By Tyrannotaur Comments
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW
Now that I covered the two Marvel films, lets focus on the one DC film, The Dark Knight Rises
I am a fan of the first two Nolan Batman films, however I also like the two Burton films and didn't hate Batman Forever. As this is the last film in this series that Nolan was making, I was ready for anything. I was still blown away. Nolan doesn't disappoint, at least not for me. I do have some friends who I guess expected more and didn't get what they were hoping for. One friend even called the film "not good" which is his opinion, I respectfully disagree with it but that doesn't mean he is wrong or anything. Some critics also disliked or were let down by the movie, which again is their opinion.
Now as far as my opinion goes I felt the Dark Knight Rises fulfilled what it was supposed to do, which is provide a conclusion to the Nolan Batman films. Others may disagree, they have the right too. the film begins with Gotham celebrating "Harvey Dent Day" at Wayne Manor which looks to be fully rebuilt now. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, and no one has seen him in 8 years. Also the same goes for Batman. No one seems to notice the connection, but I'll suspend my disbelief. Commissioner Gordon is set to give a speech honoring Harvey Dent. He originally plans to out Dent as Two-Face, the homicidal maniac who tried to kill his son (I find it kind of ironic that James Jr. nearly is killed by a crazy person). Gordon can't bring himself to destroy the peace and hope that Batman gave to the city by framing himself, so he doesn't out Dent. I really enjoyed how the film is pretty much a direct follow up to TDK in that respect. Shortly after we are introduced to Selena Kyle, played by one of my favorite actresses Anne Hathaway. I never understood the hate people had towards Anne when she got the role. Frankly I was excited to see what she would do with the character. I'm guessing no one has seen her in some of her more demanding roles and only remembers her from The Princess Diaries or something like that. I feel she did a great job and was a good representation of what Selena would be in this universe. Selena goes and steals Martha Wayne's pearl necklace as well as Bruce's prints. She is obviously caught by Bruce and we get our first real glimpse of him. He has a cane which I guess is from an injury suffered in the last film. Selena escapes after flashing some of her feminine wiles. I really enjoyed how Catwoman was portrayed in this film. She comes off as cold and out for herself, and yet she clearly does have a heart as there is Holly Robinson present to show she does have compassion. I really enjoyed seeing her fight alongside Batman, that was a very cool scene and reminiscent of The Avengers. I agree that it shows a JLA movie would work.
We are then introduced to our main villain of Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Bane is a character I was familiar with, but didn't really know too well. After watching the 3 Minute Expert of him here on Comic Vine I am pleased to see how much they used from the actual comic character. I noticed that while they kept his massive strength intact, they removed the Venom aspect from his character. Sort of like how they removed the Lazarus pits from Ra’s al Ghul's. They do still incorporate the "venom tubes" into Bane's look but shrinks them down to oxygen tubes in his mask. It’s also cool how the mask keeps the lucadore look for him. I enjoyed Bane, however most of the time I couldn't understand him. That sort of took the menace out of him. Over the course of the film we are also introduced to Miranda Tate, played by Marion Cotillard and John Blake, play by Joseph Gordon-Levitt both of who are Nolan veterans from Inception. Miranda's role in the film was obvious to me and I did see the twist coming, more on that later, however Blake surprised me. Of the new characters he was one of my favorites. He uses his detective skills and experience with loss to deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman, something that I'm sure would piss the Riddler off a great deal. He is also the inspiration that gets Bruce back in the cowl. One of the great parts of the film is seeing Bane's plan unfold. The amount of strategy he employs is truly impressive and its no wonder he was consider to lead the league of shadows. Though the scene that truly stuck with me was the scene when Bane overpowers Batman. He is one step ahead of Batman the entire fight and all of Batman's tricks are useless to him. That truly showed the massive strength and skill of this man. When Bane then goes and breaks Batman over his knee it was a nice reference to the comics. One nitpick I did have was I'm not so sure simply popping a vertebrae back into place and then forcing yourself to stand over months would heal a back injury, but I'm not a spinal surgeon. Also after this fight Bane takes Bruce to a hole in some foreign country. I would have liked to see a shot of them on a plane or something just to establish the travel, simply teleporting there seems out of place. It’s a minor nitpick and doesn't affect my feelings of the film however. Bane buries all the cops under Gotham, blows up all the bridges except one and then takes the city under his rule. See him break into the Wayne Armor and gain access to the Tumblers was neat, though it was shown in many of the trailers and was to be expected when Bruce gives his whole stance on keeping the weapons out of the wrong hands. The new vehicle for this film is "the Bat" an aerial vehicle that looks like a Tumbler fornicated a helicopter. It has alot of cool scenes and becomes his main way travel in the movie after he gives Catwoman the Batpod, (which I still love the way it turns BTW). This foreshadowing of things in the wrong hands also comes into play with a fusion reactor. Bruce is afraid someone will turn the reactor into a weapon and so he never turns it on. I didn't quite understand why he never decommissioned it either, but perhaps he was waiting for a time when it would be used for good and not evil. Of course Bane turns it into a Nuke and threatens to blow up the city.
