The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan, based on the screen story by Nolan and comic-book writer David S. Goyer.  Featuring the DC Comic character Batman, this is the third and final installment in The Dark Knight Trilogy, following Batman Begins (2005), and The Dark Knight (2008).  Christian Bale reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, with an ensemble cast following immediately after.  Film and theater actors Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hardy (as the main antagonist, Bane), Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Cillian Murphy in an amazing cameo.  The story opens with Bruce Wayne, eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, who has hung up the cape and gone into hiding in his mansion.  A threatening terrorist named Bane comes to Gotham, causing mayhem and turmoil with his plans to destroy the city.  The question remains: will Batman return to fight for the city he swore an oath to years ago?  Or will he watch from afar, letting the city burn.  (Running Time: 165 minutes)(Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language)

The end of another year is neigh, and I thought it would be appropriate to end with perhaps my favorite film of the entire year (or at least one of the top three).

In preparation for this films, doing interviews and such, Chris Nolan revealed shortly before the premiere what “theme” of each film in the trilogy received from him and his co-writers.  Batman Begins was fear, The Dark Knight was chaos, and The Dark Knight Rises was pain.  In reading this beforehand, I was absolutely ecstatic to see what the chapter of “pain” in the announced last installment of the series would show.  And hearing of the villain Bane playing the lead antagonist–who is a terrorist, well…I thought it was perfect!

Christopher and Jonathan Nolan as a writing team, I personally believe, have a gift of throwing in such classic and symbolic images and scenarios and iconic rhythms to a big-screen vision.  An incredibly rare talent achieved by filmmakers nowadays, but it remains still true and proved that the people at Syncopy Films (Nolan’s film company) have something that most in the business do not have: pure, original cinema.

The bulk of the cast from the previous film return in their same roles, but we are introduced to several new characters as well.  A beat-cop named Blake played by Joseph-Gordon-Levitt, whose part had surprising meat to it and was incredibly appropriate.  Miranda Tate played by French-born Marion Cotillard, who also does good in her role.  But one of the most impressive parts of the entire film I say is Bane, played by none-other than Tom Hardy.  Ah, Bane!  I agree with the film’s director when the first installment in the franchise had an assortment of villains and the hero’s inner demons, with the second one taking an antagonist role to the next level with the unique, twisted character of the joker, but in this third film, we have a man who is a terrorist, who fights with a passion, with controlled anger, and dwarfs Batman in strength and endurance.  But Hardy plays the lead incredibly well, acting almost all on his menacing voice.  An interesting fact: Hardy gained almost fifty pounds for his role as Bane and was unable to lose it in time to film the crime-drama Lawless (2012).  And Christopher Nolan also casted popular 80s actors in small roles who have had a rough time in the business in the last decade.  Oh, and finally, we must note the casting of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle.  I was hesitant at first on the casting of the usually cutesy, adorable Princess Mia, but I reminded myself countless times outloud, “It’s a Christopher Nolan masterpiece, and he knows what he’s doing…”  And in the end, it paid off.  She did a great job in her role, and she has certainly matured as an actress and I look forward to her career to grow and expand in the parts she takes.  I hear amazing things about Les Miserables (2012) and plan to see it this coming weekend, so I might have to get back to all you kind listeners on that…

The production was well executed and given a large budget of at least $250 million, and Nolan once again filmed a heavy amount of the movie in IMAX, and regrettably one of the few accidents on set was the bat-cycle crashing into one of the four cameras existing in the world.  But the story, cast, and other areas were kept well under cover as filming progressed, with Nolan finishing on time and under budget, which is a rare and impressive thing the studios love to hear.

A random paragraph in this post, which does contain perhaps a minor SPOILER for the movie, there is one scene in the film I find incredibly symbolic and somewhat ironic, when the Gotham City Police are chasing Bane on a motorcycle from a robbery and hostage situation at the stock markets, and Batman suddenly appears and is chasing Bane to help the cops, but the police are reminded of Harvey Dent and go speedily past their original thief and assailant and go after a masked-man who eight years ago had saved Gotham countless times, only now to put him to shame.  That is one of my favorite moments in the film, when the armada of cop cars chase Batman across the city.  Oh, it gave me goose bumps in the theaters!

But I love the end, which I will not spoil for you readers who have yet to see it for yourselves.  All I can say it is a perfect end to the trilogy.  Perfect!

It was incredibly tragic when the shooting took place at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado at the midnight premiere of this amazing superhero flick.  Heartbreaking.  And in the end, I believe it had a huge effect on how Batman did not sore past all records at the box office and audience-goings.  It left its scar, and that is unfortunate.

In the end it grossed over a billion dollars worldwide and is doing fabulous in dvd sales, and Christopher Nolan still assures us that he is “done with the Batman” and that his story of The Dark Knight is complete.  It’s a shame, but in the end, I agree with the master filmmaker.

Its incredibly hard for me to make a list of “best movies of all time”; I’m still working on a list as we speak.  But I put this at the forefront; somewhere in the top five.  It certainly exceeded my expectations and once again, completed a wonderful series of a superhero I used to think pointless.  7 out of 7 stars!!

Highly, highly, highly recommended!  But of course, you must begin with Batman Begins, then move on to The Dark Knight before viewing this one.  I had a Batman marathon of the first two installments before attending the midnight premiere, and it was a great idea to brush up on the history and trivia of the first film, for there are crucial arcs that tie in with the first two.

And truly, The Dark Knight Rises…!

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About Morgan

January 2016 Update: This blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient while we gradually remove old material, posts, and pages, and create new ones. Thank you.
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