Movie Review: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Spoilers)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises

Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Story by David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne, The Batman), Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle), Tom Hardy (Bane), Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox)

 

Eight years have passed since Jim Gordon and the Batman lied to save the city of Gotham.

They conspired to a grand deception, lionizing the physically and mentally corrupt Harvey Dent. A white knight for a weary world. In doing so, they agreed to cast the Batman as his dark reflection, not only culpable of Dent’s murder, but of his heinous final acts. We left Bruce Wayne bleeding and broken, fleeing from dogs and sirens. The Batman went into hiding, gone but hardly forgotten. Jim Gordon became the custodian of a tragic legend, summoned time and again to stoke the flames. After a long and storied crusade for truth, Gotham’s best cop has become a professional liar. Galvanized by Dent’s apparent martyrdom, Gotham cracked down on organized crime, filling its prisons to bursting. Peering out on the world from his stately, if moldering manor, Bruce Wayne manages to excuse his lie, to justify his complacency. Gotham is no longer a sanctuary for mobsters and madmen. The only shred of the Batman this new world needs is his shadow and nothing more. Bruce Wayne has made a mausoleum of his home and resolves to die a little more each day.

But then comes a cat forecasting a storm.

Cool and composed, Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle purloins her every scene. Though she delights in one-liners and never hesitates to flaunt her gymnastic prowess for dramatic effect, this Catwoman shrugs the flamboyance of previous incarnations in favor of cunning and guile. If she’s borrowed anything from the Newmars and Pfeiffers of TV and films past, it’s the feral intensity (unhindered by purring or nuzzling or hissing) and not the taste for live canaries. And, okay, maybe a little of the sashay. She’s maybe the sultriest harbinger of economic collapse since Hoover went with the blue tie. If anything, her composure and conviction actually make Bale’s Batman register as campy in comparison. In a case of staggering irony and even a little youthful arrogance, Catwoman along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s valiant John Blake, walk off with Batman’s own movie.

Back to that storm.

Reprising themes from Batman Begins, this third film in the cycle recalls the League of Shadows and the legacy of Bruce’s old nemesis Ra’s al Ghul. The plan back then was to obliterate the capitalistic blight of Gotham, viewed by the League as a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Bruce would’ve sooner turned into a pillar of salt than watch that happen, so he renounced his League membership (and cassock) in favor of the now iconic cape and cowl. But the League’s efforts did not die with Ra’s in that train crash. His heir literally crawled out of a hole in the world to ensure that the plan could come to fruition. Yes, Gotham seems sunnier these days, but discontent remains. While the major crime families have been rounded up and tucked away in Blackgate, corruption still manages to fester a little higher up in the food chain. Portrayed here as a world-class cat burglar living modestly in Old Town, Selina Kyle despises the uber-wealthy. That makes her extracurricular activities all the more fulfilling. Reflecting modern concerns of villainy on a corporate level, DKR positions many of its bad seeds on the board of Wayne Enterprises and presents a hostile takeover on the floor of the Gotham stock exchange. Grounding the film like this offers a sense of timeliness that might alienate some audiences as it nibbles precariously close to some raw nerves. It’s going to make for a fascinating time capsule though. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, yeah?

Selina’s promised storm arrives in town on the shoulders of a mercenary terrorist called Bane. He comes to us in a shroud, and though we chip away at his mystery throughout our time with him, we manage only fissures in that steely veneer. He’s a survivor, we know. He’s merciless and demanding. As with so many annihilators, he comes from obscurity and speaks with the kind of charisma that shepherds weak men, contentedly, to their deaths. Like Ledger’s Joker, Hardy offers a deeply eccentric performance. Combined with his imposing physique and mysterious Vader-wear mouth piece, that piercing, unplaceable vocalization makes for an unforgettable presence. While his introduction in the film’s prologue isn’t nearly as playful or surprising as the Joker’s, Bane insinuates himself as a major threat capable of spectacular mayhem.

Speaking of mayhem…

Here, Christopher Nolan engages in his boldest spectacle yet, leveling Gotham with a series of devastating explosions, creating something like a No Man’s Land. It’s an ambitious scenario, made all the more staggering by Nolan’s larger-than-life knack for staging and photographing scenes of disaster amidst his totally grounded portrayal of Gotham. Though tonally grand, Nolan’s films forego the hyperbolic aesthetic of past Batman films or even this summer’s Marvel’s The Avengers. Especially in this chapter–perhaps due to the daylight–Gotham presents as a real city cast into a traumatic terror plot. That makes the calamity all the more real, all the more tense. A football stadium becomes center stage. A world away in a cavernous prison, Bruce watches in mounting horror as bridges collapse. As hanged men dangle high above the streets. Heaps of cars blockade exits out of the city. Given the circumstances, this looks like a filmmaker closing out his tour with a little scorched earth. To be sure, Nolan didn’t just make three Batman movies or even one Batman movie and two sequels. He made a trilogy, and it arrives with a satisfying conclusion, an end to the Batman story. Even on its own, this third film greatly benefits from its nearly three-hour running time. Not only does Bruce undergo a lengthy recovery from his fight with Bane (a fairly short section of the movie’s duration that manages to feel just long enough), but we also see a months-long hostage situation encompassing all of Gotham. It makes the Arkham Asylum breakout at the climax of Batman Begins feel downright paltry, both in size and in level of realism.

Hans Zimmer accompanies each rise and fall with tremendous themes in a score channeled straight from Hell. It’s monstrous and relentless when it needs to be. Often, it’s tenuous and haunting. It’s the aural expression of waiting for a storm–smelling it on the air–then being swept up by it. It’s a remarkably pure representation of dread.

As interesting and as tragic as Bruce’s journey is, the real glimmer of hope arrives with a young cop named John Blake. With the Batman otherwise engaged through much of the film, Blake is our man on the street. He doesn’t have the resources Bruce does. He doesn’t have the stature he needs to really get as much accomplished as he’d want. But he’s a scrappy little bastard, with intense passion for the people of Gotham. And the kid’s smart too. Likely a better detective in the making than Gordon or, hell, Bruce. Many will begrudge Blake’s story as a distraction from a relatively anemic Batman plot, but that’s missing the point of this massive, ensemble saga. Nolan made an ambitious play to tell a Gotham story with multiple protagonists, each diversely affected by their brushes with the Bat.

Though not a mark against the film, it’s unfortunate that the final villainous turn is unlikely to surprise large sections of the audience, largely due to close analysis of the casting information months in advance of the theatrical release. Even still, it’s a fun puzzle to piece together and made for a poetic completion of the circuit.

And yeah, it feels like an ending. Which is exceedingly difficult to imagine in this realm of superhero movies. But it happened!

In Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Neil Gaiman offered a masterful defense of Batman’s impossible longevity and ability to reinvent himself, like a folk hero, with the times. I’ll always be taken with that treatise on the paradoxical nature of myth as both malleable and everlasting. But if you’re going to put a bow on the Batman story, Nolan’s solution is downright elegant. From the evolution of the Batman legend from nightmare to dark knight to savior. To Alfred’s holiday fantasy realized. To the fate of Wayne Manor. To an orphan venturing into a cave and then ascending to heights we’ll never know. It’s satisfying. Really satisfying. And it ends with what might be the biggest wish fulfillment scene imaginable.

Legends can die. Legends die all the time. Try as we might, we can’t bottle up an echo forever. Legacies though? Legacies have staying power. If you make the right connections.

