THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

THE STORY: Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham’s finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy. (via IMDb)

THE WORD: Before I start this review, to avoid anyone calling me a “biased critic” or just a strict “art-house enthusiast”, I would like to note that I think Batman Begins is a good film, and that Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight is a triumph. Now, onto The Dark Knight Rises. It’s hard for me to believe that this is a film by the same team that has brought us the past two Batman installments. As I said, I thought Batman Begins was a good film, and even though I didn’t care much for The Dark Knight at all - besides Ledger’s performance - the pacing was still well done, and the film managed to host a large cast and plot without ever becoming too convoluted. The Dark Knight Rises fails in nearly every area though, tarnishing everything that made the trilogy as “prestigious” as it has become. I remember watching Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and buying into the so-called “gritty realism” that Nolan was able to fit in to his films. Rises fails to convey any of this “gritty realism” making most of its sets and events cinematic conjectures or mere ideas that fail to capture any real substance. The plot of The Dark Knight Rises is no secret, and for the sake of others I’ll keep this review spoiler free (for the most part, nothing major though). The story is bold, and grand in both its vision and scale. Spanning months and utilizing various “climatic” sequences, the story eventually folds upon itself. It’s so horribly constructed and paced, that the entire last hour seems like one big rushed montage. Giving no focus really to anything, and somehow manages to rush everything, while still failing to entertain. I was hoping for an attention grabber at least, but the fact of the matter is that this is the same story we’ve seen twice before now. Batman becomes prevalent, villain shows up, villain describes how Gotham must be “cleansed” or some other awful monologue, Batman saves the day. And without attempting to give away too much, I feel that given the supposed ending at first, much is lost through a poor twist (in fact, all the twists in this film are so lame and anticlimactic that they could be deemed “Shaymalayan”). Onto the technical side of things. The sound design and visual effects here are great as always. Technically, the film is sound except for its score. Zimmer fails to create a moody undertone like he did in Nolan’s previous endeavor, Inception. The manipulation of Edith Piaf mixed with Zimmer’s own composition made for a fantastic score that set both mood and atmosphere. A massive cast is nothing new for The Dark Knight Rises. However, unlike its predecessor, it fails miserably in managing them. No real emotional resonance is found in this film, and with such potentially potent moments involving Alfred and Bruce, it’s sad to see the film miss so many marks. The attention to character development, relationships, and arcs is so poor that even Batman is misused to the extent of putting him through the same arc twice. That’s right, we watch Batman become stagnant and then rise miraculously twice in the same goddamn film. Guess it’s no surprise the film coins the term ‘Rises’, huh? Performances are hit and miss here as well. Levitt’s character is by far the most interesting of the bunch, and at times the only one I really cared about. Catwoman is eye candy and is sure to please fan boys, but in the end, her role could have been filled by any sidekick with a dark side. And then there’s Bane. Oh, Bane, you could have been so great, yet for whatever reason the brains behind TDKR decided to make him into one of the most underwhelming villains. Literally ending his powerful play in the most unsatisfying of ways. Regardless of all the aforementioned, the one aspect of TDKR that truly pissed me off the most was the lack of any real logic. Plot holes are nothing new and are mostly overlook-able in films such as this, but it’s to the point of irritation that these miscues irk. All of a sudden, multiple people know Batman’s real identity, Wayne travels miles to return to Gotham, unscathed, groomed, and knows exactly where to find Catwoman, etc., etc., the list goes on. Of course, many people will find these grievances to be “pointless” or “overly critical”, but me? I just find them to be prime examples of a failure at film making. The Dark Knight Rises will go on to be nominated for awards, and will be regarded as one of the “best films of all time” concluding one of the “best trilogies of all time” according to the internet populous as well. That sucks. Because in all honesty and fairness, - because I really did give this film a chance - The Dark Knight Rises is an absolutely terrible, terrible film.

THE VERDICT: 24/100

INFO: Christopher Nolan | USA | 2012 | 1.44:1 | 164min

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