The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review (In-Depth Analysis)

Was it the sequel we deserved and the one we need right now?

I watched this beast in IMAX Digital. To my surprise, it was just a 2K projection, uncropped, on what seems to have been a regular-sized silver screen. I was under the impression that IMAX movies would be projected at least 2 times the size of a regular movie screen. Either way, it’s a slightly better experience for some scenes. But if you want to save money, it doesn’t make the movie any better to see it in IMAX.

To start out, my overall evaluation of this Christopher Nolan film is that it is slightly better than mediocre. It’s not as “epic” a film compared to other “real films”. It’s epic for a comic book movie. But compared to other films, it’s pretty dang generic. All the macguffins are there. The movie moves along at a very fast pace, but it still feels incredibly formulaic. It’s very predictable.

This movie is also very loud in it’s clanging music. The sequence where Bane is breaking out the Blackgate inmates just seemed incredibly loud, as though it was suppose to be a cue to signal the elevation of threat in Gotham City. This happened a lot throughout the movie. This is a montage movie. It’s all over the place and the music becomes a cliche, almost a self-parody.

Christian Bale’s performance is actually very different. There is no distinction anymore between Bruce Wayne and Batman. When you first see him as a recluse, that’s some awesome acting. He’s zoned out. Maybe it’s the real actor’s performance coming through, because it’s his last obligation to play this character. It’s called “phoning it in”. But it actually works for that context.

Characters that could have been left out were Selina Kyle, Miranda Tate, Lucius Fox and Foley. Bane was such a menace, it didn’t make any sense to reveal at the end that he’s just a thug. Miranda Tate, of course, turns out to be Talia al Ghul, the true mastermind behind finishing her father’s work. And Selina Kyle’s just the deus ex machina that kills Bane right before Bane does Batman in with a sawed-off shotgun, because Batman “doesn’t kill”.

I didn’t like how Bruce retrained so easily and symbolically climbed out of the pit and easily beat Bane up. The first fight between Bane and Batman really set the bar high. Yet, Bruce didn’t take any special training to retaliate. It’s as though it’s a given that he just comes back and wins. Rocky IV definitely did it better. If there’s one thing Nolan exploited, it was deus ex machina over and over. Wayne has a limp so he just straps on some magic knee brace and it’s fixed. Wayne has dislocated vertebrae after Bane body slams him into the knee? Pit doc knocks it back in, Wayne walks again. How to delay the bomb? Well, there’s some kind of doo-hickey in The Bat. I’m sure the Nolan brothers did this to counter fan boys crying about plot holes, but dangit if it doesn’t seem cheap. This is Lost quality writing, and that’s not a compliment, except it had the budget to polish it up with rapid editing, which is just a trick to make it seem cohesive. It’s actually all over the place.

The prologue is something you have to experience in IMAX, though. Along with the sequences where The Bat is maneuvering through skyscrapers. And let’s not forget the stadium collapsing scene. Other than those scenes, off the top of my head, it’s not necessary to see Bane’s mug in IMAX size. His monologues were not as grand as I think the filmmakers thought they were.

John Blake is the most proactive character. By the end, his idealistic view of the world collapses and he no longer believes in true justice. He tosses his badge into the river after state police blow the bridge rather than letting the orphans cross it, for fear it would detonate the nuclear bomb. The story is about him becoming the new Batman by the end of the film. A nod to his birth name being “Robin” was not necessary, but did some fan service.

This movie gets a 84 out of 100 from me. Nothing stands out about this movie that will last for 10, not even 5, years from now. It’s the “perfect blockbuster movie of the summer” because it follows all the filmmaking rules, which isn’t necessarily good, or bad.

I want to dare to call Nolan the new go-to Brett Ratner.

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