4.5 Stars

(Out of 5)

Comments

  1. That’s nice and everything Paul, but I wanna know what Conor thought. ;)

  2. stuclach stuclach says:

    Exceptionally well written review. Good work.

    I really enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s role. He added something substantial to the film. I also felt the ending was nice. I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as you (not quite enough Batman being awesome for my taste), but it was certain a very, very good film.

  3. Limitless Limitless says:

    As great as this movie was, and it was great, I honestly think I enjoyed reading this review more than watching the movie. Beautifully written piece.

  4. Gabe Gabe says:

    dark knight rises blew me away. as expected

    it was silly. it was such a sort of classic awesome batman story. you had the scarecrow on top of a big pile of desks with hay sticking out of his shoulder. and it was awesome

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Ah, I forgot to mention that great set. It’s one of the most fanciful ideas in the trilogy. It’s something you’d expect from a Harry Potter or Tim Burton set, but it’s such a good representation of how far gone society in Gotham is at that point. I love it.

    • DocDoom DocDoom says:

      It was a great nod to the animated series, and I loved that part. Do you think, if Ledger was alive, it would have been Joker up there? Methinks so.

  5. lifesend lifesend says:

    Nice review. I look forward to the Fuzzy Typewriter podcast discussion, and iFanboy’s, of course. For my money, this is the most successful superhero trilogy to date. I have a few problems with the execution of the film, but it really is a satisfying conclusion and it makes me really want a Robin movie now. Too bad we won’t get it.

  6. MarkBiz MarkBiz says:

    Excellent review, Paul. I absolutely loved the movie. I completely agree that this movie unified the previous two and made everything feel like one epic Batman story. The Joker was never mentioned by name, but his effect on Batman and Gotham loomed over the entire film. Nolan’s use of Bane was fantastic and inserting him into the League of Shadows was a brilliant way to tie everything together. Every character had something to do and it all felt important. When the credits started rolling i felt completely satisfied, both for this one film and for the entire story told throughout the trilogy. The focus on the legacy of Batman what he stands for creates a feeling of a larger world with many more stories to tell. What we saw was only the beginning, Gotham lives on and so does Batman.

    What happened in Colorado is incredibly sad and tragic for many reasons, the very least of which is the black cloud that hangs over Dark Night Rises. Movies are meant to be enjoyed and at their best, they give people a place to escape their everyday lives’ for a short time. It feels strange discussing and celebrating something that is so closely linked to a real life tragedy. I think there is a way to treat what happened with the respect it deserves, but separate it from the movie that happened to be playing when it happened. A monster blindly and brutally killed people, and he deserves to be hated and punished. Innocent people died leaving loved ones behind, and they deserve to be mourned and their loved ones deserve our support and sympathy. Also, Christopher Nolan made an excellent movie and he deserves our praise and we deserve to be able to enjoy and discuss it. We can’t let a murderous monster take that away too.

  7. markavo markavo says:

    The ending was perfect as Levitt rose to become the next Batman. It really tied well into the reality of being Batman. Wayne was nearly crippled by his short run as the Bat. It only makes sense in a “realistic” setting that many would be “code named” Batman.

    I’ve always wanted the Batman story to move in that kind of direction. In a way, Batman Beyond did that. This was much more the “wish fulfillment” ending that I’ve always wanted and was probably my favorite part of the entire film.

    • JSAkid JSAkid says:

      LIkewise, I liked the ending better than the whole movie, which is important and it did have some other moments that really were cool when I reflect, I think it warrants a 2nd viewing but thought being the conclusion to an epic trilogy of this caliber that its friework climax moments felt more like smoke bombs. Bats n Bane should’ve had knock down drag em out 15 min long onscreen battles where Bats was all tore up and bloody by the time he defeats Bane in the 2nd fight by being a better fighter and also think he should’ve pulled out all the stops on gadgets in saving the city but winning the physical fight with his fighting skills and maybe his utility belt. It was obviously setting up for the legacy in a realistic way and that is smart, so good things still to come but if its the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman he deserved a bigger and better send off.

    • JSAkid JSAkid says:

      firework climax moments not frieworks,lol.

  8. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    Great review, Paul.

    Bump…Bump…Bump

    Since you mentioned it here, I just gotta say how much I love the idea that in Bruce’s absence, Wayne Manor becomes a home for wayward orphans. It’s such a wonderful way to include Bruce’s need to help young victims wihtout falling into any of the potentially creepy pitfalls. I thought it was brilliant.

    Can’t say I agree that JGL and Hathaway stole the focus off Bale/Wayne. I thought they both did a wonderful job, but I feel that Bale did some of his finest character work in the trilogy with this final chapter. He showed range that was strangely absent in his previous appearances as Wayne, and the return of the focus on Bruce was one of my favorite parts about the whole film. I think this is just as much Batman’s movie as Begins was. Something that was missing from Dark Knight.

    But you’re right; when it comes to performance, the entire cast deserves nothing but praise. This was the best ensemble in a trilogy that has already boasted two great ensembles.

    Like you said, it felt like an ending. And that’s all I really wanted; for Nolan and co. to hit me one last time. I truly feel that it was the best ending we could’ve gotten. The strange mixed feelings of loss and excitement that I’ve felt since I left the theater is proof that, for me, the movie struck all the right chords.

  9. JSAkid JSAkid says:

    It was a smart film but needed more Bats n Bane dragging it out in gripping fights at least twice 15 mins long outta a 3hr film where Bane wins the 1st and Bats the 2nd by being a smarter fighter but they had em fight twice and they both seemed too short.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      “Dragging it out” or “duking it out”? ;)

      It’s a tricky one. We did get two Batman/Bane brawls, one in the sewer and the other on the urban battlefield. Different outcomes because of new knowledge and experience. I’m sure many would have liked more such scenes or for those sequences to have been longer, and that’s totally fair. I kind of looked at the movie more as a crime film or thriller, so I didn’t mind so much that the superhero elements took a back seat here.

    • cahubble09 cahubble09 says:

      More Bats vs Bane would have been boring. What has made this triptych so wonderful (and earned The Dark Knight an Academy Award nomination) has been the complexity and sophistication of the entire tableau. Taken together, these three films, it seems to me, have been as much a meditation on the archetypal relationships between chaos (as a proxy for freedom) and order, and the responsibility or role of the citizen as anything else (and Nolan, BTW, has given me a new homework assignment in the process, since he apparently stated in an interview that Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities served as part of his inspiration for DKR). There were more plot threads woven together in this film than viewers may recognize–I think at least partly because the final tapestry was so coherent. To turn this into a Bats vs Bane, Rocky-style slugfest would have cheapened the final product.

    • powerdad powerdad says:

      I was just wondering about a Tale of Two Cities and it’s connection to the film. Now I really do need to re-read the story.

  10. degree degree says:

    We’re cool for spoilers here, right?

    I know it doesn’t really matter, and it would have ruined the surprise at the end and put all sorts of expectations on the character/story, but the pedantic nerd inside me would have liked for JGL’s character to be named Dick Grayson. Still, pretty fantastic movie.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Yeah, we’re cool for spoilers here.

      Bump bump.

      Personally, I was hoping it’d be Tim. But either way, a great character and a great alternative take on a Robin.

    • markavo markavo says:

      I’m hoping DC makes an “else worlds” book about JGL’s “Robin” character taking up the cowl. I’m probably in the minority on that though.

    • lifesend lifesend says:

      @markavo You can count me there with you. It would fit nicely with their digital first initiative.

