I am solidly in the LOVE camp here. I have read a few mixed reactions, but my experience was pure enjoyment and satisfaction. Christopher Nolan has created a realistic, thought-provoking, epic trilogy, that will forever be a classic. The Dark Knight Rises meets expectations and delivers entertainment in a grand scale.
I was fortunate to be able to take part in The Dark Knight Marathon and revisited the first two installments, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, on the big screen before the midnight screening and it was awesome. It had been at least a year since I’ve seen either and watching them back to back did add depth and increased my emotional investment in the story.
Side note: Honestly, I will have to declare that as much as I was satisfied with TDKR, the second film (TDK) is still my favorite. How could it not be? It has one of the BEST villains of all time with (the greatly missed) Heath Ledger‘s iconic Joker and with a structure and narrative that are near perfect. It is truly brilliant.
Maybe watching them together allowed me to be able to appreciate Nolan’s intricate storytelling even more. He tied all loose ends and revealed threads that connected to the first film. I am impressed by his ability to weave such a complicated, intimate narrative while still keeping the scale broad and big. What is amazing is that he created an intelligent, action movie–that plays out like a character study. He takes his time and in the process allows the greater themes to be addressed and examined.
Nolan explores what would really happen to the Batman if he were in our real world and Christian Bale delivers beautifully. Bale knows Bruce Wayne and Batman. He has grown into this character and this is his finest performance in the series. (I was excited from the first announcement that Bale would be Batman–it’s validating that he has done so well. Go, Christian!)
The series regulars, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, are all stellar (as usual). Oldman, who I love to a fault, is fantastic and gets the chance to give Commissioner Gordon more depth. But, I have to give a special shout out to Caine for his Alfred, who had some wonderfully emotional scenes. Yes, I did spill over a few times.
How about the new players? Tom Hardy continues his awesome streak as Bane. Hardy is able to portray more with just his eyes and body language than most actors can. His Bane is imposing and scary.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the man! I love this kid! He is one of the best young actors out there–period. His body of work, to date, is already impressive and this is one more notch in his career. His Detective Blake is the heart of the story–the average every-man–who wants to believe in heroes.
The shout out though has to be Ms. Anne Hathaway‘s Selena Kyle (Catwoman–although she is NEVER called that–I love the realistic twist they gave her). She nails this character. Sexy, smart, slick, capable yet vulnerable and complicated. Hathaway steals the show. She has some of the best scenes and the biggest laughs. All I can say is WOW! The only character I felt was underdeveloped was Marion Cotillard‘s Miranda Tate–Cotillard is lovely, but I did not ever get to know her until the end.
You all know that I will not delve into plot or details–I went in blind except for the first trailer and loved all the little surprises that were waiting for me. I want you to have that too. What I will say it that I loved how it ended. It felt…right. I applauded and cheered. I walked out with a smile on my face. I can sit here and find plot holes and character inconsistencies but the bottom line, is that this is Nolan’s vision and at the end–I was happy. I will always revisit this universe and feel happy. And isn’t that all the really matters? Yes. It is.