(I feel an essay coming on)
I’ll be honest, I only went to see The Dark Knight rises because my friend dragged me along and I just wanted to hang out. I knew that The Dark Knight rises was seen to be one of the most anticipated films of the year and everyone who had seen it before me was ranting and raving about it and comparing it to The Avengers (which I, shamefully, have not seen yet), but for some reason, I just couldn’t get excited about this film. I watched The Dark Knight when it first came out and everyone said that it was absolutely phenomenal and I’m not doubting that Heath Ledger’s performance was exemplary, but I just really didn’t like the film itself. I watched about two hours of it and then I got too bored to carry on so I never finished it. Not too long later, I re-attempted to watch the film, but again, I never made it to the credits and after that, I just gave up on Batman altogether. I can’t explain why I felt this way, perhaps it was my underlying loyalty to Spiderman that stopped me from liking Batman at all, I don’t know, but the point is, I hated Batman.
So as you can see, I went into the cinema with a less than favourable attitude towards Batman, and having almost zero knowledge about the rest of the trilogy because I’d watched them so long ago and hadn’t really paid very much attention at all, but I came out speechless, I had been completely won over and I just didn’t know what to do with myself.
Now, I have never, ever give a film a five star rating, in fact, I don’t give ratings period because I can’t possibly translate everything that I want to say into a few stars. Anyways, back to my point, I’ve never given a film a five star rating, but here I am, giving one now. The Dark Knight Rises is an absolutely phenomenal film and I really don’t think I’ll do it any justice with this review. The reason I’m giving The Dark Knight Rises five out of five stars is because prior to watching the film I hated Batman. I hated the Dark Knight Trilogy, I hated Christian Bale, I hated everything to do with Batman, but when I came out of the cinema, I was completely smittten. I knew right then, that a new obsession had been born and that I would be all BatmanBatmanBatman for a long time yet. I don’t think my views on a film or series have ever undergone that rapid a transformation from hate to obsession within the space of two and a half hours, and that is why I am awarding The Dark Knight Rises with my first five star rating.
The Dark Knight Rises is set eight years after the events that took place in The Dark Knight and there is peace in Gotham. The criminals are safely locked up in Gotham prison, all ‘thanks’ to Harvey Dent, and violence and organised crime have basically been eradicated from Gotham city. Bruce Wayne has shut himself up at Wayne Manor and is now a ghost of his former self. He no longer comes out in public and has become a total recluse. Wayne Enterprise is nearly bankrupt after Bruce’s investment in a clean energy project which he promptly shut down once he realised that the fusion power could be harnessed into a nuclear weapon. Of course, this peace was just too good to be true and it’s not long before Bane arrives on the scene, attacking the stock exchange, bankrupting Bruce and forcing him to relinquish control of Wayne Enterprises. That’s just the beginning of Wayne’s problems.
I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to understand what was going on in The Dark Knight Rises having no knowledge of the previous films. Being the last film in the trilogy, I was fully expecting The Dark Knight Rises to be tying up any lose ends and revisiting past dramas that I wouldn’t really understand, but I was surprised to find that I actually grasped and understood everything that was going on. There were, of course, references to past characters and past events but not in such a way that not knowing the details about them dampened your experience of this film in any way at all.
The plot was absolutely fantastic and there was so much drama packed into a mere 165 minutes of film. Ordinarily, I get slightly bored, at least at some point, whilst watching movies of this length (with the exception of Lord of the Rings), but I was completely absorbed for the entirety of this film so hats off to Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. I don’t think anyone in that cinema screening could’ve predicted the events of this film, I know that I certainly couldn’t have. At certain points during the film, I thought that I had an inkling about what was going to happen next, but then something else would happen completely out of the blue to blast away any predictions that I had. Towards the end there were more and more twists and turns and even a moment where the entire audience gasped in unison and then sat in shocked silence for several moments. Some of these twists and turns were references to things that I was completely clueless about and yet, somehow, they still made sense to me, a Batman noob.
The graphics in this film and mind numbing-ly awesome. I fully expected this film to be full of CGI and impressive scenes but these shots were seriously out-of-this-world awesome. Usually the graphics and CGI effects are something that I take particular notice of, but I actually wasn’t paying that much attention to them in this film. This is not to say that they were bad, because, as I said, they were incredible and better than most other films I’ve seen, it’s just that there were so many others things to concentrate on, like the brilliant plot and acting, that the graphics were pushed to the back of my mind. I suppose that’s a good thing – when the film has so many awesome things about it you’re not really sure which bit you should be more absorbed by. The best bit of CGI was undoubtedly Bane’s appearance because I honestly had no idea that it was Tom Hardy, even though I already knew that it was Tom Hardy (if that makes any sense at all).
This film was absolutely brilliantly cast with a whole host of very famous and very talented actors. I hadn’t done much research into the film beforehand so I was pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces. The most prominent actors were: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordan-Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Marion Cotillard.
As previously mentioned, I hated Christian Bale prior to watching this movie. I didn’t think he was fit, I thought his normal voice was annoying, I thought his Batman voice was annoying and I didn’t that he was that great an actor. Now, I am one of his biggest fans. Christian Bale did a phenomenal job in this film playing so many different personalities as both Batman and Bruce Wayne went through so many ‘phases’ throughout the movie. He proved that he can literally play any role be it kind, caring, romantic, generous, strong or hard, steely, forceful, mean, relentless or pathetic, beaten and subdued. He basically plays two characters in this film so he should be given double the credit that he is due.
One of the only things I was looking forward to in this film was Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Catwoman and she most certainly did not disappoint. She, like Christian Bale, was also playing two characters in this film and she showed that she too could play many different personalities, all of which were convincing. She managed to be innocent, conniving, deceitful, playful, sexy, treacherous and more in a very short space of time. Although she’s a very good actress, she hasn’t been brilliant in all of her roles, only some, but I’m so glad that she gave such a great performance in this film because it really made it just that much better.
My one, and only, criticism of this film is Bane’s voice. If you’ve read any other reviews of this film then you’ve probably already heard about this, but seriously, I had no idea what the heck was he saying for the entirety of the film. During all the high speed chases and action packed fight scenes I could hear people intently munching on their popcorn, absorbed in the drama, but every time Bane came on screen there was silence. Pure silence as everyone strained their ears desperate not to miss a word. His voice was incredibly low, raspy and indistinct and whilst it added to the general tense and frightening atmosphere of the film, I’m sure it would’ve been even more frightening and tense if I could understand the evil stuff coming out of his masked mouth.
Speaking of Bane, I am still abso-f***ing-lutely mind blown at the fact that Bane was played by Tom Hardy.
I also just thought I’d mention that with Christian Bale as Batman, Andrew Garfield as Spider-man and Henry Cavill as Superman, the British are rocking the Superhero world!