The first thing I will say about The Dark Knight Rises is “Don’t Believe the Hype”. This movie is not epic, ground breaking, one of the greatest movies of all time, as the critics would have you believe. This movie reminds me a bit of The God Father III, the immensely flawed finally in The Godfather Trilogy. Too many role players, the character of Michael Corleone being brought back into a life he so desperately is trying to leave, Young Turks paving their way to take over his empire. But that is where the similarities end. Don’t worry; this film is light years away better in retrospect than The Godfather III. But those similarities are there. The Dark Knight Rises suffers a bit from a hugely convoluted storyline. No less than 5 major storylines play out in the allotted time of 2:45. Christopher Nolan, already known for complicated, drawn out surprise plotlines, seems to want to really out do himself on this third installment of the Batman franchise. The fallacy here is that he is doing it with established characters and at the same time, he is trying to keep the true identities of said characters under wraps through out the majority of the film. He gives you pieces of the story, then changes it up, then surprises you with a shocker at the end. That works awesome and keeps the film geeks on there tows in most of his films (The Prestige, Memento, Inception) but just like another storied film maker with a penchant for this kind of story telling (M. Night Shyamalan) this talent can also be over used and exhausting, and that’s exactly what happens here. We find
Bruce Wayne a tired and broken man, 7 years after the events of the death of Harvey Dent. Body broken, almost broke and secluded from the world. Commissioner Gordon has literally wiped out most major crime in the city. Several events take place around Gotham that take Bruce out of his bubble and bring Batman back on the scene, including one nasty ass villain, BANE. One of the problems I had with the film begins with the first encounter between Bane and Batman. We are made aware that Bruce Wayne is not the same extremely fit Batman we left in The Dark Knight, but the way Bane disposes of him in that first encounter is very counter intuitive to the character of The Batman. Also, the ease in which Bane takes over a major U.S. city is not believable…and one thing Chris Nolan strives for is believability. Wayne is then broken, literally and taken to the same prison that Bane himself escaped years ago. A “Hell on Earth” if you will, where he will have his soul tortured as he sees the utter destruction of Gotham, and then be “allowed to die”. The story then takes several turns as Bruce begins to learn who and what Bane rally is, or so he thinks. The eventual rise and fall, then rise and…maybe fall again of Wayne and The Batman in The Dark Knight Rises is overshadowed by the constant over “Baneness” of the film. The climactic “finale” battle between Bane and Batman is to short and not epic enough. In trying to make Bane such a real and complex villain, Nolan losses focus of some of the possible action in the film. It sometimes seems we are watching a drawn out soap opera than an action film. His wanting to tie up all the loose ends through out all three films also hugely alters several of the characters backgrounds. As for Ann Hathaway playing Cat Woman, her character and performance are spot on. She plays more of a major role than one would think in The Dark Knight Rises. Now to all the mystery surrounding the John Blake character, if you listen closely to his story as he tells it in the film, and pick up on the clues, you’ll know exactly who he is. Remember, Chris Nolan will change character names to fit his needs, so don’t focus on the name “John Blake” as much as the character of the character! All in all, is this film epic, not at the least, is it a good film, absolutely. Could it have been a better ending to the trilogy? Sure. But when dealing with a prolific director like Nolan and a more prolific character like The Batman, is any ending a good enough ending?