- Published on Monday, July 23 2012
- Written by Guest Contributor
The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final entry into Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. With all of the hype surrounding the movie, anything less than a masterpiece seems like it would be deemed unacceptable by fans of this series. Well, it’s a fine film and one loaded with tragedy, action, and suspense. But it feels some short cuts might have been taken with the storytelling that ultimately kept it from being the great film that fans have been expecting.
The film takes place 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight. The city is safe and practically crime-free thanks to The Dent Act, a piece of legislation that was inspired by the tragic death of Harvey Dent at the hands of Batman. The secret being kept is, of course, that Dent’s death was the result of his murderous actions and his violent intention’s towards Jim Gordon’s family. Batman merely allowed the blame to be placed on him so Gotham wouldn’t lose hope with the revelation that their White Knight had turned into a murdering psychopath.
During these 8 years, Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne has exiled himself to Wayne Manor, where he meets or speaks with no one other than his trusted butler, Alfred. But when a hulking terrorist by the name of Bane, played by Tom Hardy, arrives in Gotham, Bruce Wayne must once again don the cape and cowl in order to protect the city that he sacrificed almost everything for. Joining him is an idealistic young cop, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a cat burglar with questionable motives and allegiance, played by Anne Hathaway.
As the third act in a 3-act story structure, The Dark Knight Rises does succeed in bringing closure. The titular “rising” that happens in the movie is a call back to the ideology Thomas Wayne had from the first film: “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” Bruce Wayne’s journey back to his heroic alter-ego is a long one, and to some impatient moviegoers, it might be too long. I would respectfully disagree, because such a journey, with all of the conflicting emotions involved, only serves to add tension to the film and to make Batman’s return all the more satisfying.
My issue with the film is that, because it is so focused in specific areas, it sometimes forgets to give practical explanations for other scenes and events and just rushes over them. Suspension of disbelief is required when watching most comic book movies, but these Batman movies were grounded with a sense of realism from the very beginning. Explanations are weaved very well into the stories of the first two movies, and the intentions of the characters are never telegraphed to a great extent. The Dark Knight Rises lacks the smooth exposition of its predecessors at times, and is peppered with little plot holes throughout the movie that are more noticeable because of the slower pace. We are just meant to accept certain things without ever being told how or why, and it does take away from the overall quality of the film.
The reason the movie ultimately works is because it is the third entry in a series of movies that are all, for the most part, very well done. Christopher Nolan built up enough credit with the first two movies, and despite the leaps in logic in this one, we still care about the Batman and we want to see him succeed. Also, the addition of excellent performances from Hardy, Gordon-Levitt, and Hathaway serve to make the pill a little easier to swallow. The third and final entry into this series has the epic scope needed in order to bring this trilogy to a satisfying close. Many people have said that the Dark Knight series is the “thinking man’s” superhero series. This film is an excellent piece of entertainment that lives up to that reputation... as long as the “thinking man” isn’t thinking too hard.
Greg McIver currently resides in New York City. He is a lover of film ranging from the classic to the contemporary. You can check out his other movie reviews and articles on film at www.nerdtopiacast.com.
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