The Dark Knight Rises – Movie Review & Discussion
Watch the Dark Knight Trilogy before reading this post – Spoilers Ahead.
The Dark Knight Rises marks the end to Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie trilogy. Picking up eights years after the events of The Dark Knight (2008), Bruce Wayne has become a frail, cane-walking recluse, shunning any involvement with the outside world. But when a smart, alluring cat burgler infiltrates his mansion and a masked terrorist named Bane threatens Gotham City, Bruce Wayne decides to resurrect his crime fighting alter-ego even if it might cost him his life. The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) is a sprawling, thought-provoking and heroic conclusion to the trilogy. What did you think of Bane as a villain? How does TDKR compare with The Dark Knight (TDK)? Should the studio reboot the Batman franchise? Cibarra and I give our thoughts in the article below:
What didn’t I like about the movie?
Cibarra: Like I was saying, some things they could have done better. The fights with Bane, I wished they had built Bane up as more of a badass than what they showed. Warrior is a good movie of building Tom Hardy’s character up to make him look like a badass. Bane didn’t do anything on the plane, or at the stock exchange that really impressed me of how much stronger or faster he was supposed to be. And just having Alfred point that out from a dumb surveillance video doesn’t cut it. I mean who is Bane beating up, a woman security guard. I felt like the movie kind of dragged during the middle for a bit. I really wish they would have left the scene with Bruce and Selina out at the end, and just have Alfred looking up at you smiling. I thought Anne Hathaway was great as Catwoman, nothing bad there. But my biggest complaint again was Bane. His meetings with Batman should have been in 3 stages.
1. You have to give a tease, Bane and Batman’s first meeting should have been a quick bout but then something happens where they are separated (by explosion) for example. This meeting has to show Bane’s speed and power, the fight in front of the court house where Bane knocks out a pillar and quick punches is a great example. So then later, then you can have Alfred tell Bruce that he’s never faced anyone so powerful or as quick. He fears for Bruce.
2. Here Batman and Bane square off for a second time, and Bane breaks Batman’s back. The movie got this part right.
3. Batman comes back to defeat Bane.
But without setting Bane up to be a badass, you miss the significance of stages 2 and 3.
Sidekick: Warrior is an excellent movie to showcase what Tom Hardy can really do as an actor and made me excited for what he could bring to the role of Bane. I liked Tom Hardy’s voice performance and expressing himself through this eyes. But Bane wasn’t as dynamic or engaging as I was hoping. I did like how Bane was physically imposing; he wasn’t an opponent that Batman could easily beat up. When Batman turned off the lights, Bane was at home in the dark as much as the Dark Knight himself. His back story of escaping from the prison as a child really helped give his character an extra dimension and intrigue; however … big spoiler alert … it wasn’t HIS back story. Yeah, he grew up in the prison with Talia and protected her but he wasn’t the one that made the big jump; which represented an absolute will to live. When the twist (I had a mental block and forgot Ra’s Al Ghul had a daughter) was revealed it made Bane feel one-dimensional like he was just a bodyguard or subordinate doing the bidding of Talia. Bane had an elaborate plan to destroy Gotham City and to bring down Bruce Wayne but was Talia the true mastermind? I have to admit, I was tuning out a bit when Bane was doing his speeches. Was Bane a revolutionist or was he a bad case of roid rage? In the airplane, one of his men gave up his life without hesitation, which says they believe in Bane as a leader and the ideology he represented. However, right after the twist, it diminished Bane and he became instantly disposable … and on cue, Selina Kyle blasts him to oblivion.
What did I like about the movie?
Cibarra: I liked the new batwing, I liked that they incorporated a way for Gordon-Levitt to continue wearing the cowl. My favorite scene which actually gave me goosebumps was 2 cops in the squad car chasing the cycles. The lights go out and the veteran cop tells the rookie, “oh your in for a show tonight”. F*cking awesome!
Sidekick: That was the most exciting part of the movie for me too! Finally getting to see the Dark Knight! I wish we got to see more of him to be honest. I love using all the gadgets in Batman: Arkham City video game. It would have been cool if he used a whole whack of crazy gadgets on Bane in the first fight but still couldn’t defeat him. I thought Selina Kyle was well written and Anne Hathaway did a great job. I’d be excited if there was a Catwoman or Nightwing spin-off if Nolan oversaw the script.
Why is TDK better than TDKR?
Cibarra: If you remember both movies start out exactly the same way. TDK introduces us to the Joker and after his introduction you come away feeling amazed about how brilliant he pulled it off. TDKR introduces us to Bane and it tries to have the same affect by having the agents tell us how badass he is. But we the audience need to see it. TDK continues with the Joker who steals damn near every scene he’s in. It has 2 gut wrenching moments that pulls at your heartstrings, the Rachel Dawes murder and 2face confronting Jim Gordon’s family. And then the ending, having a kid say what everyone is thinking was brilliant. “Why is he running? But he didn’t do anything wrong” and then Jim Gordon going off on the monologue. It’s probably one of the greatest movie endings I have ever seen. I get chills everytime I see it. Now lets look at the deaths in TDKR, or scenes that were supposed to pull at our hearts. The mayor dies (didn’t give a sh*t), the coward police chief (not a f**k was given), batman himself (still not even a little sh*t was given) even with Alfred balling his eyes out! and where the hell did he disappear to???
Sidekick: One of my favorite parts of TDK is when the Joker forces the ferry passengers to decide whether to blow each other up. For me, there wasn’t any OMG or gut wrenching moments in TDKR that came close to the best moments of TDK. Besides, any self-respecting villain should dress up in a nurse’s outfit ;). Overall, I did enjoy TDKR and want to watch it again .. next time in IMAX. I never cared for Rachel Dawes … no heart-strings were pulled there haha. The love connection between Miranda Tate and Bruce Wayne didn’t work for me either. Maybe he just needed some comfort after losing his fortune. TDKR was more about Bruce Wayne’s introspective journey of facing his fears and reigniting his will to live than a Batman vs Villain story. That said, Batman is a hero and it was good to see Gotham City finally honor him with a statue.
Cibarra: When I was talking about TDK ending. I meant, when Gordon’s son is talking and asking questions it was brilliant because he was the voice of our inner child. I was so awed by the end of that movie. I was like a child watching the hero I grew up with. I feel we all were.
The Future of Batman Movies
Cibarra: I know they’re going to do a justice league movie. But do you think warner bro. should continue with this story?
Sidekick: I’m not ready for a Batman reboot. I love origin stories, but I don’t feel compelled to see another version of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman or a different take on the Joker anytime soon. I think the Dark Knight Trilogy will stand the test of time and we can keep rewatching them. TDKR has so many layers and thematic elements going on, we are going notice something new each time we watch it. The ending of TDKR with John Blake entering the batcave was probably one of the most exciting moments in the movie. I love the idea that a hero, as a symbol or icon, never really dies. It is reborn or rises again. I think the studio should continue with John Blake as the new caped crusader in his own franchise and Justice league movie. Nolan created a rich, dark, and realistic universe that I’m invested in and want to see more of with John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). I’m assuming Christian Bale is not interested in reprising his role. The time for a complete Batman reboot is when a new generation wants to see the Dark Knight recontextualized for the period they are living in; reflecting their fears and beliefs. People will be watching Nolan’s version decades from now but it speaks to the post 9/11, stock market meltdown, Egypt revolution – world of today. I guess what I’m trying to say is that superheroes are modern day myths that are meant to be retold … but don’t hit the reset button yet.
Extra special thanks to Cibarra for his contribution to this post. Should Warner Bros. reboot the Batman movies or continue with this story? Let us know by leaving yours comments.