Monday, February 19, 2018
Home  >  Features  >  THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - The MightyVille Review

Batman Rises!


The long-anticipated third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy is finally here! The Dark Knight has risen, and MightyVille reviews it to let you know if the film we’ve been excited to see since pretty much the end of The Dark Knight lived up to our high expectations. We try not to reveal many plot spoilers here, but if you want to go into the movie with a completely blank slate, we warn you to click away now...

So, is The Dark Knight Rises worth the years of anticipation? Is it a fitting ending to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy?


The film is truly outstanding. Excellent direction, amazing action and cinematography, great acting, riveting storyline… it’s got it all! Who knows? It may even receive Oscar nominations.

But is it my favorite superhero film? No. I prefer my superheroes fun, colorful, and a wee bit more on the family-friendly side. But it’s a brilliant film nonetheless, and for true fans of a darker Dark Knight, it is likely everything they had hoped for.

The Dark Knight Rises begins with some of the most intense and exciting action I have ever seen at the start of a film. Much like the bank robbery scene in The Dark Knight, the opening starts it all off with a bang and gives us a taste of what we can expect from Batman’s foes for the rest of the adventure. When the tale moves next to Gotham City, we get caught up on what has been going on in the eight years that have passed since the previous film’s ending. We are not the only ones who have not seen Batman since then - neither have the citizens of Gotham. Similarly, little trace has been seen of Bruce Wayne, and he has had little involvement in the upkeep of Wayne Manor or running Wayne Enterprises.

Enter Christian Bale, back to reprise his roles as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. If you enjoyed his performance in the first two films, he won’t disappoint you here. Bale does an excellent job of portraying a Wayne who has atrophied and lost confidence during many years away from his role as Batman. This older, less physically adept portrayal carries over into his part as Batman, who, while still an impressive crime-fighter, may not be as great of a match to his enemies as he was in his glory days. Now, Bale is not my favorite actor to play Batman. I find his Bruce Wayne to be on the dull side and his growly delivery of Batman’s lines to be a somewhat silly. But, I must say that he won my sympathy in The Dark Knight Rises as a Bruce Wayne who somewhat reluctantly returns to his role as Batman because Gotham is in desperate need of their hero.

Batman vs Bane

This less than tip-top version of the Wayne/Batman dynamic seems even more challenged when contrasted with the main villain in the film, the mysterious and monstrous Bane. Despite his mask-filtered voice that occasionally bordered on comedic (my husband, MightyVille’s own Joe Kach, compares it to Adam Sandler’s character Opera Man), I found Bane to be a credible and petrifying villain. He is of the most frightening kinds of villains – strong, fearless, confident, HUGE, and with absolutely nothing to lose. Due to his tortured past, he brings depth to his villainy through his personal understanding of how fear, despair and hope can affect people. His expressed intention to bring down the rich and lift up the people of Gotham is also poignant to the current times and makes it believable that some of Gotham’s citizens would follow him rather than be repulsed by him. All in all, Tom Hardy proves himself to be an extremely talented actor, able to express so much despite most of his face being covered by a mask. He’s also quite a terrifyingly large, muscular specimen of a man.

At times in the film, it seems that it will be impossible for Batman to save Gotham from the destruction that Bane and other villains have planned. But in many ways, this is not just a film about Batman, but about the citizens of Gotham, rising up to save their city with the help of a masked hero. Gary Oldman is back as Commissioner James Gordon, and we are also introduced to another devoted Gotham City copper, John Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt puts in a solid performance as Blake, your average “good cop” hero who’s faith in Batman never waivers. I wondered at times why so much focus and screen time was being given to this character, but this question was resolved by the end of the film. Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate also jumps into the action at times. She also seemed to receive too much focus at first, but the importance of her role was ultimately made clear.

John Blake in Action

And then, of course, there’s Ann Hathaway as Catwoman! She is a Selina Kyle like no others seen on screen, and is effective in making the character her own. Hathaway’s Catwoman is a sly, slinky, self-reliant woman who is as jaded and opportunistic as most of Gotham residents. She is neither bad nor good, but instead is doing what it takes to survive in her urban habitat, much like a cat. “I’m adaptable,” she declares. Hathaway is believable as an efficient “cat” burglar that is capable of getting what she wants when she wants, as well as holding her own in a fight. Her “cat” suit is less a costume than an effective tool for pulling off the most challenging of thefts. Hathaway has revealed in interviews that she based her portrayal primarily after the Felonious Female of the comics, rather than mimicking previous onscreen versions, and she succeeds in making this Catwoman more recognizable to lovers of the DC Comic.

'The Dark Knight Rises' International Poster

The only character who let them me down in the film was Alfred. I had heard he had an expanded role in The Dark Knight Rises, but it seems that all he does in this film is cry and pout about his disagreement with the idea of Batman returning. I was really turned off by his consistent blathering about wanting to protect Wayne. He seemed to be taking his role as a father figure too far, and I wondered where he lost his British stiff upper-lip. This is not to fault Michael Caine’s acting, which was good as usual, but more the way the character was written.

That being said, the writing for The Dark Knight Rises overall is spectacular, with a script handled by Johnathon Nolan and David Goyer. The story is very well put together and thought out, with a number of exciting plot twists to thrill us by the end of the film. The action is amazing, from football field explosions to airplane crashes to gargantuan mob fight scenes. Batman shows up at all the right times, and each time the effect is exhilarating, with the music and cinematography working in unison. We’re also finally exposed to Nolan’s version of the Batcave, and Batman’s new “toy”: “The Bat” hovercraft is awe-inspiring. Even the well-timed return of the Batpod cycle and the Bat-Signal were spectacular, providing as much hope to the audience as they did to Gotham’s residents.

The Bat

Finally, much has been said and speculated about the ending to this film. For me, this was the perfect ending to the film, as well as the trilogy. In fact, it is one of the best endings I have seen to any film. I love that the ending doesn’t try to answer every question and tie up each loose end, but instead sends the trilogy off with a proper goodbye and a glimpse at what the future may hold for some of the characters. I don’t want to give away too much, but I can’t remember the last time I saw so many grown men cry at the end of a movie.

The Dark Knight Rises is not perfect, but it comes near. This is an excellent film that shouldn’t be missed. It has unfortunately received a lot of negative press due to the horrifying shootings that occurred in an Aurora, Colorado midnight opening. As someone who is sensitive to violence in films, I was actually impressed with the way Nolan handled the violence in this movie, with most scenes taking a more classic approach in which the violence is implied rather than shown in every gory detail. I hope that people can disassociate the acts of a mad man from this film that was made for peaceful reasons and actually encourages society to move in a more peaceful and caring direction. The Dark Knight Rises provides a message of hope in dark times, and, in light of recent events, that is something we all need.

The Dark Knight Rises:

4.5 out of 5

Have you seen the final film in the Dark Knight Trilogy? Agree with our review? Or agree to disagree? Let us know below!


More Batman on MightyVille:

CONTEST: Dark Knight Giveaway!

CONTEST: Catwoman Giveaway!

BATWEEK: "Batman: Earth One" - The MightyVille Review

BATWEEK: Featured Movie Trailer: "The Dark Knight Rises"

BATWEEK: MightyVille's Favorite Batman Action Figures

BATWEEK: The CW's "Batmobile Special"


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