It is hard for me not to just say, “this was awesome”, and leave it at that. If you have been following my tweets you know I loved this movie. This review is my attempt to explain why I love it so much and why I am satisfied with the ending without me going too much into geek-speak territory.
First and foremost, I will not attempt to keep anything out of this review. So this will contain spoilers you have been warned, proceed at your own risk…
What has he been doing for 8 years? It seems he has let a lie take over and destroy civic law. I’m not too angry at this since Batman always worked outside the law, and the guilt on Commissioner Gordon’s conscious was shown quite well. My problem is that he never asks for forgiveness for allowing the law to be distorted. Christian Bale has always been an interesting choice for Batman, his Batman voice is probably the most hated part of his persona of the Dark Knight. Other then that he does a good job of showing off his Bruce and Batman persona and the differences in both. I enjoyed his interactions with Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman the most, more on her later one. Christopher & Jonathan Nolan did a great job showing that he is a detective and able to not only be a man in a kevlar suit but a brain as well. Unlike the comics, the TV Shows, the Radio shows and the other Batman franchises; The Dark knight Rises actually has a conclusion to Bruce Wayne as Batman. He allows himself to enjoy his life, a request by his one true ally Alfred Pennyworth. In the end he gets the girl and peace and quiet.
When I first heard about Anne Hathaway doing Catwoman I was impressed by Nolan’s casting. I liked Heath Ledger because of 10 Things I hate About You, among his other younger screen appearances, when everyone said he was a bad choice I argued against them. They were very much surprised by his work in The Dark Knight. The same people complained and lamented about Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman. I believe she proved herself to be a worthy adversary to Batman & Bruce wether she was in her skin tight suit or in a little black dress. Her transition to only working for her self (and her street cat girl friend) to caring for others was a nice story to intersperse among all the male testosterone. Anne Hathaway stole the show anytime she went from scared victim to saucy thief. I loved her in this role and am happy I never doubted her ability since her Princess Diary days. Her ending up with Bruce was just the perfect icing on the cake especially when a certain officer turned detective’s “real” name was revealed just before we saw Bruce still alive at the end.
What can I say about Tom Hardy’s Bane? Well he was much better then the other Batman franchise interpretation *wink*. All kidding aside I liked where his story went. However it might have been too obvious that he wasn’t the child from the lazarus pit, after everyone believed it to be. It was too easy for him to be the one Bruce was so sure of. Also as an avid reader and watcher of the comics & TV show I knew Ra’s Al Ghul did not have a son. Now again we go into Nolan’Verse interpretation and forget what was written in the comics. Bane was being used, he was a mercenary, he broke Bruce’s back, and he was killed by the cannon from the bat cycle by Catwoman. Some of those things happened in the comic, others ones happened in the movie. I enjoyed both versions of Bane.
This character was the most disappointing part of the story, but not because it was written badly or acted poorly. No on the contrary their was not enough time for her story to be fleshed out. Her story is probably the one that veers the greatest from her origin story (other then a certain Batman sidekick, don’t worry my thoughts on him are coming). In the comics Talia Al Ghul loves Bruce Wayne almost enough to betray her father, on countless occasions she chooses Bruce over Ra’s. In the Dark Knight Rises however she chooses her father, even after he excommunicates Bane. It is a stark contrast to the character the fan’s love, she is the mother of the current Robin (in the comics), Damien Wayne. I would have liked a lot more to have happened with her. However it also make sense for them to hide her until the end, the surprise on Bruce’s/Batman’s face was priceless as was the reaction from the audience (if you didn’t read the rumors or the comics before hand). So in the end she might be the sorest part of the movies for me.
Sidekicks and Other Characters:
There are many familiar faces in this movie. Fox, Alfred, Gordon, and even Scarecrow make an appearance. It is hard not to love or loath these characters we have grown to know over the three movies. I enjoyed the conclusion to their stories. The most heart wrenching moment had to be Alfred’s confession to Bruce, I teared up the first time I watched that scene. Alfred has always been a steadfast and true character in the Batman universe, there might not always be a Joker or a Robin, but there will always be Alfred. There was however a supporting role that had not been introduced in the first two movies, a role that some had already guessed would be the Nolan’Verse version of Batman’s sidekick…
Robin “John” Blake:
His character was more defined by what we didn’t know about him then what we did. Everyone called him Blake, his name tag was never shown and in the end their proved to be a reason why, his real name was Robin Blake. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a fantastic job as the “hot-headed” officer turned detective. He had the skills of a young man who could figure out who Batman really was (Tim Drake, 3rd Robin), he had the heart to challenge his idol (Jason, 2nd Robin), and he had the guts to step up and not wear a mask to save his city (Dick Grayson, 1st Robin). All the things we have come to value in our Robins over the years in the comics. I really was happy with the portrayal, this version of Bruce would never be a good mentor because he was still learning, however Commissioner Gordon was the perfect man to teach a Robin Blake. Though Bruce proved he had some nuggets of wisdom to give, and Robin did get in his quirky one-liner “you missed a spot”; Commissioner Gordon was Blake’s real mentor in this story.
In conclusion I am satisfied with the ending of this franchise. I got what I wanted a strong female character from Catwoman and a Robin. Though they were not portrayed the way expected, I was pleasantly surprised that they made sense in the Nolan’Verse. I am happy that the movie did well and saddened by the events that surrounded it’s release. I look forward to where Batman goes next. I know that there will have to be another interpretation of Batman for a Justice League movie. I don’t expect to see the same Batman the next time I see him on the big screen, I am fine with that. As long as WB does not destroy what Nolan has created by trying to connect his franchise with the next I will be happy.