WARNING: This post contains a few spoilers for the movie The Dark Knight Rises.
I am going to start this entry off by saying (and this may or may not be considered a spoiler, depending on how you look at it, but you were warned anyway) there is no end-credits scene. Which was incredibly disappointing to me. Yes, I know that Chris Nolan has expressed that he is not interested in doing another Batman film, but the way this one ended made me kind of wish that he was only kidding about that.
While I did think the movie wrapped up nicely, it did leave me wanting a little bit more. I’m wondering if perhaps Nolan ended it that way purposefully, in case he were to change his mind and find himself wanting to make just one more film, he’d have a potential starting point.
Do I think this is a good film? Yes, I think it’s one of the better ones I’ve seen this year. Does it live up to all the hype? Not entirely. Is it as good as/better than the previous installment with the late Heath Ledger? As good as? Possibly. Better than? Not so much. This is one of those films where it’s good in its own way—some of the shots are beautifully done and for some scenes you may be holding your breath a little—but if you’re looking for the same darkness and depth, you may find yourself a little disappointed.
The story takes place eight years after the events in The Dark Knight (2008), and you can definitely feel the time jump from the start of the movie. Bale’s Bruce Wayne is a lot older and a lot less refined. He’s got a cane and a lot of arthritis issues. When he miraculously recovers his former momentum, it almost seems unbelievable, but then again, he is Batman. This movie can also be watched as a standalone; I didn’t really feel a strong connection between this one and the first two films, but it could be because Nolan was being very careful and intentional not to mention The Joker (and I believe it’s safe to say that move was out of respect).
To break down the performances, I think Michael Caine did a fantastic job as usual. I think he was very convincing as a butler who really considers his master as more of a son. Marion Cotillard also did really well in her role, and as for the character she plays, I will just say that she ended up surprising me a little. Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman did very well as supporting characters. They each did their part and it was kind of fun to see them have a couple action scenes. Especially Oldman, who gave off this “yeah, this body is getting old, but I’ve still got it!!” kind of vibe.
Bale did a great job in his role as Batman, and though he also has expressed this will be his last time playing the role, again from the ending it seemed like they were leaving it just very slightly open for an opportunity for a return, should he so desire it. As for Anne Hathaway, while I will admit she did a lot better than I expected, I don’t think I was entirely charmed by her portrayal of Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman.
Tom Hardy did a good job as Bane, but there were times where I had a hard time understanding what he was saying under that mask, not to mention I sometimes found his voice acting amusing. I think he was going for an accent other than British, but unfortunately I think he has a pretty thick accent, so whenever he tries to deviate from that, it just comes out more like a really slow British drawl. His character sort of confused me at first, and his motive didn’t entirely seem to make sense to me, until he’s revealed to be a red herring. Then I found myself kind of disappointed because instead of the “cool bad guy” I was expecting, he was more of a mixture of a loyal lapdog, caring guardian, and someone driven by love? I think some people might find it corny.
Out of all the actors though, I think it was Joseph Gordon-Levitt who stole the show in this movie. This actor always impresses me with his versatility and mastery of his craft, but he actually surprised me here. Perhaps it was because my expectations weren’t very high for the role he was playing, because I was under the impression that he was going to be a most minor character and nothing more—more minor than Freeman and Oldman’s roles. I really enjoyed his character, who just sort of slyly creeps up on you. Interestingly enough, I think his is the only character that I thought had the most complete character development all film, and it’s very gradually paced too. It’s all very believable. And really, his story was almost like a second main plot.
I actually don’t want to spoil things too much this time around, so hopefully this won’t completely ruin it for everyone, but Gordon-Levitt’s character, John Blake, is the main reason why I felt the ending could be interpreted as having the potential to explore at least one more option of The Dark Knight universe. To conclude, I think this film is just as much an origin story as it is a conclusion to Batman.
FINAL VERDICT: B
Not sure when my next entry will be (since, as you can see, there was a pretty big gap between this entry and the last one), but whenever it is, see you all then!