Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

(People, there are going to be spoilers, because I want to talk about this movie in detail. So if you just want quick impressions, read nothing post jump, ‘k?)

(Note the second: This isn’t really a review, as much as my thoughts/impressions.)  

Overall (sans spoilers):

  • I liked it better than The Dark Knight (TDK). With TDK, I got the same feeling I had with The Aviator: that the director was so in love with his subject and story that the plot slowed way down. There are times in TDK when I get distracted and bored, even having seen it a few times. Don’t get me wrong-great movie. Some iffy pacing. 
  • The new cast members were brilliant. Loved Anne Hathaway. The expression in her eyes is incredible, and incredibly important when she’s being Catwoman. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is brilliant. (We’re going to talk about the Other Two New Characters after the jump.) 
  • The usual cast, of course, is stellar. This is especially important in this movie because the emotional stakes are a lot higher than in previous installments, and Michael Caine, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman definitely do them justice. It’s an emotional wallop of a movie. 
  • I love, love, love the score. LOVE. 
  • And, if you haven’t seen Batman Begins (BB), or TDK before you see this movie, SEE THEM or you will be SO LOST. 
  • Also, much Pittsburgh love! 

OK now it’s spoiler time. Be warned. Proceed with caution, all that good stuff.



  • The last hour. Holy God, is that an intense, emotional last hour. Beautiful, award-worthy cinema, right there. There’s action, there’s emotion, there’s twists, there’s….everything.
  • I feel sort of bad for Marion Cotillard (not too bad, mind you, the girl’s got an Oscar and she kissed Christian Bale!). With the exception of Edith Piaf, all the movies I’ve seen of hers are where she’s the bad guy, or the bad influence, or something. This is no exception. I sort of knew Talia Al’Guhl would be involved, and I was sort of expecting it to be her. But when she twists that knife—killer. 
  • I think I enjoyed this movie a lot more because I knew the plot—really, the whole plot—before I went in. Yes, I’m weird like that. I enjoy spoilers. But also, I think it was better crafted. I’m not sure why people say TDK was better crafted. To me, that movie had big pacing problems in the middle. There’s a lot of big set pieces—the Dent transfer, the Joker capture, the boat scene, the hospital blows up, Dent goes nuts, the SWAT team…etc., etc. (That’s not in order, I know.) It seems like it just moves from set piece to set piece. The first time I saw it, when we got to the boats, I went “What is going ON?! How long do we want to make this?!” (And I still think that, when I watch it. ) In TDKR, you have one basic plot—stopping Bane. Yes, there is a lot involved, lots of new characters and twists and turns and backstory, but there is one villan, one goal, one plot: STOP BANE. We learn a lot of awesome things along the way, but there’s not a million detours. Every piece, every scene, has a clearly defined objective and place in the story. 
  • Let’s talk about Bane, shall we? I didn’t have as much trouble understanding him as I feared. But the voice seemed sort of high—was that just me? Sort of odd coming from such a HUGE guy. Loved the first sequence. Tom Hardy performed so well. I can’t say enough good things about his performance. His sequences with Batman were so well done.
  • Speaking of sequences in Batman: LOVED the last fight scene. The wide shots—shot in Wall Street. The close ups: Shot in Pittsburgh. Two cities, one scene. Cinema magic. 
  • This is one of my pet peeves in film. Small, but irritating to me: at the gravesite, Commissioner Gordon is reading the LAST LINE of A Tale of Two Cities. (It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.)  It’s the LAST line. Yet the Commissioner has the book open to the middle. GRRRRR. I know, it’s small, but it drives me nuts. 
  • But the scene made me cry, anyway, probably because A Tale of Two Cities makes me cry. 
  • Loved how the movie intercut the scenes from Batman Begins . “Why do we fall, Bruce?” 
  • That ending! Yay! Loved it so much. Although I think Alfred probably found Bruce later and became his Butler again. What else does Alfred do, you know? I can see him running a Florentine household. 🙂 
  • I want Catwoman’s “escape” outfit. I mean, LOOK at that hat! 
  • (A fun side note: Anne Hathaway is (or was) a Lancome spokewoman. She uses a Lancome compact in this sequence.) 

If you’ve seen the movie—what did you think? Did you love it? Did you go ‘eh’?