Genres: action, crime, drama, thriller
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer, characters by Bob Kane
Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Juno Temple, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson
IMDb says: Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.
"De-Shay De-Shay Bah-Sah-Rah Bah-Sah-Rah!"
Although I saw The Dark Knight Rises more than a week ago and I saw it twice already, I couldn't find time to write up about it. However, I knew that today is the day when I finally had to have the job done and just fancy my surprise when I found out that it's Chris Nolan's birthday. What a great coincidence, that's why the first thing is:
Happy birthday to the most inspiring and original director, Christopher Nolan, who continues to deliver fantastic pictures that keep exceeding my expectations. I don't know how it's possible but that's what he does.
Every time I saw the film, I couldn't contain myself. I just went crazy with excitement and happiness because the movie was so good! I believe the better time to write a review was right after my first viewing, since I was incredibly inspired and I could do The Dark Knight Rises justice. On the other hand, the post could have turned out just mental because of the extraordinary strong feelings this motion picture awakened in me.
Although I knew that Chris Nolan simply cannot disappoint me, I doubted that I can enjoy The Dark Knight Rises just as much as I did, seeing its predecessor in the trilogy and Inception. However, to put things straight right away, I have to tell you that even upon my first viewing I understood that I love The Dark Knight Rises equally with those two. They all are great in their own ways. Upon my second viewing, nothing changed. I still loved the film and now when a week has passed I'm still absolutely crazy about it and can't wait till next Monday, since I'll go to see it again.
Now when I'm about to proceed with the actual film "reviewing" (well, my "reviews" are not real ones, that's why I have nothing to do but put quotes there), I'm really not sure what to start with, so the first thing that comes to my mind is The Dark Knight Rises story. I, for one, think that it was brilliant and extraordinary smart. A tad baffling, but not totally confusing. Chris and Jonathan Nolan, as the main writers, do play with viewers' minds, just like in any other film, penned by the brothers. The plot is surprising, twist-friendly, dynamic and effective, introducing each character with intelligence and richness and giving all the major characters enough time and space to shine.
There is one thing about the story that I don't want to talk about but I feel that I have to. Plotholes in The Dark Knight Rises. I have already made my statement about this nonsense but I'll repeat it just one more time. Firstly, Chris Nolan definitely doesn't work in a slapdash way (even reasonable adversaries of his work can't deny that), so how is it possible to assume that he and his brother didn't think it all out properly? They don't have to explain you every single detail, like why Bane decided to do that and how Batman got there. It's ridiculous. It's not a book. It's movie! Secondly, having read those dozens of alleged plotholes, I was chocking with uncontrollable laughter. Why? Excuse me, but the sad truth is many people have absolutely no imagination or they are supremely lazy or both, because it seems that no-one of those nitpickers bothered to simply think, dream, imagine, be creative. A fan made picture comes to my mind; something like "I'm terribly sorry that my films actually make you think" written over a Chris Nolan photo. Priceless truth. And thirdly, when exactly did the movie watching activity turn from embracing its beauty into excitedly maniacal snatching at its (sometimes inexistent) flaws and trying to make a point about something ultimately irrelevant? That's my final statement on the plotholes in The Dark Knight Rises.
Moving on from the story to the characters that inhabit it, once again, I have to say that they are fantastic. Like I mentioned above, the film gives each and every of them a spectacular entrance and enough room to sparkle in their heroism or villainy. I can't imagine that any key character could say "Hey, that other one has a cooler role than I have" just because it would have been utter nonsense.
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman is as a great as usually. There's a new spin of order in this last installment and the caped crusader's life is described in gloomier tones that also allows Bale to manifest Batman's weakness, grief, and doubts. I was taken a little bit by surprise, when I saw the state the character was in, but it totally worked out, as the fallen hero has to battle most serious calamities more on his own, as it have ever been. Although I have always liked the actor, exactly The Dark Knight Rises made me realize that Bale is that perfect choice to portray the goodness shaped in the form of persecuted and elusive avenger. He's just that guy that you want to root for.
Tom Hardy as Bane is insanely good. Even though this final chapter is missing fantastic Heath Ledger's The Joker, Bane is a very worthy substitute. However, calling him just a substitute would be an undeservedly harsh and unfair claim. Bane is really terrifying, intelligent, and ruthless. You can also describe The Joker like that, but they are very different in the terror they bring and clever and cruel methods they use. Somehow, I also had the feeling that The Joker is more subtle, while Bane is much ruder in his ways, but I'm not sure, it's just a little meaningless observation. Undoubtedly, Bane is a shockingly great villain, but is Tom Hardy a shockingly great actor in The Dark Knight Rises? Yes, he is. How is it possible to have half of your face covered with a horrifying mask and give such an astounding performance? Just the upper part of his face, his eyes, they made it work, they made this embodiment unforgettable. I can't say what I thought of the voice work because I saw the dubbed version, so I'll have to wait for the DVD to see for myself was it that confusing like some people say.