The film picks up when Bruce perseveres to recover from his brutal fight with Bane and make it back to Gotham. To do so he has to climb out of a hole in the ground, which is a nearly 100 foot climb. These sequences are inspiring to say the least. Each time he attempts it you are hoping he makes it. The first time he tired I remember thinking "of course he makes it" and then when he fails and falls I was so surprised. While in the prison we are treated to a cameo from Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul, which was a real treat to see. At first this had me questioning his death, but it’s revealed to be an illusion. Honestly I would have loved for it to be really him, but I am fine with the hallucination. There is another return of a character from a previous film with Dr. Crane AKA The Scarecrow. His scene is rather comical and over the top, but that suits him. I would have loved to see a hinting at the Joker escaping as well, but I guess they felt that'd be disrespectful. Also Bane freed those held in Blackgate, I don't recall him freeing those in Arkham Asylum, which is where I'm sure Joker is. Although I'd expect Dr. Crane to be in Arkham as well. When Batman returns to Gotham it’s a literal countdown to save the city from nuclear obliteration. In the conclusion we see Batman take down Bane with the help of the cops, and the reveal of the real mastermind. It is revealed that Miranda is actually Talia Al Ghul. I saw this coming as soon as she was introduced and Bruce and Fox put all their trust in her. Also knowledge of the character tipped me off to this. My friend that I went with was so surprised by this twist that he exclaimed "WHAT!?" in the theater. Throughout the film we are show bits and pieces of this story about a man whose wife was imprisoned for dishonoring his family by having relations with him and having a child with him. This woman was imprisoned in the same hole prison as Bruce was and Bane before him. It is constantly hinted at that Bane was the child and that he escaped when he was a child. This is all very similar to Bane's origins, however it is then revealed that the child is the offspring of Ra's Al Ghul, which clearly means that the child that escaped is in fact Talia. I did enjoy this twist and as my friend didn't see it coming it was nice to see the film has some big surprises for the lesser initiated. After Talia's betrayal Batman pursues her in the Bat, while Gordon tries to keep the bomb from exploding long enough for them to get it to Fox to disarm it. This chase reminds me alot of the one from The Dark Knight with the Joker Semi. In the end Bane is defeated, Talia is either killed or knocked out, Catwoman redeems herself, and Batman flies the bomb out into the bay where it can explode away from the city. I'd expect the fallout might still be a problem, but whatever, he saved the day. We are left thinking that Batman sacrificed himself, which would have been a fine conclusion to me, but I did enjoy them showing Bruce very much alive in the end and on vacation with Selena. We are also left with Blake unveiling his real name to be Robin and him finding the Batcave, presumably to become the next Batman ala Azrael or to become a Robin/Nightwing type hero.
Overall I felt it was a satisfying conclusion to the series. Batman Begins dealt with Batman's origins but also set up the league of shadows as the main threat to Batman. The Dark Knight showed Batman's progression and what occurs in response to a hero like Batman, the Joker. The Dark Knight Rises closed the series off with putting a permanent end to the League of Shadows and their plans to destroy Gotham. In doing so Bruce no longer needs to be Batman as he fulfilled the reason he took up being Batman in the first place. Saving Gotham. Sure other villains could still crop up but that's why we are left with Blake in the Batcave, it shows the city will have a new protector now that Bruce is done. Overall it was a great film and a good conclusion to the Batman Epic trilogy. I look forward to what’s next for Batman Film wise. I do hope it'll be a recast however. I don't want them to try and make a sequel off of this film.
With that I end my look at all the great super hero films of 2012. I loved them all but if I had to choose a favorite, I'd choose The Avengers. Dark Knight Rises would be second and Amazing Spider-man is my third. I hopefully will do this again next Year when we have Superman and Iron Man 3. Until then.