Movie Week #6: The Dark Knight Rises

Another of the most anticipated movies of the 2012 summer season is the final film in the current Batman trilogy – The Dark Knight Rises.  It was high on our must-see movies, but unfortunately time and travel constraints meant that Mike and I didn’t manage to find a common time to go see it.  I took in a matinee showing, and didn’t spring for the ‘Imax-lite’  that our local theater offers.  My thoughts on the flic after the jump…

The Dark Knight Rises is the final film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.  The first two films were very well-received, and I wasn’t an exception.  I found both of them to be a superior offering in the burgeoning superhero movie genre.  ‘Batman Begins‘ set the stage in 2005, describing the origin of this version of Batman.  Christian Bale made a strong impression as Bruce Wayne/Batman, with Liam Neeson his equal as the villainous Ra’s Al Ghul.  The second film, ‘The Dark Knight‘ was dominated by the acting of Heath Ledger as the Joker, but the film itself helped immensely.  It was dark, intricately plotted, with a number of unexpected twists and turns.

The Dark Knight Rises is set years after the events that concluded ‘The Dark Knight’.  While the movie could be watched without prior viewing of the first two in the trilogy, a greater depth and understanding of the relationships and underlying plotlines comes from seeing the precursors, and I highly recommend watching them before seeing ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the film brings many of the hanging plotlines to a successful conclusion, which means that it doesn’t have quite as many surprises and twists as the second film.  If you are familiar with Batman lore from the comic book series, some of the potential twists are not all that surprising.  It has quite a long run-time, in order to fit everything into the film, but I never found myself thinking about the time during the film itself.

I was worried, going into the film, that it would suffer from too-many-character-itis.  That syndrome doomed the last few Batman films from the previous run.  Thankfully, this wasn’t an issue with ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.  Ann Hathaway was a very lithe and complex Catwoman, playing the character with a bit more depth and a bit less insanity than Michelle Pfeiffer in ‘Batman Returns‘, and to my surprise made the character her own.  The film left the door open for a sequel; if one happens, I hope that they include her in it.

All in all, the current Batman trilogy concludes in a very strong fashion, successfully managing the difficult task of matching the earlier films.  I’m very likely to watch it again, as I suspect I’d find details that I missed in the first viewing.

 

The poster shown at the top is a variant poster by Olly Moss, described here at the Mondo blog.

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