The Dark Knight Rises: Closing a classic

Published 11:32 am Friday, July 20, 2012

Much-anticipated ‘Dark Knight Rises’ doesn’t disappoint

As something of a movie critic, I can safely say “The Dark Knight Rises” is a spectacular cinematic feat that will most likely win many awards this winter. As a lifelong Batman fan, let me tell you: Christopher Nolan’s take on the Batman universe will never be outdone in my lifetime.

The third and final (?) Batman movie is a personification of Nolan’s realistic, societal view of the much-beloved comic book hero. Batman is back, eight years after the events of “The Dark Knight,” still trapped by the events that took place in that second movie. Enter Bane, one of the most thrilling villains in Batman’s rogue gallery, or list of villains he has fought over the years. Comic book fans know Bane as the villain who almost put Batman out of commission, and it is fitting that Bane be Batman’s final enemy.

What works in the movie, and what can arguably be called Nolan’s signature auteur vision, is how real “The Dark Knight Rises” feels. Nolan and company took pressing societal concerns and used Batman’s universe as a commentary on much of the discourse surrounding the economic recession, even before things like Occupy Wall Street entered the national collective consciousness. In unwinding “The Dark Knight Rises,” Nolan never forgets that sense of realism.

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The actors’ performances were excellent, if telling. While there were several standout performances — Tom Hardy’s Bane is just as good a foil to the Caped Crusader as the late Heath Ledger was as the Joker — almost all of the actors seem to be suffering from self-awareness. Anne Hathaway made an exceptional Selina Kyle, although she could have probably quipped a little less.

Where the movie shines, and falters, is how brilliant a bridge it is between people who’ve never picked up a Batman comic or watched the ‘90s cartoon and the die-hard Batman lovers. The film carries the weight of everyone’s expectations in a solid manner, yet there are gaps just like in every trilogy endcap. Some of the final plot devices feel forced, with not enough time given to showcase where they take the story. There are very few moments where “The Dark Knight Rises” jumps the shark [and yes, I did that on purpose], but even those unrealistic elements segue almost perfectly into the story.

The bottom line is Nolan’s vision is a reaffirmation of everything good you’ve wanted in a Batman movie. While Batman’s tragedy and drama are what draw people in, “The Dark Knight Rises” manages to please almost everyone expecting Batman to conform to their views, wants and needs in this film. You just can’t ask for a better end to what will most likely remain one of, if not the greatest Batman tale ever told.

Herald writer Trey Mewes writes a weekly column, Joystick, on video games in the Herald’s Spotlight section.