98/100 (2012, 164 min)
Plot: 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.
Jonathan Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan (screenplay)
Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman
There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.
If you told me a week ago that I will give The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan's follow up to The Dark Knight, the movie I like but I consider to be incredibly flawed, 10 /10 I'd laugh. And if you added it will turn out to be better than Prometheus I'll probably cut off my own arm because that would make more sense to me than this statement becoming the reality.Well, fetch me the machete.
I love stories about Batman not just because he is pretty messed up hero, with all his issues and the obvious ramifications that hide behind the fact he dresses as a bat, but also because they are really entertaining - I never watch animated series on TV, but I watched Batman every time it was on. Not only did most of those stories had really cool, noir vibe to them, the villains were always my favorite part. From The Joker through Poison Ivy to Bane they were all different, unique and scary in their own way.
I really like Tim Burton's take on the stories, but let's face it, it was pure entertainment, filled with colors, quirky characters and a fairytale feel to them. Then came Schumacher and fucked things up adding even more color, less charisma and nipples on George Clooney's Batsuit. And then Nolan came along and as much as both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are well made, entertaining films with good actors I saw them and all I thought, was "that was OK". It didn't shudder me, it didn't made my jaw drop open and apart from the score and Heath Ledger's work I'd consider them on the same level as other very good crime/drama/action movies. Cause that is the thing that Nolan definitely achieved here - it's not really a comic book movie like The Avengers, it's closer to films like Heat or The Bourne identity because the story is grounded in realistic setting unlike most comic book adaptations. And when I say realistic setting I'm trying my best to pretend that sonar scene didn't happen.
As much as I consider BB and TDK to be good films I also consider them (and Inception) to be massively overrated. They are good, they are fun, they are definitely an admirable effort - bringing comic book based story to whole new level. But they are not one of the greatest movies ever made.The Dark Knight Rises is a different story. I can't believe it. When I walked into theatre to see this film I had one mission - to laugh at new plot devices like sonar and plot holes. I was on a lookout for those, being so severely disappointed by Inception. And I searched. And I think somewhere around the scene where Anne Hathaway escapes the bar and Gordon gets captured I thought to myself - Dear God. This is actually good.
The plot of the film is very intricate and it takes as to the end of the journey - Batman had been gone for 8 years after the events that happened thanks to Harvey Dent. Him and Gordon have been lying about Harvey being a hero and being killed by Batman which lead the city to the creation of Harvey Dent act - strict law that helps to lock up the criminals in jail making Gotham a safe place. Under this act criminals get captured and transported to huge prison without the chance of parole. Jim Gordon doesn't look happy though, as the lie he was keeping for 8 years is heavier on him each day.
Meanwhile Bruce Wayne is hiding in his big manor, not giving a crap about anything, leaving Wayne Enterprises to slowly fall and giving up both on his Bat and playboy personas. A series of events force Bruce to wear Batsuit again - there is a thief, Selina Kyle, who steals his fingerprints for mysterious reason and enchants him at the same time, there are reasons to save Wayne Enterprises and finally there's new villain in town - Bane, huge, ruthless and enigmatic ex apprentice of Bruce's mentor Ra's Al Ghul.
This is great for two reasons - first of all whenever Nolan tried to give his characters a bit more depth in previous instalments I yawned - the whole Rachel Dawes thing - Bruce Wayne's childhood friend and his great love. It would worked but the character was so uninteresting, worse yet she was played by bland Katie Holmes and then slightly less bland Maggie Gyllenhaal. And the whole family drama Gordon faced in The Dark Knight. Here, the important things happen between important characters, between Alfred and Bruce, Jim and Blake and Bane and Bruce.
In fact, I like him more than Bruce - there is a scene in the movie, where
Blake, in self defense and a bit by coincidence, shoots two people that
wanted to harm him. Had Wayne did it he would lose his shit -
figuratively and literally. I can just picture him locked in Arkham
Asylum writing "Alfred, I killed a man" with his own feces on the wall. The way Wayne was whining to Alfred and everyone who would listen about
his "one rule" was so tiresome. At least Blake has the balls to carry
on, so it seems. When he shoots these guys he throws his gun, shocked,
after all he is still human, but then calls Gordon and simply says he has
two dead witnesses. No crying. No locking himself in the house. No
Her performance was truly wonderful and she never hit the false note. Her voice was big asset here and she played wonderfully with it - the first time we see her Kyle she is pretending to be a maid in Wayne's manor and steals things from the safe as Wayne catches her. First she plays innocent and then she drops the act changing into this fascinating girl Bruce is immediately taken with. I liked that Nolan wasted no time here - we all know the story, we all know those two are attracted to each other because they both hide behind their masks and are lonely in their own unique way. We don't need scenes showing us why Bruce is attracted to Kyle. When he follows her and then forms allegiance with her, well we can't blame him and we would do the same.
