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Wick's Review

Created Jul 29, 2012 10:54PM PST • Edited Dec 29, 2018 08:37AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    The finale of the Dark Knight trilogy rises to the occasion, delivering a compelling and consummately produced big screen experience. Famously long at almost three hours, it does indeed fly by, the rich story and characters well harnessed to Christopher Nolan’s masterful direction, the closure complete… yet open.

    That said, DKR’s twists are often grossly manipulative, its double-crosses and dubious motives wearying. Thus The Dark Knight remains the peak of the trilogy, followed by DKR, with Batman Begins well behind.

    The movie has unique resonance because of the themes of wealth and power that course through it and because of the massacre that occurred at a premiere. The Dark Knight Massacre means you can’t go to the theater to see DKR without taking into account what happened in Colorado, where a madman apparently identified with the madmen whose nihilistic evil gives Batman his mandate for destruction. The wealth and power themes are personified in the movie by a populist super-villain named Bane, a homonym for the Bain so much a part of the current Presidential debate, though the Bane of Batman uses the rhetoric of the Left.

    That’s a lot of weight for a pop cultural artifact to carry, but carry it it must, since the death and destruction from the Massacre is all too real, while our dismal economy has created fertile ground for populism, much of it coming from the Left and not entirely distinguishable from Bane’s.

    It’s only a movie however, and a richly satisfying one at that. The fact that its supernatural nihilism and enormous popularity pushed a real life super-villain over the edge remains something we have to come to terms with, but for We the Sane, Bane’s war with Batman is first-rate big-screen entertainment.

  3. Great 4.0

    Bale, Hathaway and Hardy are a formidable starring trio, especially Hardy’s Bane, followed by Hathaway’s Catwoman and trailed by Bale’s Bruce/Batman. Supporting them are half-a-dozen mono-named moviestars – Caine, Cotillard, Freeman, Gordon-Levitt, Oldman, Modine – in small but meaty roles. Most are great.

    Tom Hardy’s malevolent supercriminal Bane is a uniquely first-rate villain with his Vader-esque mask, professorial basso profundo voice and evident superintelligence. Hardy passes the superactor test of having an inimitable villain on his filmography.

    Anne Hathaway punches above her weight yet again. She’s beautiful enough, smart enough and just confident enough to pull off big roles, none bigger than Catwoman. Hathaway ain’t no Pfeiffer, but she’s plenty successful enough in the catsuit that crushed Halle Berry.

    Christian Bale’s Batman voice just barely works for the role. What, they couldn’t dub in James Earl Jones or something? Guess it’s a bit late for that now anyway. Bale is a hell of actor, as he showed with his Oscar winning performance in The Fighter. There he played a live-wire character, unlike Bruce Wayne – that stiff.

    The supporting cast delivers when given a chance to command the big screen.

    • Michael Caine reprises his Alfred – loyal manservant – in touching fashion.
    • Marion Cotillard is a maturely intriguing actress, though her French accent seemed off for her character’s apparent bio.
    • Morgan Freeman matches Caine in avuncular gravitas.
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt has muscled-up while retaining his innate likability. It’s going to be a treat seeing him step forward in future episodes.
    • Gary Oldman’s name now begins to match his roles, that of an older man who still retains the ability to physically do what needs done. A consummate movie actor, Oldman’s reach never exceeds his grasp.
    • Mathew Modine is the least of these, but does fine as a spineless Police Chief.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5

    Hardy perfect, Bale great.

  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Really Great 4.5

    The Nolan brothers have crafted another triumphant film, Christopher as writer/director and Jonathan as cowriter, along with story-man David Goyer. Visually overwhelming, it also delivers more than its fair share of storyline punches. For instance, secrets get revealed – big secrets, dynastic secrets. This is a good thing as climactic blockbusters go.

    It’s also intriguing that The Dark Knight Rises may have been the last of Batman but is clearly not the last Batman movie. I like where the Nolans are taking the saga.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Sordid 2.7

    Makes sport of human suffering, in ways art hasn’t always done, especially in terms of faux realism. This is the problem the entertainment industry has: their craft has become so accomplished (100 stuntmen and countless visual FX techs on DKR) and their need to shock so strong, that a movie like DKR ends up with a supernatural S&M vibe. Such hyper-reality in service to nihilistic characters isn’t good for impressionable minds: children’s or the mentally unstable. Viewers and parents beware.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Brutal 3.4
  17. Rudeness Profane 3.0
  18. Supernatural 3.2

    Supernatural reality, most heavily on Bio, followed by Physical and trailed by Circumstantial.

    Movie reality aside, let’s wrestle with the question of societal reality. To wit, how could a mentally unstable dude get seduced into acting out a movie villain’s deeds? Well, seductive antagonists like Bane have more panache than upright heroes like Bruce Wayne and get to do just as much physically cool stuff. Their ├╝bermenshlich shtick is central to their MO. So of course, they will appeal to a sicko among us.

    As to the Dark Knight Massacre, Friday’s revelation that the shooter was seeing a psychiatrist supports the notion that violent insanity is rarely a surprise to those around the insane one. Thus the lessons to be learned from the Massacre are at least as much about mental health as they are about guns and movies.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.5

    Amongst the silliness is the myth of a solo creator of major military hardware. Hell, the production of a movie about Batman has hundreds of workers. Bruce Wayne, were he real, would need tens of thousands to produce and maintain all his gear.

  20. Biological Supernatural 4.0

    Batman’s uncovered jaw never gets broken or even bruised, notwithstanding the titanic blows he absorbs. Doesn’t even lose a tooth. Really?

    Bane likewise wears no armor, yet absorbs titanic blows like a cyborg. Natural human bioreality? No, supernatural bioreality.

  21. Physical Surreal 3.0

Forum

Subscribe to The Dark Knight Rises 8 replies, 3 voices
Aug 4, 2012 2:05PM
Wick

Regarding BrianSez’s Review
Wow. Perfect summary commentary Bri.

Jul 30, 2012 7:40AM
BrianSez

I just saw this yesterday as well. Review forthcoming, but I think I’m going with a Silver as well. I think it came down to being overly-long in some parts. Other than that, it was hard to find fault in a tremendously entertaining movie.

Jul 29, 2012 11:24PM
Wick

Regarding Wick’s Review
Thanks man. Means a lot coming from you.