ARTH VADER (AV): This movie was destined for greatness from the moment the lights got dim. I saw this movie twice, once in IMAX–a necessary effort if you are to absorb this entire movie. Director Christopher Nolan's tragic trilogy comes to a climatic conclusion with one of the most ambitious super hero tales ever told on the big screen. Tying up a powerfully dark and gripping story arc, this movie–while not without some significant flaws–borrows from some the greatest Batman stories ever told. With the rise of Bane and the unveiling of the Talia al Ghul as well as the elusively flat characterization of Catwoman, this movie's rich and complex story line is a fitting conclusion to what has got to be one of the greatest trilogies in this genre–EVER. Pontificator, how say you?
AV: All the usual suspects return to reprise their roles and while all do a commendable job I will jump right to my thoughts on the newer characters. Flat out, Bane is terrific. Terrifying, single-focused and intimidating, my only reservation here is that I all but just don't get his motivations. Anne Hathaway's Catwoman? Meh, not a fan. For certain, the beautiful Hathaway's portrayal of the notorious Selina Kyle was decent but given the depth of the villain's schemes, the character was forced, flat and was laughably morose. Miranda tate/Talia al Ghul–good but kind of a shoulder shrug for me as well. What's more, Nolan's story is so huge, it doesn't fit into the 2 hour and 45 minute run-time. Also, Nolan's shooting in three different primary location; Pittsburgh, New York and Chicago, makes this movie hard to identify with. It comes off as an almost completely different Gotham than the first two films.
AV: The mark of a great effects-based movie is that the effects are seamlessly part of the experience. Such is the case here. From the wide-angle cityscape shots to the highly stylized dungeon scenes, this just movies looks great. While there a number of notable effects shots throughout the film, the one that stands out the most for me is the gaping maw that swallows up the playing field in the football game as Bane reveals his plan to take over the city. The shots of the hovering flying bat (or bat-copter) are noteworthy as well. Ponty?
AV: It is because I am such a fan–of Chris Nolan's vision, the Batman and the super-hero genre–that I am going to appear to be harsh here but it is what I saw. This movies has so many holes, we could rename it, Rename it "The Dark Knight Rises–Through Swiss Cheese".
This film was a lot more serious than I thought it would be. The best films have elements of comedy, drama and action... usually in equal parts, but that’s just a general model as this film was very heavy on drama and action...taking many opportunities to explore the human condition of love, passion, fear, desperation, hope, tenacity... all intertwined between the clear philosophies of good and evil. There were improvements since the last film...most notably the “Batman” voice of Christian Bale wasn’t nearly as raspy as the last film. The fight sequences were taken more seriously, showing plausible fighting techniques. There really weren’t many detractions for me... except I would have liked to see Batman use more stuff from his utility belt, especially when tasked with facing a wrecking machine such as Bane. Speaking of Bane... simply awesome how he was utilized, and the obvious change to his character made to the film version kept him serious and sinister.
AV: Probably one of the greatest cheese-ball endings ever, though I couldn't help but crack a knowing smile as "Robin" Blake discovers the Bat-cave under Wayne manner (I fully expect he won't be the last since the house is now populated by hundreds of mischievous boys). This vain but likable story development leave the audience to assume an ex-cop will now become the prodigy of the traveling/retired Batman. Okay. I applaud the vain Hollywood flair but no points for originality. I hope that future Batman efforts will embrace many of Nolan's efforts and keep future Batman films (and yes there will be many more!) grounded in mystery, dark purposes and divisive plots. This film certainly still held on to that.
ARTH VADER rates The Dark Knight Rises: Alright, so I probably come off as a hater in this post but I did like this movie–a lot! Plenty of action and loaded with star-power with an over-ambitious story you probably are best NOT to think through too deeply, The Dark Knight Rises is a Batman movie that doesn't disappoint. While not his best, Nolan's trilogy tie-up is fun and undeniably cool. If you are one of the 86 people in North America who has not seen this movie (even after reading all these spoilers!), then go. Now. It's not to be missed in theaters, and in IMAX if you can. With one-eye left open and a whole lot of lingering questions, this true believer shines 8.5 busted blocs into the night sky over Gotham.