    • Limitless Limitless says:

      @markavo I hadn’t even thought of that, it would be a cool mini.

    • tripleneck tripleneck (@tripleneck) says:

      If he was named ____ (I don’t want to spoil), then the surprise wouldn’t be as effective. I don’t mind a simple name change. The end really felt justified for his character based on his actions. That’s what Nolan does so well. Show not tell.

    • Etboo Etboo says:

      Blake really isn’t that far from Drake.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Just as long as his name wasn’t Jean-Paul. Seriously though. Name’s just icing. The character and performance made it.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      When he said something like, “Oh try my legal name,” in that split second I was sure it was going to be like John Blake Grayson or something. I was SURE!

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Agreed with Conor…

      bumpy bump

      I was holding my breath for Grayson. As much as I adore Tim, it would’ve felt good to get Dick in there first and foremost. And the fact that JGL sort of looks like him, probably affected my subconscious. I’ll just be imaging him as Dick Grayson, no harm in that.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Wow that totally failed, I guess space doesn’t help. So people should say things and such.

    • RahUniQue RahUniQue says:

      markavo : I would agree with you, too. I’d enjoy reading a John Blake tale or two.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      I also thought John Blake seemed more Tim Drake-ish than Dick Grayson-ish. That bit where Blake explains how he figured out that Wayne was Batman… pure Tim Drake.

    • stuclach stuclach says:

      I’d read that book.

    • cahubble09 cahubble09 says:

      John Blake felt to me like an amalgam of both Grayson and Drake (although the Blake/Drake similarity didn’t escape me either): on the one hand he was an orphan like Bruce, but on the other his introduction to Bruce involved him showing up at Wayne Manor having already solved the mystery of who Batman really was. This character contained a bit of both origins, if memory serves me correctly.

      That line near the end of the film reminded me of meeting Neal Adams recently at Mile High Comics. I’d purchased a print he signed of Robin, and I asked him was it Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, or Tim Drake. He looked at me and said with a wink of his eye, “it’s Robin.”

  11. Outstanding review, Paul. Fantastically written!

  12. Ollywood Ollywood says:

    It’s been 10 hours since the showing i saw ended and i’ve spent most of fhat time discussing the movie with my mate who i saw it with in a couple of pubs. I’m gonna watch it again as soon as i can book another imax ticket. My thoughts are (after one viewing): it was a satisfying ending, i love that it had elements of knightfall, dark night returns and no man’s land, anne hathaway was way better than i thought she’d be, i love that it tied so nicely into batman begins and that the e movie never seemed long.

    When batman first turned up on the batpod and all the lights went out in tunnel and the cop said to his partner that he was in for a show; i got goosebumps.

    Honestly, i’m a little drunk and i’m trying to adequately convey how much i loved this movie. Basically, my biggest disappointment was that i expected a ‘man of steel’ trailer and didn’t get one. Was there one for american showings?

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I got a Man of Steel teaser at my IMAX screening. Not the full thing from Comic-Con, but a little appetizer.

      Right there with ya on the goosebumps during the chase scene. What do we think that was, like an hour into the movie? No complaints here. I think the delay worked in its favor.

    • Ollywood Ollywood says:

      Damn it! This always happens in the UK. We always get screwed on the good trailers… Oh well., the Skyfall trailer was pretty good.

      As much as i used to associate the danny elfman score with batman , i now do more so with the hans zimmer score. The music when he first turned up was significant in the creation of my goosebumps.

      God, i want to watch it again. RIGHT NOW! (unfortunately it’s 1:30am here)

    • ludusmaximus ludusmaximus says:

      Also got goosebumps during chase scene appearance. Also when he walks into the light out on the ice and then “Light it up” or whatever he says.

      And then when Gordon asks who Batman is, and Batman says the line about a hero being someone who puts their coat around the shoulder of a little boy so he can feel a little more like the world isn’t ending. I don’t remember the specifics of the line, but my heart dropped and my eyes teared up. It was the perfect ” Im going to reveal my identity by being really cryptic”, like the what I do that defines me from Begins.

    • @ludusmaximus Just last week when I was re-watching Beings I mentioned to my wife how great and special the scene is when Gordon puts his coat on Bruce. Also maybe one of my favorites scenes. Right at that moment in Rises when Bruce said that my head immediately flew back onto the headrest (I had been sitting up for most of that last hour) because it felt like I had been shot. She noticed right away how I almost lost it and put her hand on my shoulder.

  13. mrcozdude mrcozdude (@mrcozdude) says:

    I was disappointed guys…..I’m sorry.

    • No reason to apologize. Not everybody has the same tastes. EVerybody freaks out over Goodfellas, which is a movie that did nothing for me. It’s all good :)

  14. NOK NOK says:

    After reading your review I don’t want to ready any one else’s. You sir are a man of bats. I totally cried, what can I say my best friend is an orphan so I know about the pain and anger that she goes through and she is still an amazing person, with issues yes, but amazing.

    About the Robin thing, I think that in the NolanBatverse there are going to be many future Batman and Robins beneath Wayne Manor, and they will never die.

  15. I enjoyed a lot of this movie, but it seemed that the themes were not logically integrated. Perhaps a regular Batman comic reader (which I am not) would have seen the connections. On the one hand, we have Thalia’s revenge, and on the other, a warning against economic inequality, but they did not appear to have anything to do with each other. Is the League of Shadows anti-capitalist? I don’t remember that from the first movie. Bane and Thalia want to punish the rich, but then they want to kill everyone in Gotham while presumably committing suicide themselves. To what end? What, exactly is the statement that Thalia intends to make? Having said that, the dialogue is superb. Yes, Catwoman gets the best, and most thought provoking, lines. I also thought Alfred had some wonderfully moving scenes. The end of the film sets the stage beautifully for the next installment in the story, which will evidently have to be carried out by a different director and writers.

    • I had to think hard and remind myself what the League of Shadows wanted in the first movie, because I hadn’t seen it in a while. They believed Gotham was decadent and corrupt, but there never seemed anything explicitly anti-capitalist in their motives — after all, they were training Bruce Wayne, a billionaire, to act as their agent. The first movie also stated that they had used economics as a means to destroy Gotham in the past and were largely responsible for its poverty and decay in the present. It seems really implausible that Bane and Talia are using economic inequality as a call to revolution when their own organization caused said inequality in the first place — maybe it would make sense if they were just cynically manipulating people and destroying Gotham was their only end goal, but we’re given every indication that they believe what they’re preaching.

      That’s one of the things that felt really unpleasant about this movie: The use of Occupy Wall Street imagery and phrases when what Nolan really wants to talk about is terrorism. Regardless of what people feel about Occupiers, creating a story that thematically lumps them in with al-Qaeda just seems really misguided and cynical on Nolan’s part. If Bane had nothing to do with the League, and this movie stood on its own plot- and theme-wise from the first movie, I’d like it a lot more. As it is, I’m just confused about what it’s trying to say.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      @kingdomofevan: This film of course being finished filming MONTHS before Occupy Wall Street began. Not to mention the script was finished in 2010, over a YEAR before the first Occupy protest.

      And let’s also not forget the ideology was FAKE. Bane and Talia never intended to give the city back to the people or to punish the rich. That was never their ultimate goal. In the end their goal was the destruction of Gotham, the reducing of the entire city and all its people to ash. The bomb was always going to go off and kill EVERYONE. The whole liberator, people’s revolution, was just a way to throw the city into chaos to cause Batman to suffer. And let’s think about that. The so called Occupy movement gets what it wants, the rich are punished and the financial system is destroyed. What happens? Total chaos. Food shortages, no power, no gas for cars or homes, no clean water, people are afraid to even leave their homes.

