Film Review: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

'The Dark Knight Rises' film review by Emma Johnston

Please note: The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of

Film Review: 'The Dark Knight Rises'


Pictured above: Christian Bale in 'The Dark Knight Rises'.

Film Review: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Drum roll please... Step right up and witness the genius and final instalment of Christopher Nolan's Batman adaptation. That's right, the day is finally here, not that I had to tell anybody. Am I bigging this up too much? Or maybe it is just because I attended the 5:00 am showing and I'm currently typing through the coffee rush.

A jam packed summer of blockbuster after blockbuster has done nothing apart from tantalise our taste buds for three months for Mr Nolan's highly anticipated third segment of his Batman adventure. The hype was everywhere. Well, everywhere I looked anyway. Now the time has arrived can I honestly say that all the secrecy and teeny tiny leaked pieces of footage was worth it? In short; by God yes.

Cinema Go-ers Have Brains!

Post "Inception" (a.k.a when Nolan proved that cinema go-ers have brains) the big shots of Hollywood were shown just exactly what could be placed in a big budget blockbuster. This meant that as well as amazing special effects, astounding stunts, intricate fight scenes and major celebrities, these films could now have something called... a story. Don't know if you heard about this. It is where we follow the characters onscreen in an interesting and entertaining adventure that is successful in creating its points and attaining an emotional connection with the audience on whatever level it needs. 'The Dark Knight Rises' has that, all over/in/on/under/inside/outside it.

'The Dark Knight Rises' Pushed Emotional Buttons

The standard of writing within 'The Dark Knight Rises' cannot be compared with anything else. This does not mean that it is the best movie of all time but more it makes audiences forget it is a comic book film. I laughed, I cried, I gasped and I held my breath at points. Now, I may not be the most credible judge for testing emotional responses with; I admit that I cry at anything. But very few comic book films have managed to achieve that accolade and on reading other online reviews from the original critics screening, it seems many others felt similarly.

The Storyline

So what is this amazing story? Death by nuclear weaponry is imminent for run down Gotham City due to a terrorist threat kindly brought on by Bane (Tom Hardy). As our saviour Batman (Christian Bale) arrives on the scene he is greeted (attacked) by Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane. As seen in the trailers, Batman is captured by Bane and forced to admit defeat for the time being (its horridly emotionally devastating for a lengthy period of time). This savage encounter only strengthens Batman's spirit up (albeit physically torn and shattered) to confront Bane and bring him down in his attempt to save Gotham City from the ultimate terrorist plot.

And that is all I can say without spoiling it. Simple. But believe this, there is far much more to it.

'The Dark Knight Rises' movie trailer.

The Legendary Cast of 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Bruce Wayne as Batman

We are all well acquainted with Bale's portrayal of Bruce Wayne. He knows how to convey a broken soul yet keeping his stony persona. Within this film we see him explore a more emotional side to Wayne; this includes a very personal turmoil and also his reaction to the impending sense of doom that lurks over Gotham. A more complex representation of the man behind the mask and it is done so very well.

The Dark Knight Rises - film publicity shot

Publicity still - The Dark Knight Rises.

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

Next we have Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle A.K.A Catwoman. Now, as a long term Miss Hathaway sceptic (her neck is too long!) I was overwhelmingly so proven wrong. Hathaway makes Catwoman her own, bringing an originality that has not been seen in many years. The wrong actress with this role could've spoiled the quick witted one liners and devious personality written for her. May I also add that she rocked that Cat suit with her mile long legs? She did this as well as breaking her own typecast simultaneously.

Anne Hathaway and Burn Gorman in The Dark Knight Rises.

Publicity still of Anne Hathaway and Burn Gorman in The Dark Knight Rises.

Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon

Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon, as always the police commissioner with motives that aid the greater good. Reliable as always and acts as a wonderful narrative catalyst to move the story along. Speaking of reliable, how about Michael Caine's Alfred? Despite not being in the film as much as the rest of the supporting cast he is credited with two powerful speeches that did bring me to small tears.

Tom Hardy as Bane

Next we have Tom Hardy as Bane. Let me say this; he is terrifying, as he should be. Despite some heavy altering and editing on his voice (as American test audience's couldn't understand him), is distracting at times but does not reflect his performance. The emotive movement of his eyes alone is astounding. They convey his character so well. As they say, a man born in hell. Despite his Sean Connery sounding voice from time to time, I was incredibly impressed by his intense presence.

Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake

Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate is an interesting choice and her performance will leave the audience confused and also satisfied at the same time. And finally (phew) we have probably the best supporting actor within the film Mr Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. The hot headed rookie with only the best intentions at heart. His back story is heart-warming and makes his character so believable you just want to give him a massive hug. But then again, that may just be me.

Christopher Nolan Delivers Perfect Direction

Direction wise, 75% is perfection not only in a blockbuster but in a movie. This is expected of Christopher Nolan. As this final instalment in the trilogy is more of an ensemble piece the majority of the two hours and forty minutes seems equally balanced with appropriate time to each character. The first act of the film however, does seem slightly suffocating. We are introduced to so many characters and reminded of how Gotham came to be the Harvey Dent city whilst at the same time trying to begin the very captivating plot. The establishing shots and well-crafted CGI blend together with the narrative itself making it very easy to get lost in the plot. In one respect Nolan has outdone himself, the suspense created by the combination of direction, writing, soundtrack and editing keeping the audience unsure if there will be a happy ending at all.

There are a few segments where the time process is sharply moved along in regards to editing, with very quick cuts being made making it seem rushed and slightly awkward. Aside from this and the unnecessary altering of Bane's voice I cannot find anything significantly wrong.

So all I'm saying is; JUST SEE IT.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Dark Knight Rises film rating: 4.5 stars


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