The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

OK Batty, you had your fun, you had your box-office records, and you had your hype. Now, it’s time to get the hell out of here!

It’s been 8 years since Harvey Dent was killed by Batman and Gotham City is pretty much going to hell. It’s turning for the worse, there’s no central peace or order to be found, and Bane (Tom Hardy), has a huge gang of thugs basically taking over the city. However, little does he know that there’s a certain someone who’s always there to stop evil at once: Batman (Christian Bale).

Honestly, who the hell has not been waiting for this freakin’ movie!?! Ever since The Dark Knight came, stayed for a long-ass time, and went back in 2008, people have been waiting day-after-day just to see what Nolan was going to pull off for his last hurrah. Thankfully, this is his last hurrah, and what a perfect hurrah it is.

Director Christopher Nolan proves, once again, why he is in-fact one of the greatest story-tellers working in film today. I know the same exact thing in The Dark Knight review, but this guy really proves that he has some insane skill with this flick because from start-to-finish, I was basically on-the-edge of my seat, wondering what the hell he was going to do with this story, these characters, and everything else in between. I’ve never been a huge comic-book fan and to be honest I’ve never really read much of Batman comics, but from what I see here, this guy takes the story of Batman that we all know and love, gives it a dark edge, and makes you feel like it can and will go anywhere he wants it to. There were certain parts of this flick where I really felt like some major characters were in danger of being killed off right away and even though that danger comes and goes, much like normal superhero movies, you still feel like the danger is not over. Just when you think that things are going to get better for these characters and Gotham City itself, it doesn’t and throughout the whole film, I was constantly thinking who will I be seeing for the last time and who will I be seeing again to fight the baddies. Sounds lame, I know, but this story really feels like it will go somewhere where no other superhero film has ever dared to do so far before, and sometimes it does, but it’s all I could ask for in an entertaining, superhero movie. A lot of this story harks back to Batman Begins, so be ready for that, but this is it’s own story, through and through.

Nolan is a daring film-maker, well all know and love that, but it’s not just because of how epic and twisty the story can be, it’s all because of what that guy brings to the table that makes this film all of the more enjoyable. There’s a certain type of suspense in this film the whole time that not only made me feel the energy going throughout my veins, but kept my eyes locked on the screen at all times. Every single action scene feels like it’s going to be even better than the last one, which they usually are, but there’s just something so much more epic about the action scenes here that made me want to get up and join in the action, whatever that may have been at the time. You can just feel the energy of this movie escalating into something bigger and bigger as the run-time goes on, and once it gets to that breaking-point, all hell breaks loose and there’s just so much action and excitement going on that you cannot help but feel it come off the screen as well. But, however, as good as a lot of this action may be, it’s still feels very epic and I think a lot of that has to do with Mr. Nolan and what he does behind-the-camera.

This is definitely one of those films to see in IMAX, even though it’s not always shot in that format the whole way through. The shots Nolan grabs here are great, whether it’s these sweeping action set-pieces or just beautiful over-head shots of Gotham City, either way, the IMAX looks great and if you do pay extra for that ticket, you will not be disappointed with what you see, or hear. The sound is just so loud and clear, that whenever an action scene happens, you can almost hear and feel the hits with the loud-ass booms of the speakers, and it gets even better with the score that Hans Zimmer has made up here. As soon as you hear it come up, it hits you and you can just feel like shit is about to go down, one way or another, and sometimes it does, and sometimes it definitely freakin’ does! Didn’t make much sense, but I don’t care! I know I don’t mention scores a lot, but with a film like this, you need an epic score just to give you the feeling of how epic this film truly is. Yeah, I know I said the word “epic” again, but it’s the truth, everything from the score, to the cinematography, to the story, to the action, makes it that from beginning to end. Yeah, there may have been a couple of problems with it’s story here and there, but I was able to let that all go by me and realize that this story just totally grabbed me and never let go. And thank the lord for that.

For every single person who has ever talked ish on Christian Bale and what he does with Batman and that “growl” of his (trust me I’m one of them), be ready to feel ultra sad knowing that this will probably be the last time you ever see this guy do that ever again and what a way to go out with it. This is probably the best performance Bale has given as Wayne out of the whole trilogy because he brings out that warrior-like darkness that arose in him from the second flick, but also goes back to when he was just learning the ways of his anger from the first one, as well. It’s a pretty cool mish-mash of character ideas going on with him in this flick and Bale handles it perfectly, just like I expected him to.

After having such an iconic villain like The Joker, played by the late, great Heath Ledger, it feels very obvious that Nolan would try his hardest to make Bane out, almost the same exact way, if not more, but he doesn’t go down that route which I liked. Bane seems like a strange choice of a villain to be in this dark trilogy, but he’s given a lot more development here that gives him a pretty bad-ass origin story to start off with, a bunch of intellectual skills that match his fighting skills, and a pretty intimidating physique, courtesy of rising-star Tom Hardy. Hardy is great with this role and proves to be more intimidating and dangerous than The Joker in more ways than I expected because whenever he’s on-screen, you can just feel that tension whenever he is, but when he isn’t, you can still feel it as if he’s just planning what he’s going to do next in the background somewhere. There’s this great use of his eyes that Hardy uses to convey all of these evil and mean thoughts that are going through his head, and you almost feel happy that you don’t see what else is going with his face. Definitely a great threat for Batty, and another reason why Nolan should have been trusted with this character from the first place. Oh yeah, and that “voice” of his? Easy to understand most of the times, other times, you can’t really hear it fully, but you pretty much get the gist of what he’s talking about. Evil shit, and that’s all you need to know.