      If you actually dig into the plot of this film and how it relates to the themes presented, if anything this film seems to condem the Occupy movement, not glorify it. Besides, in the end, those in the film who are the so called representatives of the Occupy movement, Bane and his army, are defeated! They fail! So how does this film support the Occupy movement or philosophy!?! How in any way!?!?

    • lifesend lifesend says:

      @USPUNX Actually, the filming and OWS movement were concurrent. I remember, because I work in that area. Nolan actually wanted to film OWS, but then decided against it because he didn’t want to cheapen the movement.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      @lifesend: True that the last month of filming happened during the very first Occupy Wall Street protests but that’s all. It also doesn’t change the fact that the script was completed in 2010.

      Also, as far as I know none of the filming was done in NYC so how could he have filmed the protests? Can you link to an article where Nolan talks about considering filming them?

    • lifesend lifesend says:

      @USPUNX This was the quickest link I could find.
      http://celebcomely.blogspot.com/2011/11/celeb-news-christopher-nolan-batman.html
      And there were scenes shot in NYC, such as the end battle between the cops and Bane’s thugs. It was filmed right on Wall Street. I agree with everything else you said. I think the film captures the current zeitgeist, hence the similarities.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      Thanks for posting that link, I actually had missed all that somehow. Anyway, I looked at the themes of the film as more a coincidence with the Occupy movement. I mean clearly the financial situation in the US and Europe right now is pretty grim so I took the similarities to be more of a reflection of the times than a concerted effort to reflect the Occupy ethos in the film. Also, as I stated above, I found the film to condem the Occupy movement as much as support it. Either way this was a very interesting film and one that I have liked more and more the more I talk and think about it.

    • lifesend lifesend says:

      @USPUNX I’m not exactly sure if the film condemns OWS. Before going further, like you said, I don’t think the film is a commentary on OWS and we should take all such commentary with a grain of salt. Having said that, I would think that the OWS ideology failed in the film because it was hijacked and manipulated by the League of Shadows. Remember some of the worry that OWS would be co-opted by the Democratic Party, essentially ruining and contradicting the spirit of the movement? The film could be condemning such tactics by more powerful groups, while not condemning OWS itself.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      Also a very good point. As I have thought about the film more and more since seeing it last night I have realized it is much more complex than I thought when I initially left the theater. It is clearly the most thematically complex film of the series. The way you paint it is very interesting, a cautionary tale about letting movements with good intentions be co-opted by larger groups and used in ways that truly contradict the original purpose. When I walked out of it last night I really liked it but thought TDK was better. After having spent last night talking with friends and today talking on here I’d say they are about even in my head. I really need to see this again.

    • Catwoman makes some of the most bitter comments about income inequality, and she is not a part of a movement. Furthermore, she prospers in the end, getting her pearls and her guy. I particularly like her line about how she doesn’t build herself up by standing on the shoulders of people who have less than she does.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      So whats the lesson from Catwoman? Don’t work hard just take what you want no matter who gets hurt? She sells out Gotham to Bane for purely selfish reasons, knowing how bad Bane and his group really are, just because she wants the clean slate program. She is willing so sell out the entire city and all of its people only to benefit herself. Not really someone I’d look to for how to live my life.

  16. itsbecca itsbecca says:

    My new license plate: JGL 4EVR

  17. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    As you may have noticed in my review, I’m a big fan of people referring to him as “The Batman” or “The Bat” rather than “Batman.” I’ve always liked that aspect of the character as an urban legend. Like the Moth Man or the Jersey Devil. It’s a little thing, but I love that they embraced it in these movies.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      Me too.

    • kzap kzap says:

      You read my mind, I feel the exact same way, in fact I made the same point in my (rather long) reaction to the film I posted on facebook.

      “…I’ve never thought of Nolan’s Batman series as superhero films. To me they’re crime thrillers, that happen to feature a vigilant dressed as like a bat.
      But this film is the least super hero-y and comic book-y of them all.
      Part of that is that it features two of the most grounded characters from Batman’s rouges gallery and Nolan went for a very realistic take on both of them.
      Much like the character in the previous film they don’t really use the “superhero/supervillain” names even Batman himself is more often refereed to as “the bat man”, Scarecrow is mostly refereed to as Jonathan Crane, I guess the exception to the rule is The Joker.
      I don’t think Selina Kyle was ever referred to as Catwoman once in the entire film. For me the tone of series wouldn’t work if characters kept referring to each other as Catwoman, Two-Face and Scarecrow with a straight face…”

      I was corrected by someone who pointed out she is called Catwoman (or the cat woman) once at the dance which puts her with Jonathan Crane and Harvey Dent who’s ‘super-villain’ names are only mentioned in passing.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      Seconded.

      Or … fourthed.

    • Runaway13 says:

      I live near the place where Moth Man was supposedly spotted.

    • ato220 ato220 says:

      That reminds me of the scene in Begins when Crane calls him ‘the Batman’. Extra creepy.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      @ato220 – That’s maybe my favorite moment from Begins.

  18. Arvind says:

    I thought it was incredible. It’s hard to say which is the best one of the three. I think Dark Knight is going to take it though. I personally love all of them, they all feel like they are in the same universe, but still feel very different. This has to be one of the finest, if not the finest trilogy ever. I like how Nolan integrates the mythos yet still makes something unique. Not to make this an avengers vs Dark Knight sort of the thing, but I just personally prefer this style of filmmaking. There is a real sense of urgency in the way Nolan does things, while the Marvel movies have real sense of formula and an inevitable win for the heros(NOt to discount it, Still fucking loved those movies). I feel Nolan gives us something very special, something very unique. I think people went into this movie and thinking they knew how the movie was going to be, and Nolan still had a lot of surprises.

    By the way, when Bats gave Bane the “Permission to Die” line did anyone besides me want get up from his chair and say fuck ya?!?

    Also, how cool was the Superman trailer? I thought it looked great.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Oh man I thought that line was awful. Maybe I’m just a big serious jerk, but all the bat lines that got laughs rang as terribly cheesy to me. It was one of the (few) things I disliked about the film.

      But I’m glad it appealed to someone.

    • Arvind says:

      Well….I am the only who mentioned it…..so maybe it’s just me. So maybe you’re not a jerk, and I am an immature kid. I make no apologies for liking cheesy tough guy one liners……although…..I didn’t think it was cheesy.

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      I spent most of the Man of Steel trailer thinking DC/WB had been lying to everyone and had actually made an Aquaman movie. Nothing in that–well, apart from the actual shot of Superman flying, of course–said “Superman” to me.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I thought the Man of Steel teaser was very cool. Loved the look and tone of the footage. The flying footage reminded me of Chronicle.

  19. tomistommy tomistommy says:

    Eh, it was pretty alright in my opinion, but I’m, like, 1 of the 2 people in the world that thinks Batman Begins is the best in the series.

    Someone needs to tell Hans Zimmer to reel it in on the fucking music, though. When you literally cannot hear dialog because the music is so goddamn loud and upfront in the sound mix, you got problems. Don’t know if anyone else had that problem, but that seems to be a constant issue with him. Had the same issue with Inception.

    Overall, it was a quality film with a few nit picky problems.