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman proved me wrong. I admit that I was not crazy about this casting choice and I still don't quite see her as a feline-ish Gotham criminal. Nonetheless, I surrender. Anne Hathaway was fabulous. Strong, deceptive, sexy, she was a perfect portrayal of a female persona of felonious talents in a big city like Gotham. I was truly glad that Hathaway didn't copycat even a bit Michelle Pfeiffer's performance and instead she created a purely new character. I applaud to such great female characters. We need more of them, unquestionably. Another thing is that I loved Catwoman's intro, so well-written, so exciting, summing up who that humble girlie is. In my opinion, both she and Bane had the best introductions in this movie. Just incredibly memorable.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, a good cop, quite surprised me. I know that we can expect great things from characters introduced by Nolan. I know that JGL is a bloody great actor, besides, one of my favorites. But I considered that we should expect just normally good things from this character. Nevertheless, just like some other supporting ones, Blake manages to lead the film from time to time and he does it superbly. Although Gordon-Levitt is a wholesome choice for many indie flicks, he makes a perfect action figure, too, and it's totally awesome that it seems that he picks various roles, from both sides of the business.
Retrieving his role of Commissioner Gordon, Gary Oldman surprised me as well, since he is always that guy who is always there to reach out a helpful hand, so there is nothing new you can expect from him. Well, that's true, he's about in the same position as in the previous films, yet he is amazing for some reason! Gordon gets some splendid action sequences, life-changing for Gotham, and after all he is played by the classic Gary Oldman. I think Commissioner is about to get among my favorite characters of all time.
Marion Cotillard as Miranda is a pretty thing, magnetic as in the majority of her movies, and very skillful in her mature acting. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox is just like Tumbler or Batman's mask. Sorry for these clumsy similes but can you imagine a Nolan Batman film without Freeman? Nope. Finally, Michael Caine as loyal Alfred gave a regularly quality performance that moved me a lot; there are two scenes that did speak with my heart and I can't tell why, they were just especially emotional and felt real. It was also nice seeing Juno Temple, Cillian Murphy, and Liam Neeson.
The beautifully executed visual story was enhanced by top quality cinematography (Wally Pfister, DOP), editing, art direction and set decoration, costume design and makeup department, visual, special and sound effects and simply lots of people who worked on this film to make it look both believable and highly impressive. However, even though The Dark Knight Rises is a special action film of blockbuster type, behind all those complicated, elaborate, and thought out action sequences, there was a very clever story that prevented it from being just a bunch of expensive FX.
Another extraordinary aspect in this film was original score by Hans Zimmer. It's unbelievable that people bash it. You liked the score to The Dark Knight better? Well, good for you. I did like it more, too, but it doesn't stop me from admiring the new offering from Zimmer, and that overwhelming chant is enormous enough to praise the composer just for that. Anyway, to my ears, the new score is opposite to being disappointing. Bravo once again, Mr. Zimmer!
I will definitely leave out something that I have to mention here but that's what I always do. However, there are still a few points, probably, the most important ones for me for now.
Although the film's runtime is 2 hours 45 minutes, I didn't feel the time passing. The Dark Knight Rises is engrossing and captivating and it easily transported me to Gotham and there was no boring minute, no boring instant in it. I was absolutely petrified by the splendor, creativity and talents of everybody involved.
The most essential thing, though, is what it made me feel. I felt wonderful. Not only it was the usual tale of confrontation, but it also was a tale of inspiration. Maybe, I'm too much in love with this film, but it inspired me multiple times during its runtime with its little moments that I can't describe now. As strange as it might seem, to me The Dark Knight Rises is an awe-inspiring ode to life. I don't know what Chris Nolan wanted audiences to feel about the film, but that's what was boiling inside me and it still does. Films are personal experiences. I'm glad when people agree on this little truth. We all feel different about different movies. Thus, I'm not sure that many felt the same what I did, viewing The Dark Knight Rises.
Another tiny point: the ending was flawless. Hasty and electrifying. I literally wanted to stand up and start hopping to the ceiling with joy of how thrilling and wonderful it was. Overall, it's not just a good ending to a trilogy. Let's admit it, we rarely get this kind of quality for a sequel and especially for a closing chapter.
The Dark Knight Rises is another staggering success from Christopher Nolan and, as much as it's hard to imagine, it surpassed my high expectations, putting me in an infinite state of awe, inspiring me and showing the beauty of the art that I love to bits. I'm grateful to Chris Nolan and his select team of brilliantly talented individuals for making such absolutely stunning and substantially meaningful films.
I'm also happy to give this film a rating that no movie has gotten since the first day when I implemented my new rating system.
PS Well, now that's the hugest review that I've ever written. And it was really enjoyable to write it. That's what a good movie is.