wrong whereby he discovers a strange underground army forming. Evil is afoot in Gotham and there's going to be hell to pay times ten. It's Batman time.
Oh Dark Knight Rises, how do I love thee? I was strapped in and ready for action from the opening seconds and was impressed to nth degree. Nolan's gritty, relentlessly dark story is perfect for this conclusion. Bruce is the Dark Knight, he's not Spider-man. You want hopeful, fun, go watch Spidey and Lizard man one more time. This is pure doom, gloom and then some. As it should be. There were some slow, lighter scenes, Nolan teasing us for sure, but they were all drama heavy and necessary to the plot. Speaking of... All the twists and threads were mind-blowing and a bit hard to keep track of at times, but ultimately it was okay as everything made sense by the end. I thought Nolan used all the characters effectively, doling out their secrets in small doses for just the right impact There a couple of times I was left looking like a slack-jawed yokel.
The f/x were dazzling. Not as many as in The Dark Knight, but not necessary for this film. They were just plain cool and hard core, especially the plane escape at the start and the collapse of the football field as poor Hines Ward is returning the kickoff. Wally Pfister's cinematography is fantastic, allowing the architecture and vibe of Pittsburgh to shine through just like Chicago in the first two.
|Image from Ron Phillips|
As far as acting. we of course, got the goods from Christian, Morgan, Michael and Gary. They delivered their usual outstanding performances, though I found myself wanting a little more screen time with Lucius. However, Anne Hathaway blew me out of the water as Selina Kyle aka Cat Woman. Holy smokes did she deliver for the ladies and completely erase that rubber-suited slut bag performance by Halle Berry. She was smart, tough, and fast on her feet...In a word, badass. I'm sorry I ever doubted her because she needs her own movie right now. And there was my lovely Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the honest, eager cop John Blake. What a raw, earnest performance. He was a real hero, right up there with Batman. Tom Hardy gave a Herculean effort as Bane, he was scary, enigmatic and brilliant. Did not match the psychosis of Heath Ledger as The Joker, but he was terrifying. And for the critics who kept complaining that Bane and Batman were indecipherable, what movie were you watching? I understood every syllable they uttered. When a movie is this good, though, they need to nit pick.
Nolan totally pulled out all the stops on The Dark Knight Rises. It is an impressive, high-octane, grim action flick that delivers in every way. Is it better than The Dark Knight? No. The story this time was less about Batman and more about drawing closure. In that regard it's like the other third films in the great trilogies out there where the second film is always the best. Empire Strikes Back is better than Return of the Jedi and The Two Towers is better than Return of the King...You get the picture. This is a stellar conclusion to an epic trilogy, though, and I can't wait to see it again. And again.
SPOILER ALERT!!! IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW MY THEORY ABOUT THE END, DO NOT READ, EXIT THIS TRAIN...
The end has many people agog, believing that what Alfred sees at the end is truth because well, the whole autopilot thing. And you know that Nolan loves to mess with our minds and keep us guessing. However, I don't think so. It is an illusion, a dream of Alfred's like the others . Bruce is dead. D-E-A-D. And not metaphorically, either. Why? Well, he's been basically on suicide watch since his parents were killed, but most especially since Rachel. Wayne has never been a happy man, it's not in his DNA. The only thing that gave him purpose was vengeance and that has been eating away at him. He's tired.
Furthermore, Bruce/Batman was stabbed mortally by Miranda aka Talia al Ghul. I thought the Batsuit was supposed to stop knives, but we all saw it go in and her twist it. So yeah, he's bleeding out. He got up, though, and pulled it together adrenaline style one last time for Gotham, like Maximus did for Rome in Gladiator. .Miranda's "keep him alive" was akin to Commodus' "bind him, so no one sees the wound."Anything else would be poor contrivance on the part of the writers and lessons the overall impact. The entire trilogy was geared towards the death of Batman. The Dark Knight had to die for a new one to rise to take his place. Bruce Wayne and his Batman are ash city with no happily ever after. Go ahead and call me brutal, say I'm wrong, but that's what I choose to believe. Some characters, like some people just don't get that happily ever after. They were born to pain and darkness. Period. End of story. It's the way the world works. Then again, there's always reincarnation...