When the first batch of reviews came in for The Dark Knight Rises, the Internet did what it does best: flamed the bad reviews. But then some more negative reviews came in. Then the movie launched and some people were going “wait, it isn’t that good after all.”
Listen, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. The Dark Knight Rises is a great movie; you just hyped it up to be the second coming of Jesus. Either that, or your not one to think during movies.
Quick, name the remaining big-name movies to be released for the rest of the year. Chances are, you said Skyfall, The Hobbit, and Django Unchained. If you said any of these three, especially if you mentioned all three, then you can go about your day. This article does not apply to you. But if you’re looking forward to the likes of The Expendables 2 and Total Recall, well, I have some news for you: Sometimes you have to actually use your brain while seeing a movie. The Dark Knight Rises is an example of one of those movies.
First and foremost, I’m not buying the connections between the movie’s plot and Occupy Wall Street, nor am I buying into the ensemble cast of characters being too much. Not only does everyone has their purpose, but Christopher Nolan and company actually do the best job that they can to adapt the end of the trilogy while still trying to stay relatively true to the source material.
Does the movie suffer a bit from pacing in the first act? Most definitely, but that’s only because we’re comparing it to either the movie’s final act, which hits all the right notes, The Avengers, which is a special-effects-filled super hero ensemble action flick, or The Dark Knight, which, you know, contained Heath Ledger’s Joker. This is completely unfair on all levels, simply because the movie needed pacing for the final act to be as climactic and thrilling as it was. In addition, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises are two completely different movies
Then there are the comparisons between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. It’s like comparing Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, only there are no Ewoks accompanying Bane. While, yes, Heath Ledger stole the show as Joker in the second film, there’s a lot more going on with Bane in the third. Not only does wreck absolute havoc, but he casts a shadow across the entire landscape of Gotham, leaving viewers wondering if Batman can actually save the day this time. This alone is what makes the movie so great.
Coincidentally, this is also why I hate The Lion King. There’s never any doubt that Simba won’t come back to save the day.
But Bane has left Bruce Wayne so battered, so broken, and Gotham is completely helpless and any hope for a bright future is destroyed. There’s a sense of doubt throughout all of The Dark Knight Rises; that’s why it’s such a great movie. We’re unsure if Batman is ever coming back. We’re unsure if he can handle Bane. We’re unsure if Gotham will be saved. While an Inception-esque ending would have been absolutely brilliant, the movie alone, despite a slow start, ultimately picks up steam and is highly rewarding. Instead of comparing it to everything else on the market, second coming of Christ included, we should take it for its own value: the final chapter of a highly satisfying and gritty take of a beloved comic book character.
For that, we thank you Christopher Nolan.