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By John Delia
Jul 19, 2012 10:29 AM EST

The Dark Knight Rises Theatrical Review

The Best Batman (The Dark Knight) Got Better with Dark Knight Rises.
The Dark Knight Rises Theatrical Review
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This may be the film that knocks off The Avengers from the all time box-office winner for 2012.  The movie is called The Dark Knight Rises, but loyal fans will refer to the film as Batman and they know that this dark knight has all the power to rise above any comic book hero the industry can throw at him. For me, I'm just one of the crew, a follower hooked since Batman Begins. 

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The film opens with an exciting kidnapping that takes place in the air aboard a transport carrying three criminals.  When things start to get out of hand, a super villain takes over.  In the meantime Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has been living in seclusion at his home for eight years with Batman out of service following the accusation that he killed Gotham's honored District Attorney Harvey Dent.  Since crime has lessened over this period, the need for the Batman hasn't been necessary.
 
But, super villain Bane (Tom Hardy) rears his ugly head with a plan to destroy Gotham.  With the help of John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a rookie cop who has a nose for trouble, and Commissioner Gordon, Batman comes out of hiding and powers up his bat cycle.  When he gets captured by Bane and gets put in an inescapable prison, it starts to look bleak for Gotham.   
 
This may be the best Dark Knight film ever, or at least as good as the previous two because the three work amazingly good as a trilogy.  While I can only name a handful of trilogies that really worked over the years, the quality and progressive darkness that this Batman has revealed in its three movies certainly makes this super hero the best crime fighter ever.
 
Of course constant commendable direction by Christopher Nolan for all three Batman films certainly doesn't hurt the franchise.  He even ramps this one up with multi-bat mobiles and a bat-copter.  His nicely placed CGI works here especially during the destruction of the bridges, a football field collapsing, tunnels caving and many other scenes too numerous to mention.  Nolan ignites the excitement in the very beginning then teases his audience with several skirmishes in between leading up to a huge explosive finale.
 
The skillful acting in The Dark Knight Rises makes each character work.  From Anne Hathaway's Catwoman to Tom Hardy's Bane, the new cast members make each of their roles better than those in other comic book based films released this year.  A sly cat burglar, Selena can move in the dark, swipe jewels and repel off tall buildings like a graceful ballerina.  And when it comes to being tough, even Batman takes her on as his sidekick while he battles the notorious Bane.  As for Hardy, the nasty character he produces makes any of the other adversaries in other movies this year look meek compared to the bullish Bane. Even with his face partially covered by breathing apparatus (reminded me of Darth Vader) you can still feel the burning looks that he creates.
 
There are several major twists that make the film intriguing. Just when you think Batman has his prey, something happens to change the situation.  In other scenes we find Batman has weaknesses that keep him captive.  Here Nolan borrows a few ideas from Batman Begins like his retreat into ‘darkness' to build his body to be a crime fighter.  Here it's a do or die situation in a pit where he hones his muscles and bones to rise above his captors.
 
I can't say enough about The Dark Knight Rises except that maybe this year it will finally be recognized by the Academy of Arts and Sciences and be chosen as one of the best films of 2012. Certainly Nolan deserves a nod for what he has accomplished, Cinematographer Wally Pfister who shot the film using an IMAX camera even more extensively than he did in the previous two, special effects artists Paul Franklin and Chris Corbould who give the audience a feel of what it would be like to feel crime machines taking to the streets creating havoc and a top notch performance by Christian Bale as the man who proved to be the best crime fighter behind a mask.
 
The advertising surrounding the film touts that "The Legend Ends," but the Batman legacy will never end.  For his fans, Nolan must dig into the abyss of his creative mind and come up with a fourth film that will fester another diabolical character that needs to be taken down.  Maybe it's time for ROBIN?  I feel that at the end of the run of The Dark Knight Rises it would be apropos for a Twitter campaign to Warner Brothers, Nolan, and Producer Emma Thomas to name a few to get their motors running.
  
The Dark Knight Rises has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.  The IMAX sound system shakes the auditorium seats from its high tech speakers during huge bomb blasts, roaring engines, collapsing bridges and many more scenes of ear wrenching power. For the best experience I recommend seeing the film in the IMAX format, but if you cannot afford the additional cost, make sure you get a good seat close to a speaker for added enjoyment.
 
FINAL ANALYSIS:  The best Batman (The Dark Knight) got better. (A)
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MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 165 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.

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About John Delia

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John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business over his lifetime from writing for newspapers to film making. He has been a film critic for many years and earned his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida. John is also a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) which is comprised of more than 40 journalists working in the print, radio and online media. Read more reviews and content by .

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