Another big worry that people had with this film’s cast of characters was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. It’s not that people didn’t trust Hathaway and her skills as an actress, it’s more or less that fans didn’t know what to expect from this character that seemed so weak whenever she was adapted onto film the other times, but somehow, they pull it off perfectly here, mostly Hathaway. Right from the get-go when you see this girl, she is just bad-ass, smart, witty, sly, evil, and sexy, but you never know what’s on her mind, what she’s going to do next, or who’s side she was going to end up being on in the end of it all. That mystery about her, made her character so much more awesome and bad-ass than anybody ever expected and she totally seems like the type of chick-character that could hold her own with the best of them. Don’t hold me to this, but I sort of do see an Oscar nomination for Hathaway here, but if it doesn’t happen, I won’t surprised, either. Just one of those things I could see happening in the future, and with good reason, too.

As for everybody else in this flick, they’re all pretty good, too. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, aka the effin’ man, does a great job with a character that comes out of nowhere, we know nothing about, and just seems like one of those cookie-cutting good guys that every superhero story needs. However, JGL makes this character so much more bad-ass than anybody, even myself, first thought and he makes a great supporting character that you know you can trust every time he shows up on-screen. JGL is getting bigger and bigger with each and every role he takes, and it’s not for long until this guy finally nabs an Oscar. Maybe even two, hell, maybe even three! I don’t know! The sky is the freakin’ limit with this dude! Marion Cotillard is also new to this story as Miranda Tate, and does a splendid job, as usual, even if her character does seem a little bit forced with the hum-hum romance between her and Bruce Wayne, but it’s easily forgivable since she’s so good in everything she does. As with out returning veterans of the series, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, they all do their parts and show why exactly their characters have stayed so strong throughout the whole time of these movies.

I know that throughout this whole review, I kept mentioning and bringing up the word “epic”, but if I had to sum this flick up in one word, it would be exactly just that: epic. You can just feel like this film is going to culminate into something big, something extravagant, and overall, something that will stay in your mind forever because of what Nolan has done with this series, and does with this goodbye to the series and stories that he has made so damn popular once again. Now that he’s done with these flicks, Nolan will go off and do the film he’s always been wanting to do and probably kick as much ass with them as he has with these three, but I will never forget this amazing trilogy and as sad as it may be to see the last time for all of these characters happen right in front of our eyes, I know that I had a great time with all three flicks and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I’m getting a little teary-eyed here right now just writing this and when you see this flick, trust me, you won’t be able to blame me. Thank you Christopher Nolan. You truly can do no wrong.

Consensus: Though it may be very long, The Dark Knight Rises delivers on every spectrum: acting, writing, directing, cinematography, score, etc. It’s exactly what you could want in a summer blockbuster, and superhero movie, but it’s also exactly what you could want in a film that’s saying “adios” to all of its characters that it’s introduced to us for the past 7 years and it’s a legacy that I won’t forget. That’s for damn sure.

9.5/10=Full Effin’ Price!!


  1. Great Review Dan! In 2 1/2 hours I will see how epic this movie is too. I will post my impression review tomorrow. Thanks for confirming this movie is going to be epic!

    • Wowzers, looks like I’m in for an epic! Thanks for the review, I was a bit worried about Hathaway, but you cleared those worries right up, Oscar nod huh? Let’s see what happens, it wouldnt be the first time with this series of films that an actor gets an Oscar nom.

      • It wouldn’t be and I think she deserves it for taking a character that could have been terrible, but made her pretty bad-ass. Thanks!

  2. Epic review Dan! Yes I had to go there with the epic remark as that’s the main word I have used in my review and described this film to people. Unreal and epic!

  3. This was a good movie that I enjoyed, but you liked it more than I did. Anne Hathaway being given the role as Catwoman worried me, but I was happy to see that her character wasn’t the typical Catwoman that we’re used to. They made it fit her abilities as an actress.

  4. Yo dan i didn’t see this movie yet but just reading it was giving chills up and down my spine. Great job dude! I can’t wait to see it in theater now!

    • Thanks Ethan! I’m glad that we can at least agree that we both had a great time with this flick and are going to miss this trilogy.

  5. Ok I watched it….It is indeed epic and very much enjoyable BUT Catwoman and Bane don’t get enough screen time. The build-up for the ending is a bit long. I still loved it though 🙂

  6. Great Review Dan, It’s great to read one from someone who loved this movie as much as I did. I understand a lot of the criticisms people have for the film and as I look back its easier and easier to dissect parts of the movie that could’ve been handled better but no matter how many small issues I found none of them were enough to diminish the sheer joy I felt for having such a significant series end on such a high note.

