Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Batman is back for the third and final film of the Christopher Nolan trilogy.  Being both a huge fan of Batman and Christopher Nolan, I couldn’t help myself from going to the midnight showing of the Dark Knight Rises.  It also helped that my amazing boyfriend bought me tickets the day they went on sale! 
Gotham City has enjoyed several prosperous years with no need for Batman.  That is until terrorist Bane invades the city in attempt to take it as his own.  The Dark Knight must rise again to save his city not only from Bane, but also petty thief Catwoman and the gangs of thugs who destroy the city.  Batman teams with Police Officer Blake and Commissioner Gordon to fight back against these attacks.  The multiple plot twists throughout Dark Knight Rises leave the viewer wondering if Batman can overcome the unbearable challenges and continue to be the hero Gotham needs. 
Christopher Nolan kept up his excellent track record.  This movie shines above many other recent comic book films including the popular Avengers.  Typical superhero movies the good guy wins, the bad buy loses and it’s over.  Not so with this ending to the Batman trilogy.  Nolan leaves viewers guessing Batman’s fate until the very end.  And as always, Nolan’s ending is delightfully shocking.  It’s his unique and powerful finales that give his movies an extra advantage.  He concludes the story of Bruce Wayne, but leaves the Batman legacy open for another hero to rise and possibly take Bruce’s place. 
Casting was above average like most Nolan films.  Tom Hardy undeniably transformed into a new person with Bane.  His acting was much like that of Heath Ledger in Dark Knight.  Never once did I say, “Oh that’s Tom Hardy,” instead it was always the evil Bane, in my opinion making the character much more realistic.  I mean I did miss that gorgeous face and British accent, but Hardy played his role almost perfectly.  Marion Cotillard is beautiful as Miranda Tate and new love of Bruce Wayne.  From the time I heard Ann Hathaway would be Selina Kyle/Catwoman, I questioned how she would be able to pull it off.  Hathaway is known for the cutsie girl role in many romantic comedies.  Being Catwoman did push her limits and overall she was a good fit.  Selina/Catwoman was not as fierce as I imagined or hoped for her to be, but I attribute this more to the writing than acting.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt stands out in his role as Officer Blake, one of the movies leading characters.  There is no question that Christian Bale, Michael Cain, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman scored big as they rounded out their characters stories.  Hans Zimmer once again does a marvelous job putting together the score.  He added new sound to his Batman masterpiece but also kept to his traditional theme. 
From a writer’s perspective character development throughout the movie was weak.  Nolan introduces several new characters including Selina Kyle (Cat Woman), Bane, Miranda Tate, and Officer Blake.  I have appreciated learning the back story of Nolan’s previous characters, including the Joker and Harvey Dent from Dark Knight and also Dom and Mal Cobb from Inception, yet Dark Knight Rises lacked the dept of personality for these newer characters.  He uses back flashes to tell some of the story between Miranda and Bane, but not enough to make them relatable or give the viewer a personal connection.  I left the theater questioning why exactly Bane was so evil, whereas in Dark Knight, I knew what made the Joker tick.  And sadly, speaking of Bane, it was so difficult to understand what he was saying.  Clarity in his accent would have made Bane’s role much stronger. 
In addition to lack of character development, the story line was a bit shaky.  I found it hard to connect the dots between story plots and characters.  Granted I did watch a midnight showing and my usual bedtime is 10 p.m.  Unfortunately at the stories ending, I had more questions than answers.  And I will be watching Dark Knight Rises again to try and make sense of my misunderstandings. 
***The following portions contain spoilers. 
I completely called the ending of Batman/Bruce Wayne several weeks ago!  I was so proud.  I knew that Batman couldn’t just die, but would find a way to make himself disappear.  This completing of the trilogy was very much like Sherlock Holmes, which I adore.  I found the storyline to be very predictable with Miranda becoming the super villain herself, and Officer Blake becoming the next Dark Knight, yet I still enjoyed watching it unravel. 
It honestly breaks my heart knowing Nolan is producing a Superman movie to come out next summer.  Previews for the movie played before Dark Knight Rises began.  I am a hardcore Batman fan all the way.  My love of superheroes is for Batman and Batman alone.  My heart broke from betrayal as Nolan put his name on a superhero other than Batman.  As silly as that is, I look forward to seeing what else Nolan brings in the years to come.  
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