This is without a doubt the hardest movie review I’ve had to write, which is probably why it’s taken so long. I really enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) when I saw it last Thursday, but after a discussion with a friend of mine as to some of it flaws, I had to stop and reassess my opinion. He’s not wrong about the issues that affect TDKR, but does this make it a bad movie?

The story in The Dark Knight Rises begins 8 years after the events that occured in The Dark Knight. Harvey Dent’s legacy has helped eliminate all major crime in Gotham, which is now a peaceful city. A new threat appears in the form of Bane, a mercenary turned terrorist with plans for Gotham City. Batman, having disappeared after taking the fall for Harvey Dent, must return to defeat this new menace.

Here’s a list of the things that make TDKR an entertaining film:

  • Awesome set pieces. These follow the same trend as the first two movies where Nolan aims to physically create as many of these scenes as possible.
  • Good performances. Considered the star studded cast, this is to be expected, but I was still quite surprised by Anne Hathaway and Joshua Gordon Levitt in places.
  • A nice ensemble of characters. It’s no longer just Batman and Commissioner Gordon versus the world. They have a few allies on their side. We don’t get as much of the villains as we did in The Dark Knight, but that’s intentionally done to ensure the twists have impact.
  • Little nods to comic book fans. Again, this is spoiler territory, but as a guy who’s read a fair amount of Batman material, there are some nice touches, even if they’re not 100% true to the comic books.
  • A decent story which connects to the first and second movie. The story itself isn’t too much to write home about, but Nolan’s sense of timing in the way most of it is delivered is perfect.
  • Great directing. Tying into the idea above, Nolan managed to draw me in so well that I didn’t notice the majority of the TDKRs flaws until after the movie.
  • Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.
You know what? Ain't nothing wrong with a little eye candy. (Before anyone says anything, let me say this: Magic Mike.)
You know what? Ain’t nothing wrong with a little eye candy. And before anyone says anything, let me say this: Magic Mike.

So, without going into spoiler territory, here’s a list of TDKRs flaws:

  • Continuity errors. There were two errors that leapt out at me. One was minor, and the one was pretty major as far as continuity errors go.
  • Almost too many characters. If you’re going to do an ensemble/team superhero movie, the best movie would no doubt be The Avengers. The worst one would be Spider-Man 3. TDKR is definitely closer to The Avengers than Spider-Man 3, but there are points in the movie where you might get flashbacks to the Sam Raimi’s last Spidey movie. There are even moments where you may wonder if you’re watching a Batman movie.
  • Patriotism and terrorists. USA. USA. USA. Also, everyone is trying to destroy America. You’d think that we’d have better things to do with out time.
  • Plot holes. Damn, there’s quite a few of them.
  • Story tends to jump in certain places. They really tried to stuff a lot into TDKR, and as a result their are some scenes which just blaze past.
  • The ending. That’s all you’re going to get out of me on that subject, because some people love it, and others hate it.

You also really have to go into this movie knowing that Nolan wants to wrap it all up, and Bale doesn’t want to hang around without Nolan. When you look at the movie with this in mind, a lot of stuff starts to make sense. It’s not perfect, but you can see why they made certain decisions.

So how does it weigh up in the end?

Movie Rating: A flawed masterpiece whose blemishes you’ll only notice after you’ve stepped out of the dark of the cinema. TDKR is a good movie but it doesn’t live up to the standards set by the previous film.

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