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      That’s not Hans Zimmer’s fault, it’s the…whatever the official title for the sound mixer on a movie is.

      His scores do tend to be inappropriately bombastic in places, though. I think the funniest example being in Dark Knight when Bruce & Alfred are on the boat with the ballerinas and the music that’s going sounds like he should be fighting or something.

    • tomistommy tomistommy says:

      It’s probably a factor of both, I think. Zimmer always does super bombastic, over the top scores, and then who ever is the sound engineer that Nolan uses always makes it super loud.

      I kind of come from the school of thought of the soundtrack is best when you don’t notice it. It should complete and enhance what is happening on screen, not over power it.

      Yeah, I remember the scene you’re talking about. It sounds like he should be suiting up and getting ready for war, and Bruce is just chillin’ with some champagne haha.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I don’t remember noticing it in the first two films but you are spot on about the score in this one. I didn’t mind the bombastic nature of it but the fact that it drowned out dialogue on several occasions was annoying.

      The Dark Knight is one of my favorite scores of all time.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      @tomistommy: You’re not alone in your Begins love. I’m with you brother.

    • Andrew Andrew says:

      I like them all, but I think I like Batman Begins the best, too.

    • I definitely liked Batman Begins more than Dark Knight. I have only seen Dark Knight Rises the one time so far, but I definitely like it more than Dark Knight, and possibly more than Batman Begins. After the “new” wears off, I’ll have to see if Begins goes back on the top of my list.

    • Word up! Turn that music down and let these people talk, for God’s sake! Can’t you see they’re trying to save Gotham?!

    • It was awesome how there was no music at all during the first fight between Batman and Bane. Made it that much more intense when you saw Bane lift him up and drop him on his knee.

  20. BionicDave BionicDave says:

    Great review, Paul. Your keen perspectives and your skill with the written word make your articles a pleasure to read, and this one was no exception. I just saw “The Dark Knight Rises” tonight and popped online to see if iFanboy had a review up, so I was especially excited to see this here, and I agree with your assessment. A fitting end to a wonderful film trilogy.

    Though I really liked “The Avengers” (and most of the other Marvel films of the past few years), these Nolan “Batman” films are a big cut above them, transcending the basic superhero movie genre to tell deeper stories of the human condition.

  21. Lukeozade100 Lukeozade100 says:

    It was an amazing film, Michael Caine almost had me crying a couple of times, though sadly due to British comedians I burst out laughing during his scene at the graveyard because in my mind during his speech I just went ‘My name is Michael Caine’ you’ll probably have to be from my side of the pond to get it but it sorta ruined the moment and made a lot of the people around me think I was some sort of sadistic freak.

  22. zuper says:

    Liked the movie a lot but I can’t shake the feeling it felt too rushed or something. I will definitely be seeing it again though.

    I felt that the fact we got no mention of where the Joker was at the past eight years really stuck out especially when there were both flashbacks to BB and TDK as well as Liam Neesan and Cillian Murphy appearing in the films. The whole scenario Bane created in the city felt like it was something right up Joker’s chaos alley. He would definitely have been in on that so to not even mention him….

    And why was Bruce so roughed up and broken if he hadn’t even done anything in 8 years since Harvey Dent died?

    • tomistommy tomistommy says:

      Doesn’t Alfred mention that he disappears for, like, 7 years after Dent’s death? Pretty sure that’s when he got all banged up. Could be wrong though.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I thought the leg injury Bruce had must have come from the fall he took at the end of TDK. He clearly never seeked out medical attention after the end of the film which is why I’m guessing it was so badly injured. The weird thing is in the beginning when he suits up as Batman he needs the knee brace but when he is in the prison his knee seems to be fine, seems like a bit of a hole.

      In regard to the Joker, my friend and I were talking about this after the film and this is what we came up with as to why he isn’t there.
      1) At the end of TDK Batman says something along the lines of “You’re going to spend the rest of your life in Arkham.” So he wasn’t in Blackgate during the breakout and Arkham is never specifically mentioned in TDKR. Also if I remember correctly it is established in BB that Arkham isn’t actually on the island of Gotham so that could also explain his absence.

      2) Even if he was let loose he would have had to desire to stay in Gotham. This is for two reasons. One, no Batman. Yes the Joker causes ton of chaos in TDK but he only does so to get Batman’s attention. At the end of TDK he even laughs at the idea that he would want to kill Batman, he tells Bats the he completes him. No Batman in Gotham, no Joker in Gotham. Two, Bane and the Joker both cause chaos but for very different reasons. For Bane chaos is a means to an end. His goal is to destroy Gotham and torture Batman, he uses chaos to accomplish these goals. For the Joker, chaos IS his end. Its all he wants. If he busts out of Arkham and Gotham is already in chaos he has no reason to be there. What fun would the Joker from TDK have in the Gotham Bane has created? He would have no purpose. If he had busted out of Arkham during Banes occupation I have to doubt he would have promptly left Gotham in search of another city to terrorize. If anything, I imagine he would have seen Bane as an opponent, not a ally.

      Anyway, that’s what we came up with.

    • Neb Neb says:

      The seven years that Alfred mentions is from when he disappeared to become Batman. The injuries that Bruce has are a result of his clash with Dent. If you recall, he was shot, and took that big fall at the end before the cops started chasing him. From my understanding those injuries combined with the other wear and tear are what had him all roughed up.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      The reason The Joker isn’t mentioned is simple. Christopher Nolan to Entertainment Weekly:

      “I felt very strongly that the Joker was off-limits. I don’t want to trivialize a tragedy like that by explaining it away in some fashion. I made the choice, immediately, that talking about the Joker was off the table. It’s just the way I feel about it, based on my relationship with Heath. Other people might have handled it differently. But that’s what felt right to me.”

    • zuper says:

      I have to respect Nolan’s reasoning but I still think the movie was missing something by not even mentioning the Joker.

  23. 36crazymet 36crazymet (@Mikey_1836) says:

    I just didn’t like the end. “You should us your real name, i like it better, “Robin”.

    • zuper says:

      I would have liked it if it was more subtle. Something like, “I like it better, Richard.” or “Tim”. That way the fans get it and other people can figure it out later but at least they aren’t throwing the Robin card in everyone’s faces.

  24. Neb Neb says:

    I enjoyed the heck out of it. I think that The Dark Knight is the strongest of the series, but this is was a satisfying and highly enjoyable ending, especially the way it wraps everything up. I probably won’t see it in theaters again since my 7 month old keeps us pretty home bound, but this is a definite Blu-Ray purchase that will spin in my player with the others quite regularly.

    Whoever makes the next Batman movie has GIANT shoes to fill.

  25. trampb trampb says:

    I really liked it-so glad, as I wasn’t keen on the last one at all. Now it’s time for a silly Bat Man in my opinion.
    In fact I wrote a blog thing here http://trampb.blogspot.co.uk/ about why Bat Man fans should accept that their hero isn’t just about growling and breaking bones.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      Not a bad post, a little intentionally confrontational. You say Batman used to change constantly in the Golden and Silver Age era but you’re not really calling for a change, it seems more that you are calling for a de-evolution to his earlier, and more goofy, state. “Returning to the roots” isn’t really growth. Also, I would say people enjoy the contemporary “Miller-esque” Batman because it seems more fitting for our times. Its the same reason a noir influenced Batman wouldn’t have felt right in the 40′s and 50′s. Batman will eventually grow and change again, all comic characters do, but to try and force that growth will only lead to resentment from fans and trite stories. While this film, and Snyder’s run on the comic, are very dark indeed, I have very much enjoyed both. But if you don’t that’s fine, to each their own. Perhaps this film will put a cap on the dark and gritty Batman and lead to more hopeful stories. People being tired of the darker film version of Batman we have had for the past 7 years actually seems to be a pretty common complaint, even from people who enjoyed the series.

