Let me get two things out of the way. Batman is my favorite superhero movie, not my favorite superhero (that would be Superman). Secondly, I wasn’t terribly in love with the second flick in this trilogy The Dark Knight (2008). When Batman Begins was released, I was shocked that they were rebooting this series again, yet after finishing watching I knew why they did it and how great the result was. As we got to the second film, hype surrounding Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker summed with the fact that he had a tragic end to his life, kind of turned me off. To me, it wasn’t that great of a performance at the time and didn’t quite impress me as everybody else had been. Today, after watching The Dark Knight Rises, I finally get the whole idea of the trilogy; I’ll have to watch the previous installment once again before I get to the theaters for my must go second time around. It’s that good!
Christian Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne and Christopher Nolan’s achievement as a director make The Dark Knight trilogy probably the greatest superhero franchise of all time. Even if Bale copies some of Michael Keaton’s established clichés, the latest batch of Batman movies are great for various reasons that stand them apart from the previous versions. The first thing that comes to mind is the way the movie is filmed. Gotham City seems to be another city in America, it just looks real. Citizens don’t look as if they are out of a comic book; they are regular Americans with problems that resound in our minds as pretty similar to the ones we live in this current era. Batman is a mere mortal Billionaire with great fighting strength and training and this gives him the ability to beat up regular thieves and criminals. When you see him fight them you know that a good shot might kill him and that makes everything more exciting. Nolan has made sure you feel this.
In all three movies, villains are ruthless and very scary. The Joker that Heath Ledger portraid is a dark maniacal version of the comic book villain that leaves Jack Nicholson’s version as a funny cartoon. This time around, Bane (Tom Hardy), is a tough malevolent terrorist who lays siege to Gotham, targeting the city’s corrupt and elite, the kind of anti-hero that never fulfills its role thanks to his craziness. He kind of reminds me of a more active Darth Vader, with his mask and all. We also get another kind of villain with Selina Skyle (Anne Hathaway) a.k.a. the cat woman; a high society cat burglar that even fools Bruce Wayne with her cunning uncanny and sneaky tactics. We also get to see the same old folks all over again, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) are back helping our hero as you’d expect them to. We also get two new allies with John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a policeman that shares some of Wayne’s motivations such as being an orphan, and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) who works as a new love interest in Bruce’s life. Alfred makes a comeback as that conflicted father figure, played once again by Michael Caine.
The Dark Knight Rises is the longest flick in this trilogy, two hour forty minutes. It takes a little while to get to the main plot points but never seizes to amaze you. From the moment the picture starts it introduces you to the main villain who is a great addition to the cast of bad guys that have populated this trilogy, and also gives you hints of what the main problem The Dark Knight will be dealing with later on in the flick. Bruce Wayne has been away from public eye for the last eight years with a leg injury, Batman took the blame for the crimes committed by Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in the previous movie in order to give honor and inspiration to Gothamites. We all know that Dent eventually became Two Face after being driven mad by The Joker. We quickly get a shot to meet Selina and Miranda Tate, which are probably the best female characters in the three movies. It’s no secret that every man alive is in love with Anne Hathaway and that includes me, but let me tell you something, and this doesn’t have to do anything with my bias towards this actress; she really impressed me in this movie. This is probably her best role since Devil Wears Prada. There is a scene in the streets of Gotham city that reminded me of that great shooting scene in the movie Heat, where Bane and Batman face off for a final time. This was probably one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. Trust me, its visually stunning.
Without giving more away I’ll get to the point. This movie is a total blast. I absolutely loved it. Hans Zimmer’s score, Nolan’s directing, Bale, Hathaway, Hardy and the rest of the cast’s acting were superb. Every single part of the flick was carefully crafted, almost to perfection. Christopher Nolan knew that he was following what many considered (not me) as the greatest superhero flick of all time, and knew the expectations surrounding it. He put great care in to creating a perfect ending to his trilogy (I doubt it will end here after the surprise ending). Everything is not perfect in LaLa Land. Bane’s voice is sometimes unlistenable, what up with that? I need subtitles to understand what he’s saying. I’m also not a big fan of the sound employed to make the mask sort of a character by itself. Bad sound mixing destroys some of the scenes where Bane is participating. Sometimes dialogs are a bit to long over explaining some simple situations making the audience drag a little in what is already obvious. I’ve always hated that in some movies (Shutter Island anybody?). Directors: We understand! We are not stupid! Other than that, The Dark Knight Rises is about as perfect of a Superhero movie as it gets. I totally blows Spiderman and The Avengers out of the picture as the main movie this summer. Go see this movie now, its the best this year.