What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Posted July 25, 2012

Writer's note: Our thoughts go out to those involved and affected by the terrible shooting in Denver. Sadly this film will forever be linked to this horrible event. I wish all of those people the best.

For me the summer movie season is coming to a close. There are a handful of films coming out the rest of the summer I am interested in, but the ones that I was most excited for have come and gone. The last and arguably the most hyped, The Dark Knight Rises," came out this past weekend.

Before watching it, I commented to a friend that this summer had been one of the most disappointing for film in a while. From "Prometheus" to "Brave," most of the films just haven't lived up to what I wanted from them. I have to say that I feel the same way about “The Dark Knight Rises." It’s not bad by any means, but it doesn’t hold up to the previous two films like I was hoping.

Director/writer Christopher Nolan is back to complete his Batman trilogy and he brings back all of the faces from the previous films. Almost everyone from the previous movies turn up either in person or via a flashback.

Christian Bale has become comfortable as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Gary Oldman has taken Commissioner Gordon from a detective to the commissioner of the Gotham PD. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine return in supporting roles as Lucius Fox and Alfred. New to the cast are Tom Hardy as the menacing Bane, Anne Hathaway as the mysteries Catwoman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake a Gotham cop. There are a couple more additions I am not even mentioning because they could be considered spoilers.

While all of the actors/actresses give great performances, one of the problems I had with the movie was the overabundance of characters. Even with a run time of 2 hours 44 minutes, it’s just too much of a task to feel involved in all of the characters. Some of them disappear for long stretches of the film. Shortening the character list would have helped the film in my opinion.

All of the characters running around really jumbles up the story. The plot is the normal superhero fodder. Bad guys are trying to take over Gotham and Batman has to come out of retirement to stop them. While “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” had very tight storylines and flowed effortlessly from one scene to the next, “The Dark Knight Rises” feels stilted and choppy. The action jumps from place to place and things aren’t always as clearly defined. I found myself asking “why are those characters doing that?” and “How did that character get there?” on several occasions and it really took me out of the film.

The movie did look great. I saw the film in IMAX and was impressed by the wide shots of Gotham City but also by the tighter shots used during fight scenes and action sequences. Nolan knows his craft and pulls you in with menacing shots of Bane and brooding shots of Batman. Sadly, Bane and Batman get far less screen time than they should.

I have to admit that I am a huge Batman fan. I have read the comics since I was just old enough to read. The Tim Burton “Batman” film from 1989 is one of my favorite films of all time. So, I judge Batman movies rather harshly. I was amazed with what Nolan did with the first two films in his Batman trilogy. I feel that he tried to aim high with “The Dark Knight Rises.” In the end he came up a little short. It’s not a bad film but it does end up being the weakest of the three. Fans of the Nolan series, Batman and comic books in general should go see it.

To recap the whole trilogy here are my grades for all three films:

Batman Begins 4 of 5 stars
The Dark Knight 5 of 5 stars
The Dark Knight Rises 3 of 5 stars


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  • kennywalters Jul 27, 2012

    This seems to be a fair review of the film and one I would mostly agree with. The overall rating is pretty close to what I and one of my friends gave it. It is not a bad film, but people shouldn't expect it to be The Dark Knight at all. It is a bit closer to Batman Begins though probably a step behind. I myself graded it 3.5 out of 5 (we actually used a 10 pt scale so I'm dividing my 7/10 in half). My friend graded 6/10 which equates to this review. I wouldn't discourage people from going to see it. I didn't feel like my money was wasted and ultimately that is the deciding factor for me on a film.

    As to those talking about showing this to children, this series of movies has been dark. That's the way Batman is largely written in the comic now and it has been that way for a couple of decades at least. Other than about a 20-25 year period beginning with the popularity of the Adam West starred Batman TV series, Batman has been dark. In the 40s, Batman actually used guns.

  • UpChuck Jul 26, 2012

    Or not law, but rather the Hays code.

  • UpChuck Jul 26, 2012

    I was 4. Star Wars was pretty dark and violent in some sequences. PG 13 = Parental Guidance for 13 and below...sounds like they followed the law.

  • eb2cents Jul 26, 2012

    I don't remember Star Wars being that dark and violent. Btw, how old were you when you saw it? I'm guessing this flick has a PG-13 rating for a reason. "A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category. "

  • UpChuck Jul 26, 2012

    My parents took me to see Star Wars; what's the difference? Should children be simply banished to cartoons and kid friendly movies?

  • eb2cents Jul 25, 2012

    Why would anyone take a child (under 13 yo) to see this movie? It's dark, violent, and has a rating of PG-13. Please share - I'm open-minded and curious.