The Dark Knight Rises is a provocative film; there is absolutely no doubt about that. The fact that it has had such heavy debates amongst fans of movies and comic books alike is capable enough to prove so. Even after two years of its release, I still battle with my own opinions about this film. But after two years of struggle, I am here to finally make a firm and final opinion of this film by providing an overview. So without further a due, let us begin (Major SPOILERS for TDKR ahead, so if you haven’t seen the film, don’t read this)
When I first saw this film in theatres, I loved it, I even went on to say that it was as good as The Dark Knight, but that was due to the excitement within me. After a few weeks, I slowly started thinking about this movie and began to realise that it was not all that great and admitted that it wasn’t as good as The Dark Knight, not even close and further thinking ultimately led me into believing that this movie sucked and confirmed this opinion for a long time soon after the Blu-ray came out, almost a year and a half later, I saw the film again, and I found myself loving this movie, but it wasn’t without its flaws, which led me to write a post on this topic. So I decided to research about this and I came across 3 articles that changed my mind completely, The 1st article was about ‘15 things that bothered us about TDKR’ written by /Film that criticised the film, the 3rd article written by Nolan Fans, wrote a backlash to this article by providing contradictions to the points, which was well written and very convincing for most of the part. The final article (which was my favourite) defended the film by providing 6 misconceptions about TDKR.
Why it doesn’t suck?
- The Dark Knight Rises provided a more emotional look on Bruce Wayne, which we hadn’t seen in the first two films. We learn more about how troubled the character really is. We see that he is in pain and he goes through a lot of it in this film. I found a lot of people complaining that the first 45 minutes is just us seeing Bruce Wayne as a cripple, no, we don’t have to see him that way, and he has lost everything, he needs someone, he is sad and traumatised and that is what the first 45 minutes of the movie tells us. The Dark Knight Trilogy mainly centres around 3 themes, those being fear (Batman Begins), chaos (The Dark Knight) and pain (The Dark Knight Rises).
- Second Sequel Syndrome: What makes this film good is that it is the only second sequel to a superhero movie that was good (other than Iron Man 3). It did not descend into the terrible depths of Spiderman 3 or Blade 3 or X-Men 3. Yet, I find fans that are enraged by this film and ridicule it without thinking about it, it may not reach the standards set by The Dark Knight, but it is a great film, no one can take that fact away.
- It has a broader scope compared to the previous two: Yes, The Dark Knight Rises has some enormous sets and it goes without saying that the film’s opening hijack scene was jaw-dropping. The production design of this film was magnificent and epic, just look at some of the sets, the tunnel, the applied sciences division, the final war, Wayne Manor, The bat-cave and the court room. They were robbed of the nomination at the academy for this one.
- We got to see Batman go head to head with someone stronger: Watching Batman fighting someone who is just as strong as he is, if not, more was something we all wanted to see from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The good part is that they did not spend time to reach on to this issue in the first two films and saved it for the third one, now that’s smart.
- It is unique in its own way: Each of the film was different in terms of tone and themes. The first film was about fear, the second, chaos and the third, pain. It’s about pain, and although the tone may be similar to Batman Begins, good amount of arguments can be made to showcase the unique tone. As each film is unique in its own way, each film feels different and that continues with the third and final film.
- It was a complete story: The greatest thing about The Dark Knight Rises is that it completed a story, the story of Bruce’s journey, how he became Batman, how he falls and how he rises. It was complete and the end of this film is a testament to that. In many ways, I compared this trilogy to the episodes of Breaking Bad, those being “Ozymandias” and “Felina”. The Dark Knight to me is like Breaking Bad’s “Ozymandias”, its explosive and a lot of things take place, such as the death of Rachel Dawes and the fall of Batman and in contrast the death of Hank Schrader and the loss of his family. The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand is like “Felina” where we saw the main character (in both cases) in pain and without hope, which this film perfectly captures.
Now, with that being said, there are two major questions or confusions that either annoyed a certain group of fan or upset the others, so I tried my best to answer those two questions with the help of the four articles that I read earlier, before writing down this overview.
How did Bruce come back to Gotham?
It is a question that did bother me, but after reading the articles and watching it for the 4th time, I realised that it took nearly 3 weeks for Bruce to come back. Remember, Lucius Fox says “The bomb will go off in 23 days” right after, Bruce escapes the pit, and when Bruce reaches Gotham and meets Selina, he says, “Tomorrow that bomb’s going off”. It is only logical to assume that he found other ways to reach North America, would have had certain tools and entered Gotham, so it does make sense up to a certain point.
Is Bane just a guy who follows orders?
NO, although we all know of the twist, if you actually think about it, Bane did not follow orders all the time, yes, I disliked the way he died and it was the film’s weakest point, but his true origin added a lot of depth to the character, and when Talia said that he should be kept alive until the bomb blows up, Bane said “We both know that I have to kill you now”, this does show that he is not a random henchman, and he was a villain, unlike the Mandarin.
Despite all these defences that I have made, it doesn’t take away the fact that the film has its flaws, there are a lot of editing mistakes, especially in the fight scenes, and you can notice that the characters aren’t really punching each other. But that duel between Bane and Batman was incredible. The time jumps that the film takes made the narrative a bit uneven at times and the most annoying part about this film is that it has death scenes that are fake (Talia’s for example). But my biggest problem with this film was the addition of Sgt. Foley (Matthew Modine) side story. He doesn’t believe in Batman, then he does, it was for most of the part, unnecessary, it could have been edited, although I do understand its motive, it doesn’t add much to the film and really could have saved some time.
But despite these flaws, it does get a lot of things right. The Dark Knight Rises has received heavy debates following its release, and still does, whether this film is bad or good, that decision is left up to you. If this article has affected your decision about this film, I am glad and I hope you enjoyed reading it. In the end I would just like to say “Don’t ridicule a film just because it doesn’t reach your expectations, sit and think about it, and then give your opinion rather than blatantly doing so”. With that being said, The Dark Knight Rises receives a solid 4.
Final Rating: 4/5 stars
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