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The Dark Knight Rises

July 23, 2012

Christopher Nolan has been receiving massive amounts of glory over the past few years after his first installment of the reboot to the Batman franchise. Nolan’s vision of Batman details a more realistic and vicious side of the beloved superheroes’ universe, as opposed to the wacky and at times flamboyantly unearthed images of in previous films. Nolan makes Bruce Wayne a much more stoic and serious character whose love for Gotham City is also his curse. Hailed by many as “masterpieces,” Nolan’s reboot of the series has won the hearts of fans and critics alike throughout the years. If you enjoyed any of Nolan’s previous Batman films, then The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t disappoint and is arguably Nolan’s finest portrayal of the masked crusader and the people that surround him.

Eight years after the events in The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse while Batman has gone missing after taking the heat for the death of the city’s beloved district attorney, Harvey Dent. Meanwhile, an underground army is being cultivated by a massive, towering masked criminal, Bane (Tom Hardy). Having sinister plans for Gotham City, Bane hopes to nuke it in order to “give it back to the people;” simultaneously a crafty cat burglar, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), is shaking up the city with a string of heists. The agenda of both criminals intertwine, their actions causing a broken spirited Bruce to emerge from seclusion to once again help save the city he loves, despite protest from the one closest to him, his butler, Alfred (Michael Caine).

My devotion and reaction to Nolan’s reboot of the franchise has long been ‘meh.’ While I appreciate his style and desire for a deeper story, his vision is not my favorite. Nolan’s biggest problem besides his character development is his somberness. His films are too dramatic and serious that it’s hard to remember why children wear Batman pajamas and pretend to be him on playgrounds. Tim Burton and Michael Keaton’s (THE Batman) version of the hero contains elements of humor and lightheartedness among chills and thrills. Nolan instead depicts the world of Batman too realistically at times, making it even more depressing when crime prevails in his absence. Because of the overly dramatic seriousness in the series, I initially slept through Batman Begins and although I remember loving The Dark Knight my memory tells me is was mostly because Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker is perhaps the most captivating portrayal of a villain ever.

Nolan’s films always seem to drag on and with The Dark Knight Rises being nearly three hours, there are indeed some elements that could use trimming. However,  it is exceptional in its delivery. Nolan masters the mechanics of filmmaking incredibly well in The Dark Knight Rises. It reminded me at times of a product of the Classical Hollywood era of cinema. All of the characters are explored well-roundedly, nearly every scene is necessary to further advance the story, and there’s a great amount of spectacle in the form of action and choreographed fight sequences, amidst moments of fine story development. By the end of the film, viewers are rewarded for their patience with a great twist and ambiguous ending that also ties up loose ends.

Sure it’s a film that’s about half an hour too long and sure Bane’s ideology doesn’t make the most perfect sense, nor does his over dubbed voice. And I’ll admit, it’s rather convenient that at the last minute someone always discovers the right thing, or knows to be in the right place at the right time, or prevents someone else from being shot or beaten, but it works within the world laid out before us; a world where much like the comics, goodness will always prevail and by some unseen force the chips will always fall in the right place for that to happen. It doesn’t make the story or entertainment any less enjoyable and The Dark Knight Rises uses all of those conveniences in order to give viewers a wonderful feeling of catharsis at its end. The Dark Knight Rises is a great film to watch in spite of the recent tragic event clouding it; the Colorado shooting just makes its theme of good overcoming evil all the more relevant.

SEE IT. It’s arguably the best one.

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