    • trampb trampb says:

      Uspunx…I see your point. I may have not made myself clear, but I was trying to suggest that there’s a little more to Bat Man than the post Miller character that we have now. A return to the goofiness, I agree, would possibly be a step too far in one direction, I just think the “Real World,” approach is too much of a step in the other direction, and I would like to see some of the more fantastical elements of Bat Man dealt with on the big screen.
      My favourite Bat Man film is Bat Man Returns- at the time I spoke to a lot of people who were put off by how cartoony the ending was-it involves penguins with rockets on their backs. I sort of think penguins with rockets on their backs is completely reasonable in a film about a man who dresses as a bat. I think we need comic book movies that aren’t embaressed about their source material-even the Avengers avoided saying Superhero names-Hawkeye was ‘Barton’ Captain America was simply ‘Captain,’ and even Iron Man was referred to as ‘Stark’ for the whole thing. (The Hulk was ‘The other guy.’)
      Thanks for replying, sir.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I do see your point and I agree with to an extent. Maybe Batman, and as you say comic films in general, have gotten a little too bogged down in “realness.” They are after all about men and women who dress in costumes and fight crime. The Miller Batman has dominated the Bat comics for almost three decades now so maybe it is time for a little swing back in the other direction.

      I actually thought the time bomb sequence in TDKR felt a little like that to me. I had the most comic-booky feel to me of any sequence in the Nolan series. I mean a superhero rushing to get a literal timebomb reconnected to a fusion reactor to stop it from destroying the city? If you step back and take it out of the context of the Nolan franchise and it’s overal dark tone, it kind of seems like a classic comic book moment.

    • Arvind says:

      I don’t think these movies are embarrassed about their source material. They may not do it exactly like the comics, but then again you guys are picking very specific periods of the comics. As a whole, I think most of these comic book movies pay quite a strong respect to their roots. After all, you do have villains wearing clown make up, a scarecrow mask, gas masks, giant robot dragons, and crazy artillery. I really don’t see any embarrassment, and I haven’t heard too many of the creators of any of these series complain that they are doing anything wrong. I take issue with you saying that comics is a kids medium, while you maybe right to say that it started out with things that are directed strictly towards kids, it does not mean that it should only for kids. An artist has right to choose who he wants his audience to be.

    • trampb trampb says:

      Arvind…I am thirty four years old and love comics. When I was talking about comics being a children’s medium I was referring to their origins. I realise that they have transcended that now, but when The killing Joke was released, it was still in that transitional period; you only have to read other books from that era to see that some creators were making their first tentative steps toward a more sophisticated approach while other creators were still producing work intended for a very young audience. I agree that Nolan does find ways of using those comic book tropes that you mention, but he always finds a way of making it ‘real’ which I personally think defeats the object.
      Uspunx…I agree that DKR is the most ‘comic book’ of the trilogy-which is why I liked it the most out of the Nolan films. But the whole business of not calling Cat Woman Cat Woman was just stupid.
      Arvind…What was the giant robot dragon?

    • Arvind says:

      hahaa….Sorry….you had mentioned that Avengers also didn’t say the heros names and was embarrassed about it’s comic roots, and I was trying to say that there were giant robot dragons flying around(Or wtv the chitarri call them) so they couldn’t be that embarrassed. And by the way fair point on the transition period but as I recollect the have always put the Mature reader tag on those books at the time. So I think they handled it fairly well.

      I have to say though…..Catwoman not being called Catwoman out loud can’t bother you that much. I mean it’s just a name.

  26. Mr.Enigma Mr.Enigma (@EJsingley) says:

    There is a first for everything. I can’t believe I am actually saying this. This is a perfectly written reveiw by Paul. Writting a reveiw about the biggest movie of the year without giving away the entire movie is damn near impossible. Very well written sir. Good job!

  27. cosmo cosmo says:

    Soooo, my first reaction yesterday was that Nolan was finishing with the concept of “Batman is an idea, not a person,” and Blake would simply slip into that pre-existing role. Yet, the more I think about this, the more I don’t like that approach. After all, isn’t part of Wayne’s message to Gotham is that Batman is a hero willing to die to defend his city? Would it actually cheapen the Batman to revive him after such a death? And would it not be more interesting to see Blake adopt his own persona (Robin, Nightwing, something entirely new?), than simply pull on that same old black bat suit once again?

    Overall, I’m of two minds concerning any type of continuation from here. I’m curious to see what Blake does next, though my instinct says leave it to the imagination. A series of superhero films with a true ending is so rare, let’s savor it.

    Oh, and yes, I thought that the film was fantastic.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I’m not sure he will become Batman in the sense of him simply putting on Bruce’s cape and cowl. All the end showed was him entering the Bat cave, he never actually put the costume on. I think the reveal at the end that his real name is Robin implies that he might become something else. Bruce simply gave him access to all his toys and technology.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Dunno, the same conclusion was reached in battle for the cowl was it not?

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      If the people of Gotham think The Batman can’t be killed, even by a nuke, that just makes the legend that much more powerful and scary to criminals.

  28. Andrew Andrew says:

    Liked it a lot, but my favorite thing is that Bane sounded like he was doing an impression of Darrell Hammond doing an impression of Sean Connery.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      There are actually some cool interviews with Tom Hardy talking about intentionally creating a somewhat silly voice for Bane to juxtapose with the intimidating physical presence. He felt the two disparate parts together would make Bane even more menacing.

    • @USPUNX it’s funny you mention that, because I actually loved that aspect of the performance. I like that he didn’t have a “scary” voice, which I think would have made him too over the top. The normal tone of voice he used, one which is even kind of wimpy sounding, actually made him even more chilling to me.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      @john: Totally agree.

    • I’m glad he made that decision. I couldn’t quite pick up some of his lines but understood the bulk of them.

  29. JRock JRock says:

    When will the Podcast be out? I am really curious what the guys thought. I have mixed feelings after watching it once and want to see it again before I make my true opinion.

  30. Keep your politics out of this. The themes are much deeper than that. I found the film to be incredibly Thelemic.

  31. nbcabaniss nbcabaniss says:

    I really wish DC did some tie-in comics for this, as there’s so much material they could cover – like how Bruce gets back to Gotham after his exile, or a more complete origin story for Bane/Talia/ Ra’s al Ghul. Typically tie-ins are rubbish, but get the right creators and you could mine some interesting ground.

  32. Kamilo Kamilo says:

    In a sense it was Batman vs The French Revolution and it was fantastic! Also, I couldn’t help but think that Tom Hardy was trying to do his best Sean Connery impression and sounded an awful lot like those Jeopardy SNL skits (trust me, there will be mash-up videos, and they will be hilarious).

