My thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises

I’m going on record and saying that I really enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises. That’s not to say that the film didn’t have a few issues, every film does. But all said, it is a very good movie – proving that big budget Hollywood movies can be good.

When I ask most people their thoughts on the movie, the first thing they say is “it was too long”. Yes they are correct, with a running time of 2 hours and 44 minutes, it is longer than most films you’ll see. But I would not say it was too long. It kept my interest, and the story was continuously moving forward. I thought Christopher Nolan did an outstanding job making a super hero movie with such depth and great characters. Films like this can often take the easy way out, and just throw a boatload of CGI and action sequences at you, so that when you leave the theater you feel like you’ve seen something epic.
Nolan didn’t do that. When people complain that the movie is too long, what they are really saying is, there was too much “story” for them to handle in a comic book/super hero movie. A lot of folks, God love’em just want to see guys in skin tight outfits jumping off of tall buildings, lots of fight scenes, explosions, and one too many close calls. I really respect Nolan for having the balls to make a movie about Batman, that really doesn’t show Batman all that much.

Watching films as a kid I couldn’t understand things like, in the 1976 version of King Kong, why does it take so long before we see the big bastard. Or in 1978’s Superman, why do we have to sit around for over an hour before we get a glimpse of the man of steel. Now I look back on those movies and I think I enjoy some of those early moments in these films more than some of the more memorable ones. Or at the very least, these films mean more to me once I’m able to put the entire story together.

Going back to the Dark Knight Rises, one thing I noticed was just how good the acting was. Christian Bale takes Bruce Wayne to a new level in this film. You really feel his pain after the events that took place in the previous film, mainly the loss of Rachel Dawes. And the scene between Bale and Michael Caine’s Alfred are some of the best in the film. Although you never see most of his face, Tom Hardy brings a presence to Bane that really injects the film with a little fear. However most surprising was Anne Hathaway as Selina/Catwoman. My first impression when I heard that not only was Catwoman going to appear in the film, but the part had gone to Hathaway, I have to say I cringed a bit. I just didn’t see it in her. But I was wrong. I felt she was funny, sexy, and loaded with confidence. Yet she was able to pull it back just enough for us to feel that she was in over her head when she encounters the much more menacing Bane.

If it hadn’t have been for the jaw dropping performance of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, I might say that “Rises” was a better film. I liked that The Dark Knight Rises focused on just one villain. Sure there were a lot of other bad guys, doing bad guy things, but we all knew that Bane was the one and only villain that Batman needed to defeat. And yes, I even liked the ending.

Super hero movies really are hit or miss. And after the debacle of 2006’s Superman Returns, I figured that was the last we’d see of the son of Jor’El for some time. However this latest Batman film gives me hope that next year’s Man of Steel may actually be the first good Superman film in three decades.

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