I also loved subtle hints thrown in here, which obviously, since it's summer blockbuster couldn't be spelled out - there are many scenes where there are guys in Selina's apartment, around her, dancing with her, driving her back etc. It's quite clear that Selina earns her money as an escort to say it's subtly and by stealing. In other words doing things that many would consider immoral But in her own morality it's all right - she does what she can do survive (I'm adaptable). But she is also a kind person, which Bruce instantly sees. She wears armour trying to prevent everyone, even her friend Holy, from seeing that she is vulnerable. Not only was Hathaway's Selina a joy to watch, she was also very well written and interesting character, which proved to be a match for both Wayne and Batman.
Despite all of that, Hardy was great. Nolan made superb choice as Bane for final villain. In many ways Bane trumps the Joker. The reason the Joker is considered to be the best Batman villain is because he is complete opposite of Batman. With Bane there were some similarities. It turns out there is something and someone they care for deeply, they both got the same training and they both have purpose in life, whereas The Joker cared only about chaos. Also what the Joker did to Gotham was the series of tricks and games. Bane raises the stakes and takes entire city hostage, revealing things about them and the world they will not like. Hardy's work was really good here and I was impressed not only by his physique - he appeared to be quite average built young man in Rock'n'Rolla, here he is basically a beast - but also by how much emotion he shown only with his eyes, particularly in one of his last scenes. That is what I loved here - for the first time in Nolan's Batman I felt sympathy for the villain. I also liked that Nolan did here what he did in TDK - showed us the glimpse of the villain without his disguise.
Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman provide strong support - Freeman with comedy and Oldman with drama. There are many nods to Batman Begins here (Not too many to TDK) a lot of them in the scenes with Freeman and Bale. Oldman is very good playing the cop who you can clearly see is tired by the lifetime of struggle but can't stop, because fighting is the right thing to do. Then there is Michael Caine who disappears for big part of the movie. I liked his work here and I think he was the best possible choice for Alfred Nolan could make. That said, the bit where he is crying near the end felt a bit forced for me, but his last scene was perfection and something I will never forget.
And that is precisely why the scene where Batman is broken - literally - is astonishing. I really didn't think Nolan will do that, but I'm so glad the iconic scene in which Bane holds Batman over his head and then breaks his back was in the movie. The whole sequence is absolutely astonishing and gotta be one of the best hand to hand combat scenes I've seen. What's even better is that as brilliant as Hans Zimmer's score is there is no music in this scene, we only hear the desperate punches and the heavy breathing of Batman who keeps on fighting but with every single second it is becoming more and more clear he will lose. Also - Catwoman who led him in the trap watches the fight with the guilty look on her face, in the end becoming completely horrified but what Bane - and she - did.
And not just that - because of the superb editing and exquisite score by Hans Zimmer certain scenes are insanely powerful simply because as a movie fan I was ecstatic seeing something so well executed. The holy union of editing, perfectly timed music, acting, directing and the story. One of such scenes is when Bruce attempts to get out prison Bane has thrown him into by climbing out of the pit. As the fellow inmates cheer him on, step by step, he climbs and then jumps - as Zimmer's insanely moving "Why do we fall?" plays in the background. When he succeeds, Zimmer's Batman theme blasts in the speakers and the moment of triumph of human courage and determination simply overwhelms you.
I have to write few words about the ending which was absolutely mesmerizing. In a series of quick reveals we get to see what I can only describe as finest ending to any trilogy I've seen. It was moving, enthralling and superbly awesome. And the look Alfred and Bruce Wayne, almost shouting "We made it" filled with respect and joy as Hans Zimmer's Rise reached its climax with Batman's theme blasting at us again truly made my heart pound along with it. I honestly don't get how some people can think the ending is ambiguous. It's Inception all over again - with Inception I can see how some may be confused, though for me the end is clearly reality. But here? The mention of the autopilot and the string of pearls followed by that lovely scene is definite answer. The story is dark. But had it ended differently it would be pitch dark you can't see shit, and where is the joy in that?
Initially when I heard there is no mention of the Joker I was disappointed.after all The Joker with his actions forced Batman into exile and now what, no mention? While I think it worked in the movie, as Bane is totally a different villain it would be awesome to get a quick scene in Arkham Asylum showing The Joker from behind, for obvious reasons, maybe writing something on the wall or perhaps showing Harley Quinn and one of her sessions with him without showing him.
As much as I loved the film there are two things I didn't get. Blake visits Wayne and tells him he knows that he is Batman. He proceeds to tell him that he himself is an orphan so he knows how it is to pretend to smile and hide anger inside. But all the story proves is that Blake knows Wayne is orphan. How the hell does it connect to him knowing Wayne is Batman? Another thing is after Bruce gets out of the shithole pit. He is in a middle of nowhere. Next time we see him he is back in Gotham. Now, I can maybe see how he got back to that part of the world, using his skills and maybe hidden cash reserves, but since Gotham is cut off and there are people on the only bridge connecting to the outside world, how the hell does he get inside the Gotham? It also looks he had to be up on the bridge to set up gigantic, fiery Bat symbol....howwwwww?