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The Dark Knight Rises

Batman 2012 | 165 min | PG-13 | 2.39:1, 1.43:1

The Dark Knight Rises


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User reviews

16 user reviews

Movie appeal

Comic book60%


Theatrical release date

 20 July, 2012
 20 July, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Technical aspects

IMAX, 72 minutes

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew Screenshots User reviews News Forum

The Dark Knight Rises


Screenshots from The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray

The Dark Knight Rises Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, July 19, 2012

In 2005, filmmaker Christopher Nolan introduced “Batman Begins,” an effort to realign the brand name’s cinematic chi, returning the material to its comic book origins and intensity. It was a mission to restore Batman’s big screen roar. The leap of faith worked, transformed into a religion with 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” a blistering sequel that, while lacking surprise, catapulted the Caped Crusader to a moviegoing phenomenon. Strangely, Nolan and his team want to cap their creative reign at three installments with “The Dark Knight Rises,” concluding the saga of Bruce Wayne/Batman with a legitimately epic sequel intended to not only complete the narrative arc started in 2005, but possibly to burn down the multiplex as well. A guttural battle cry and sloppy social commentary, the final chapter of this magnificent series is likely to please those who’ve been waiting patiently for it, blasting forward with a gigantic conflict worthy of Nolan’s directorial gifts, performed by a first-rate collection of old friends and new adversaries.

It’s been eight years since Gotham was led to believe that Batman killed Harvey Dent, with peace lulling the city into a false sense of security. A recluse with a worn-out body, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is resigned to a life of solitude, goaded by caretaker Alfred (Michael Caine, providing an emotional performance) to return to human interaction. Building an army in the sewers is Bane (Tom Hardy), a masked mercenary with super strength, hired by a Wayne rival to cripple the iconic metropolis, using the divide between the elite and the working class to fuel his message of rebirth, acquiring a doomsday device to turn Gotham into dust. Also slinking around town is Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway), an expert thief hired to expose Wayne’s weakness, only to find herself caught up in the revolution while attempting to erase her disreputable past. With Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) wounded and the city’s police force imprisoned by Bane, Batman returns to battle, using help from John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young cop who believes in the future of Gotham, friend and inventor Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), a frustrated backer of sustainable energy who soon becomes Wayne’s lover.

With a significant run time of nearly three hours, “The Dark Knight Rises” arrives ready to play, with a screenplay by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan using fan expectation and a seemingly unlimited budget to turn the private war of Bruce Wayne and his quest to turn a bat costume into a symbol of integrity into a citywide nightmare, with Gotham itself perhaps the true lead character of the picture. In fact, Batman barely factors into the story at all, with only a few screen adventures for the hero, though his introduction, the moment we see the Dark Knight rise once again, is a humdinger, announcing with a deafening sweep of scoring from Hans Zimmer (his marathon work here is second to none) that Batman is back, armed with a few new toys and an unquenchable thirst for justice. It’s thrilling, but the dependable bursts of superhero might are few and far between, set aside for a question of social and financial order, with Bane tearing the once mighty city to pieces.

Unlike many of its blockbuster brethren, “The Dark Knight Rises” endeavors to be about something substantial while it details traditional superhero disputes. There’s an Occupy Wall Street twist to the Bane menace, with the hulking man using a message of equalization to rationalize murder, using tech skills to rob Wayne of his massive reservoir of wealth, erasing the seemingly true source of his power. Barbed lines are littered around the screenplay pertaining to the frustration of financial distribution, with Kyle also a figure of 99 percent retaliation, gleefully stealing from and humiliating the rich. The Nolans have a tendency to paint the subtext bright orange, rendering the screenplay on the clunky side, also hitting a few goofy notes of dismissal from Peter Foley (Matthew Modine), Gotham’s deputy commissioner and a man who hates Blake’s idealism. While the class warfare angle is enticing, it’s only used to ground the material in realism the franchise has already earned, rarely adding to the tension of the piece.

Strolling where many superhero movies have tripped before, “The Dark Knight Rises” calls in two villains for Batman to sort out, creating a triangle of schemes and blunt force trauma to keep the malevolent entanglements tightly wound. Bane is more of a traditional foe, with an explosive plan of domination and endless minions to help carry out his vision. Built like a cement truck and voiced with an amplified effete sway (despite pre-release promises that his electro voice will be simple to understand, many of the madman’s monologues remain incomprehensible), Bane is an imposing monster with League of Shadows ties, matching Batman’s hits with his own patient physical punishment. Despite a mask covering most of his face, Hardy remains memorable in the role. With Bane, the stance, the sheer demonic confidence, is all that matters, and actor captures the threat in full.

It’s Hathaway who simply steals the picture from the boys, allowed a fluid personality to bring Kyle to life. She’s playful and dangerous, selling the body blows with grace while managing the character’s deceptions and seductions wonderfully, though a pair of razor heels doesn’t hurt the cause. A conflicted woman working on her trust issues, Kyle is an iffy element at the outset of the feature, only to find Hathaway sliding smoothly into the performance, retaining the famous Catwoman prowl without stumbling into camp. She’s enormously effective in a difficult role.

Also triumphant is Gordon-Levitt as Blake, who’s the unofficial hero of the picture. Determined to save Gotham while firmly believing in the significance of Batman, Blake is an important character to the movie, symbolizing the fatigue of law enforcement and its inevitable futility. The actor’s innate buoyancy comes in handy during a few bloated passages of exposition.

The climax of “The Dark Knight Rises” is essentially World War III, dividing Gotham between Bane’s disciples and Batman’s army, with the second half of the picture building to an unbelievably colossal showdown on snow-dusted streets. Nolan manages the chaos with customary ease, inflating the conflicts to an indescribable size to meet the promise of superhero closure. Of course, there are many surprises stuffed into the pockets of the film, a few that will surely leave fans dizzy with deliberation (fair warning: the Joker isn’t even mentioned here). If there’s one thing Nolan has mastered with these Batman features, it’s the ending, with “The Dark Knight Rises” providing little disappointment when it comes to a question of finality.

Surely, Nolan could’ve carried on the Bat brand for two or three more movies, with Bale retaining his raspy wrath to face new members of the superhero’s rogues gallery. Sadly, it’s not meant to be, though not all is lost. “The Dark Knight Rises” is such a massive film with a forceful thematic grip, it might actually qualify as three sequels for the price of one.

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Joey King
Director: Christopher Nolan

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