    • trampb trampb says:

      The whole French revolution thing was definitely there-also references to the Russian revolution in ‘Ten Days That Shook The World,’ style scene on the steps. I think both dark Knight and this one had underlying political messages without a doubt. I know nothing about Nolan as a person, but I’m guessing he’s pretty right wing.
      The first half of DKR played to current anti-banker feeling, but the second half seemed to suggest that revolution will always end in disaster. The only possible interpretation here is that though rich powerful people can be bad, the only people capable or worthy of stopping them are other rich and powerful people.
      Admittedly, there are flaws in this interpretation, such as everyman cop, John Blake or the fact that the league of Shadows are the instigators of the ‘Revolution,’ but the sense of revolutionary futility comes through most of all. (Most obviously with Cat Woman’s change of heart about her planned revenge on the rich.)
      Slavoj Zizek has an amazing interpretation of The Dark Knight as excusing Western foreign policy. Sounds like a massive leap, but makes perfect sense when you read it. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I read it so can’t throw up a link.

  33. trampb trampb says:

    SPOILER!!!!
    Right, just wondering why so many people are convinced that Blake is the new bat man at the end of the film. Could somebody help me out here, but the ending seemed ambiguous and left the chance of Bruce’s return as much as anything. Blake might think he’s training himself up as a succesor to Bat man, but if Bruce did return, surely he would be more likely to end up being Robin?

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      You’re right, the ending is intentionally ambiguous (that’s kind of Nolan’s “thing”).

      But given what we’ve learned about Blake — he’s an orphan who overcomes his physical and emotional hardships without sacrificing the goodness of his soul and commits himself to the fight for truth and justice — I find it hard to believe that he seeks out the cave, discovers its secrets and then DOESN’T try to continue what Bruce started.

      He also seems to understand the power of The Batman as an inspiration, so I wouldn’t see him creating a new persona on the off chance that Bruce comes back.

      Because — given the reality of Nolan’s world — Bruce can’t come back. In comics, it’s one thing to accept that a man can punish his body like Bruce does and keep going year after year. It’s a much harder thing to believe when you can actually see a real flesh-and-blood man do the same thing. This Bruce is getting old and is entirely beat to hell. As many pro football players have demonstrated, concussions are bad news for your long term mental abilities, and the doctor says that Bruce has had more than a few.

      So in this particular world, I think it’s clear that Bruce’s time as The Batman is over.

      And for me, the biggest evidence is that final shot. Blake in the cave. He steps on the platform. And it rises. The Dark Knight Rises.

      Unsubtle maybe, but I loved it!

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      I agree with Ken. My knee-jerk reaction as a hardcore Batman fan was that Bruce would never just stop. We all know that in the books, nothing but death will ever stop Bruce Wayne from being Batman. But I’ve had a few days to think it over, and it makes good sense. Like Ken said, in Nolan’s grounded approach it just isn’t believable for a man to be doing what Bruce does well into his 40s and 50s. I like to think that this Bruce finally enjoys life, with Selina by his side, confident that he’s finally given Gotham everything he had. Though it is kinda fun to think about he and Selina starting something similar to Batman Inc. to counter another internationl organization like the League of Shadows from ever getting that far again. But that’s the beauty of the ending. We’re all free to imagine whatever we want. I’m still amazed by how much it resonated with me.

      As for Blake, to become Robin without a Batman is not impossible, but unneccessary. Gotham will always need a Batman. Despite the nobility and redemption in Bruce’s sacrifice, it doesn’t just magically fix crime in Gotham. In fact, the inevitable backlash from the criminal element could potentially be worse than ever without Batman. The legend of the Bat is what carries the weight and strikes fear into the heart of criminality. And with the entire city having witnessed Batman’s death, his return (as Blake) would carry even more weight, as if Batman truly had become a wraith. To start from scratch as Robin or Nightwing wouldn’t be very smart. Bruce’s true identity was never revealed, and everything was left in Alfred’s name, so Blake (after some training) still has the resources to continue the crusade. I like to think that’s what he does. I just don’t ever want to see it. It’s best left the way it is.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      What Ken said. Except that it’s pretty clear that Bruce’s time as Batman is over.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      I also like the idea of the Bruce Wayne home for orphans — it totally doesn’t fit with Nolan’s take on the mythos, but can anyone imagine how cool a “Bat-Academy” could be? :-)

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      I thought the Wayne Home For Wayward Boys was brilliant. A great way to work in Bruce’s soft spot for orphans without falling into the creepy pitfalls.

    • trampb trampb says:

      trampb says:
      July 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm
      Okay, I agree with Wheelhands when he says we’re free to imagine what we want about the ending.
      My imagining is that Bruce comes back, carries on being Bat Man and that Blake turns out to be someone other than he is, eventually becoming Robin. I’m not a massive fan of the “Real World” take on comics, so this pleases me more than the rational, ‘realistic’ ideas a lot of you guys have. My idea doesn’t make anyone else’s idea less valid; it’s just how I like to see it.
      I would like to see a new Bat Man film that doesn’t have to retread the origin, but I would also hate to see a Bat Man film without Bruce Wayne in the cowl. I think either move would upset some of the hardcore fans.

      For my opinion on Bat Man being more than just a ‘Realistic, violent, gritty, vigilante’ see here: http://trampb.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      You won’t see a movie with someone other than Bruce under the cowl. It would never happen.

  34. smo5000 smo5000 says:

    I didnt like it very much personally, cast was great but the editing and plot were a mess.

    decent review though.

  35. Jeff Reid Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    After reading your excellent review, Paul, and several others around the web, I seem to be the only person who was genuinely, completely surprised by the reveal of (SPOILERS) Talia. I simply didn’t see it coming. Chalk this up to my coming into the film with a blank slate, I suppose. My wife did notice that the child playing the supposed “Young Bane” in the pit was a girl, but brushed it off. Me, I didn’t even notice that.

    I was hoping that Talia would live through the film so that I could imagine that we’d get an eventual fourth Nolan Batman film where Damian would come to be a part of the story. I know, I know, there won’t be a fourth film in this series. Still, if Talia had lived, I could have imagined that there was one.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      I didn’t see it coming either. Then again I also sequestered myself from any discussion and even most of the trailers before hand, so I had no part of the apparently sizeable group of people who figured out the two reveals *before stepping into the theater*. My pride makes me agree it’s the blank slate explanation.

      Also, I totally concur on wishing for Damian (as robin to a Dick-Grayson-esque Joseph Gordon-Levitt Batman). I would watch that movie so hard. We saw her bleeding and hurt (or just hurt actually, there was a conspicuous lack of blood in this film), that’s not a body in my opinion! I will still be imagining the 4th movie in my head each night.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Part of it was also that in the days and weeks after seeing Inception, I really wanted Nolan to invite her along for this next project to play this very role. It used to be Eva Green. That was the ideal Talia in my fantasy casting scenario. Then I saw Marion Cotillard in several things in recent years, all culminating in Inception. And it gelled that she’d be perfect for it. Given that this is also the third film in a trilogy, it made sense that the Nolans might want to go full circle and reprise the League of Shadows story. So, following the casting announcements (which I really can’t avoid with my gig here), it all just fell into place.

    • paorear paorear says:

      Damian’s not completely out of the question – Talia and Bruce did after all have a night together, and there was something like 5 months of time according to Bane’s calculation before the bomb would go off. A child could have been conceived or at least a sperm sample obtained…

  36. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Right now, if I could make two small changes to the theatrical cut, I would:

    1.) Drop the Congressman’s “Call me?” line.
    2.) Remove the reverse angle reveal from Alfred’s cafe scene at the end. Conor mentions it on the podcast and I agree. It would’ve been cool to just see him nod and smile, without seeing who he’s looking at.

    • Yeah now I can’t get that shot out of my head with Alfred.

