“When Gotham is Ashes”: The Dark Knight Rises Review

batman 3

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman

Running Time: 2 hours 44 minutes

Plot: Eight years after the events of “The Dark Knight” the Batman has disappeared and the city of Gotham is at peace. After Commissioner Gordon discovers a plot to destroy the city from within it is up to Bruce Wayne to don the cowl of the caped crusader in order to protect a city that now despises him.

Review (Spoiler Free): Filmmakers usually find trilogies hard to do. After you figure out what worked so well in the original and improve on it in the sequel there is not ever too many places to go. You have to be able to find a way to raise the stakes and tie up loose ends all in one movie. Thankfully this film is just good enough to join the ranks of its predecessors.

You can’t really top the Joker, but when you move time forward and get an aged Batman and then match him against a strong physical and mental adversary and add in Catwoman on the side you come pretty close. The screen time given to all the characters in the last film was incredibly well balanced and co-operated with the strong pacing. This time the amount of characters aren’t as well balanced and your left time to think and wonder where they are, which hurts the film quite a bit.

Tom Hardy in a very physical performance as Bane.

I admire the direction of this film being so ambitious. The scale and the massive size of Gotham as a city in conflict makes for a cool looking film that feels as big a disaster movie as it is supposed to be. As for performances, I really liked Tom Hardy as Bane. I thought he was an effective adversary whose performance was limited to his physicality in his movements and his chilling voice. You don’t have the overlying tension with him throughout the film on the level the joker had. It’s worth noting the best performance came from Anne Hathaway. I was curious as to how she would figure into this universe (her inclusion was Jonathan Nolan’s idea), and I’m happy to say this is the best Catwoman we’ve seen and the best Anne Hathaway performance I’ve seen.

Anne Hathaway,
Anne Hathaway, “Just doing what a girl does best.”

My criticisms for the film are that the pacing needs work. There were some character’s that were left in the dust or off screen for too long and some that weren’t given enough. This all could have been edited but with the amount of time the director had I’m sure he did better than I could. The story feels like it fit into a major arc that was hidden in the past two films. It’s very clever. There are some things thrown in there for audience satisfaction in the end that I thought were cheesy and unnecessary that hurt my enjoyment of the movie. They aren’t too much a valid complaint so I’ll leave you to decide as they are things that the producers probably added so that the audience finds the film an easier pill to swallow. Just a personal thought, but I won’t ruin the review with it.

Don’t read too much into this, as obviously you will go see this film yourself and decide. For a conclusion this is a solid piece of filmmaking that sits under the same roof as “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” if only a few floors down.

Overall Grade: +2 / B+

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Extra Tidbit:

  • Based on the comics “Knightfall” and “No Man’s Land” of Batman lore
  • I wrote a review of “Batman Begins” in sixth grade for my teacher Mr. Douglas after I saw it in theatres

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