The Dark Knight Rises: movie review
The movie's ambitions aren't matched by its material.
â€śThe Dark Knight Risesâ€ť doesnâ€™t really rise to the occasion. This concluding movie in the "Batman" trilogy isnâ€™t just dark, itâ€™s pitch black. Director Christopher Nolan has literally gone over to the dark side.
Of course, â€śThe Dark Knight,â€ť which I admired, was similarly hued; but that film had a grandeur, a tragic sense, that â€śRisesâ€ť lacks. It also had Heath Ledgerâ€™s Joker, whereas â€śRisesâ€ť has as Batmanâ€™s chief nemesis a brawny mercenary named Bane, played by Tom Hardy in a face mask with a breathing device conveniently attached. Please note: Thatâ€™s spelled B-a-n-e, not B-a-i-n.
One of the reasons why nemeses are so important in the "Batman" series is because Batman himself, at least as played by Christian Bale, is not terribly galvanizing. In â€śRises,â€ť which begins eight years after â€śThe Dark Knight,â€ť Batman is no longer around and Bruce Wayne is in seclusion. Gotham City is relatively crime-free, although all that is about to change when Bane hulks onto the scene.
What follows is an extended sadomasochistic scenario in which Batman is clobbered within an inch of his life before coming around. Iâ€™ve always been partial to Batman as a superhero because, in fact, he has no superpowers. Heâ€™s an enhanced Everyman. But watching what happens to him in â€śRisesâ€ť made me wish he had something extra-human going on.
Thereâ€™s a punitive, depressive edge to this film that isnâ€™t fully warranted by its story â€“ which, for all its pretensions, is a fairly conventional extension of the franchise. Were it not for Anne Hathawayâ€™s Catwoman-ish Selina Kyle, there wouldnâ€™t be a single character in â€śRisesâ€ť who cracks a smile.
Â Iâ€™m not arguing that â€śRisesâ€ť should be â€śSinginâ€™ in the Rain.â€ť But its Wagnerian ambitions are not matched by its material. It hasnâ€™t earned its darkness. Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.)