      It would have been a big ‘Fuck You’ the regular Batman fans but as a film snob like myself? That’s a Nolan moneyshot right there.

    • nathematics nathematics says:

      Or make it like the last scene of Monsters Inc! Alfred looks around then Bruce’s voice says “Alfie!” and Alfred brightens up. Fade out

      sorry for the double post, I didn’t put it in the thread

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I thought about dropping the reverse in the cafe when I saw the movie, and while that might add some additional weight to the end, it would be FAR too reminiscent of the end of Inception.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Nah, I don’t think so. Plus, you’d have the Blake in the Batcave scene as the final moment.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      That’s true, I guess that wasn’t the final shot of the film.

  37. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That being stated I would have no problems if WB never made another Batman movie. I enjoyed the Hell out of this film and the previous two as well. The cast was top notch, especially Tom Hardy. His performance in “Bronson” is wonderful. I liked him in “Rock n Rolla” as well. Can’t wait to get this trilogy on bluray.

  38. Troy says:

    I would love to see JGL as Batman for a new series/JLA. Wouldnt it make more sense to have a new younger Batman in place for a fresh JLA movie with a new Superman, an established GL in Reynolds and then whoever they get for WW, Flash and hopefully Aquaman or whoever they include? I think they have a great opportunity with where Nolan left the franchise off.
    One thing though…1.) If they reboot Batman again in 5-10 years I will be isulted because there is no need to REBOOT this franchise at this point and with this ending.
    Also, if not Batman howsabout JGL as Nightwing?! Everyone thinks Batman is dead so why not create his own identity with Batman as inspiration?

    • Troy says:

      or since it was Bruce’s intention to pass the torch movie goes about 10 seconds longer and as the section rises out of the water and as section that rises up opens up its a black armor top with a splash of blue and a mask and some batons.i know this sounds like fan fiction and i should be happy with what we got as an ending!

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Less is more in this case, I think. Lets your imagination go into overdrive.

    • Troy says:

      very good point!

  39. mickmac59 mickmac59 says:

    Just got back from seeing this film (on a HUGE imax screen – do it if you can). First thought is that it’s a thoroughly satisfying end to Nolan’s trilogy. I have to say, though, I still think DK is the pick of the three. While Bane is an incredibly imposing threat, the revelation that he is essentially carrying on where R’as left off removed a bit of the “heat” for me, turning him into something of a faceless minion (no joke intended). The Joker created by Ledger & Nolan was (for me) far more vivid, someone who truly stepped out of our collective nightmares. Having said that, I loved this film & can’t wait to see it again. Nolan & his team delivered, & whatever Bat films are in our future I think we can be grateful that we have these.

    • mickmac59 mickmac59 says:

      Make that “Ra’s, dammit!)

    • zuper says:

      Agreed. It felt like we have Batman’s origin, Batman’s peak, they just Batman after 8 years essentially fighting the same guys from the first movie with a “he’s old so it is more challenging” spin to it. I still loved the movie it just wasn’t everything I was hoping it would be.

  40. ghostmann ghostmann says:
  41. redwingsguy redwingsguy says:

    I finally saw The Dark Knight Rises last night. Wow, what a disappointment. Chris Nolan needs to come up with a better plot. He used the same one for all three movies. Build up the character, knock him down, build him back up. After this movie, they can never make another Batman without starting all over again. Do you REALLY want to see Batman’s origin again? Also, why is it that so many people figured out who Batman was so easily? They could have have had the same movie without that. Also, Bane. First his voice was poorly dubbed. No matter where he was what kind of room he was in his voice sounded the same. It sounded like it was pasted in. Why is it that Bane could break granite with his fists, but not cave in Batman’s face? On Batman himself: why is it he could break rock with his FOOT just because he was wearing a automated knee brace? On SPOILER: Robin. I figured out who the young cop was right away. Again, even he figured out who Batman was, who didn’t know? Not only was the whole nuclear bomb plot cut and paste, but poor. He takes the bomb over the ocean, and he’s a hero? So much for radiation poisoning in the ENTIRE OCEAN! As soon as Alfred told Bruce the story about finding him Italy living his life you KNEW right then how the movie was going to end. When I heard that Anne Hathaway was playing Catwoman, I was like: “she weights 110 lbs and looks like she couldn’t hurt a fly.” But she pulled it off. She was the best part of the movie. Bruce being crippled was again, giving an early end to the character. He’s supposed to be better than a normal person. Also, him “breaking” his back and FIXING it in prison was the laziest/crappiest part of the whole movie. Batman has an incredible line of characters (heroes, villains, and regular people in all of comicdom not sure why that just had to pin the entire series on Ra’s Al Ghul.” This movie felt unnecessarily big, over produced and rushed. It felt like an afterthought and a contract obligation by Nolan. I wanted to love this movie, but I can just says it’s okay. I mean stop pandering to the lowest common denominator and write a smart movie. “The Dark Knight Rises” It was a HUGE letdown. Star Wars Ep.1 proportions. 2 out of 5 stars.

  42. fanbla72 says:

    good news everyone! great review, great film. can’t wait to see it for the second time.

    i feel sorry for all those that stripped out the twists by poring over casting/character names and identifying the ‘real’ villain (i think this is what Paul is referring to in the review).

    it was not easy, and I saw the film within days of its release, but i managed to avoid any spoilers, hid trailers from my view in cinemas, avoided Letterman (as usual), ignored twitter, podcasts, bla blah blah….

    i knew Hathaway was gonna be Catwoman, ol’ whatshisname, albeit ‘roided out like an Olympian a la Humungous from RW2, was playing Bane and Hines Ward was gonna return a kick-off punt for a doomed game’s sole TD.

    in the end, the Titanic sinks and Batman prevails, to be sure, but it is important to be ignorant of the detail.

    walking into a cinema without the taint of spoilers or some Homer-esque loudmouth’s opinion is no easy feat these days and becoming increasingly difficult.

    is Nolan the master of the perfect film ending? seems to be in my opinion.

  43. powerdad powerdad says:

    I really enjoyed Blakes’ character. I don’t know if anyone else thought this, but I found him somewhat reminiscent of Bruce Wayne from the Howard Chaykin and Dan Brereton’s Elseworld story “Batman: Thrillkiller”. In the story Bruce Wayne’s parents are still murdered, but he is left without a family fortune, but since he still has that drive for justice and to protect others he becomes a police officer (detective in the story). In the movie Blake and Wayne have that connection of knowing what it’s like to lose your parent(s), and learning to disguise the pain and anger, and channel it into something meaningful.

    I would like to re-read a Tale of Two Cities, since Gordon was quoting the famous “It’s far, far, better thing that I do…” line at the memorial; and I have to wonder how much Wayne’s and Blakes’ lives mirror those in the Two Cities story. (Perhaps superficially, but never a bad idea to re-read a classic.)

  44. Genghis Genghis says:

    Quick question – and forgive me if I’m covering old ground since I don’t want to read through 140+ comments first:

    When they unveiled that statue of Batman near the end of the film, was that pose not based on one of my all time favorite illustrations of Batman by David Mazzucchelli that was used in the advertisements for Year One? Only caught the slightest glimpse, but it looked a lot like it. Or maybe I’m just geeking out here.

    Also, loved the “you’re in for a show” reference they used from The Dark Knight Returns. Nolan really knows how to play to the comics crowd without straight up pandering, making for a classy trilogy that should be able to stand the test of time.

    (Reference URL: http://goo.gl/Aj1f1)