    I just posted my general review and will be getting into the spoiler laiden nitty gritty analyses after I see DKR for a second time tomorrow. Once I do I’d love to hear from you in the discussions section, I honestly doubt I’ll get tired of talking about this movie with anyone any time soon lol

    Cheers 🙂

    • I’ll definitely be there my man! I’m glad I’m not alone in this near-masterpiece group that we seem to both be apart of. Thanks!

  7. Dan, you are the man, but I have to disagree with you. I didn’t like the movie. I didn’t like Bane. He was goofy, not scary. I hated the ending of the movie. I wanted to throw something at the screen.

  8. Great review, Dan. I too, could\’ve stayed on longer.

    I loved the film, but in my opinion, it\’s not Nolan\’s best work. But I do love it. I am a Christopher Nolan fanboy.

  9. it is an epic movie. but i didn’t have high hopes for hathaway going in, and she totally was exactly what i expected–extremely mediocre. she just didn’t work for me, but everything else in the movie did.

  10. Totally and utterly YES. Epic is the only word to describe this film. Right from the action to the score to the pure raw emotion that’s involved. I’d also like to throw in Marty McFly’s favourite word – HEAVY.

    JGL was brilliant in this role. I was under the impression that he was a bit more important than we were all led to believe but I could never have guessed how much! The effin’ man is the only way to describe him. He does so much, love that dude!!

    The ending was perfect. It reminded me a lot of Inception and I was hoping that the end frame would just be Alfred’s smiling face. But I’m guessing that might have just pissed a few too many people off. Beautiful ending.

    Dying to see this again. Just to absorb it all again. I simply can’t wait months for the blu-ray release.

  11. Dan, thanks for stopping by my blog to read my review of the same film. We seem to agree on a lot of things – but I am now kicking myself because I did not experience the visuals and sounds you describe – IMAX it should’ve been (was sold out for weeks so I went to my local cinema). As for Bane and Catwoman, you know what I think, but epic this film was! I have been a little teary-eyed myself, knowing that this was the end, my friend. Oh well, there’s always the second and third and more viewings of this one to look forward to!

    Till our paths cross again…keep writing!

    • I’ve seen it twice already and I can’t say that I get tired of it. Great flick here and a perfect way to cap-off an amazing trilogy. Thanks!

  12. Great review Dan. I agree with a lot of what you say; it really was a great film. I didn’t even really notice how long it was — pretty good considering it’s almost a three hour movie.

    • It’s a long one, but I didn’t really care honestly. I just wanted to spend as much time with these characters and this story as much as I could. Thanks Morgan!

  13. The movie was great. I loved it all, even the ending which seem like there’s a bit of griping about.. Don’t worry NO SPOILERS. I loved Anne Hathaway in the film, but I think her portrayal was assisted immeasurably by the script. The screenwriters really helped her out as every single great lines was given to her. All in all a fitting end to one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Nice review as well!

    • Thanks Mark! Really couldn’t have thought about ending this any better and I just am glad that Hathaway kicked ass like I wanted her to do in the first place.

  14. Although I don’t disagree with what you said, a lot of the plot points are weak and over exagerated. I do concur that the action set pieces are freakin amazing!

    All in all good review!


  15. 😀

    You got so excited during your review, I dont even want to argue with you. I didnt dig this one as much as you did, I thought it was bloated and bleak – not a good combination – and I wasnt a fan of Bane.

    But your review made for a great read. You were really pumped up about this movie, and that totally comes across, Dan!

  16. Epic,wow! Dan that’s my review of your review of Dark Knight Rises. Without giving anything away you laid it all out and encouraged the reader to see all the great aspects you saw it it and for me who has seen it to relive it and bask in the appreciation for Nolan, the crew and the cast for an excellent job done. I didn’t read your review till after I saw the movie and wrote my own review. We often don’t have the same take on films but boy this along with a few other movie blogs are must reads for their quality and love of the movie craft.

  17. GREAT review here, Dan. Ahhh so close to a 10/10… I can’t wait to see what flick gets your highest honor!

  18. Thats quite a detailed review out there and a must watch in theatres indeed. Some really big releases this year and thankfully none of them disappointing. This year is worth to remember 🙂

  19. I agree with most of the things you said. Except for the climax, where in my opinion Nolan should’ve opted for an Inception sort of ending with several possibilites. Personally I would have preferred that Bruce Wayne did’nt survive the blast, making Batman’s final act, the ultimate sacrifice of a hero. An ambiguous ending would’ve satisfied a wider range of audience, I guess.

    But let me make it very clear that I’m not in any way suggesting that the movie did’nt satisfy it’s audience!!! Like you said, it’s A-grade film-making from A-list artists. It’s just that I know that movie series like this one does’nt come quite often, and maybe that’s why I’m nitpicking on tiny details. 🙂

    Overall, an awesome review buddy. Peace Out.

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