The Dark Knight Rises

PG-13 | 165 mins | Action, Sci-fi, Adventure | July 19, 2012 (Philippines)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard

Awesome. Is that enough movie review already, that this movie is awesome? LOL.

The Dark Knight Rises picks up 8 years later since Batman (Christian Bale) took the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes. Batman hasn't been seen since. Bruce Wayne seem to be forever mourning Rachel Dawes's death, who was murdered by The Joker (the late Heath Ledger). One chance encounter however with an enchanting jewel thief Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) sprung him up. Unfortunate news of Wayne Enterprise’s financial standing in his time off, and the new apparent threat of global terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy), forced Wayne to embrace his alter ego again.

The Dark Knight Rises clocked in at 164 minutes, just the right time to tell this powerful post-apocalyptic/war story while allowing the audience to breathe and digest the material. The KAPOW and SPLAT, inked and derived from the pulpy pages of comicbooks, is what a movie about superheroes and supervillains like this is built on. But the bone crushing violence in this movie was so carefully staged and filmed that it all felt more human and authentic than the wrestling matches I see on TV. Monstrous goon Bane crippling Batman, delivering damage so intense, genuinely broke my heart. The stream of pounding had me flinching so bad the whole time. Twas an agony to watch.

The central actors are by and large topnotch. Christian Bale has stated this is his last time to play the role of Batman, and he did a better performance here than he did in The Dark Knight, mostly as Bruce Wayne than as Batman of course. Anne Hathaway was perfect as Selina Kyle. She was gorgeously hot and wicked and entertaining, and when she talked she purred like a cat (was never referred to as Catwoman though). Her chemistry with Bale tramples over that of Bale and Marion Cotillard's. Cotillard's significance as Miranda Tate sure was murky for the bulk of the film, until the big reveal in the end. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays doe-eyed police rookie John Blake, and arguably his performance was better here than in Inception. Hardy's Bane was intimidating enough, despite his facial expressions being hidden behind a mask (but The Joker is still supreme nasty). Credit to Bale and Hardy for selling their characters' personal conflicts so well. And as always, Michael Caine gives much gravitas as the film's heart, Alfred. Disappointingly, Cillian Murphy lacked the menace that he displayed from Batman Begins, and only reminded me of a local singer Christian Bautista.

This was the series' best work in the musical score department, kudos to Hans Zimmer for a chillingly good theme overall. Wally Pfister's cinematography, his Gotham City, is solid.

The movie presented a perfect plot for a terrorist attack - putting a city into anarchy and using weapons of mass destruction. The movie ought to disturb viewers a lot more than it does, yes, because it would touch upon issues like terrorism and gun violence. But I don’t think the comicbook violence in the Batman world caused the senseless and merciless movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado. The business of easily and legally acquiring guns and ammunition made that happen. The Dark Knight Rises movie as a matter of fact promotes at length a gun-free type of violence.

This is the third and final installment in Nolan’s Batman series. Or not. The restored bat symbol that Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) discovered and Blake's final scene definitely points to another Nolan adaptation, with Gordon-Levitt in the lead role, I conclude, but not as Robin the sidekick in green and red costume. Blake's going to take on the role of Batman in the future! Why? It was well established earlier in the film that anyone can be Batman, that it’s just a mask. So Bruce Wayne who apparently faked his own death gave Blake the coordinates and tools necessary to find the batcave, seemingly entrusting all the Batman equipment to him while he enjoys his hiatus. And he was already Robin in the film (Blake was actually named Robin, we found out at the end). He doesn't need to suit up and become Robin in the future because he already served the sidekick role of Robin in the movie. Finally, that powerful symbolism at the end, with Blake RISING up as the screen goes black, then the title: The Dark Knight RISES. So, yeah, I had reason to think this movie was a prelude to John Blake's task being the Batman.

I personally prefer this John Blake version of Robin and not the original Dick Grayson; this is how artistic Nolan is at rehashing characters from the comicbook source. Maybe Nolan will choose to adapt Frank Miller’s four-part Dark Knight Returns? Maybe. But having other Batmans will be interesting, like a Blake version of Batman. He could be like Jean-Paul Valley (Azrael) from the Knightfall series who stood in for Bruce Wayne after he was broken by Bane.

The first chapter presented the central characters. The second gave us the most loved (or hated) supervilain. Summing up the entire series, in grand fashion, The Dark Knight Rises tells the story of a man and his city.

Imperfections and all, this movie is an epic Grade A comic-book production.

RATING: 9.5/10


Armand said...

Nice work, man!

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