Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I believe we can say, without fear of recrimination or rebuttal, that of all the fans of fictional properties committed to film, Batman fans are the nuttiest.  I'm sorry… most passionate.  Be it the bowling ball they birthed at the news that Michael Keaton was going to be Bruce Wayne, or the convulsions that occurred when they saw the nipples on the batsuit… kind of with them on that one… not to mention the shivers that went down the spine when they got wind of Katie Holmes getting the role of Rachel Dawes in 'Batman Begins' which probably shouldn't have mattered all that much since the character is exclusive to the movies anyway.  Then of course the flap surrounding a couple of critics who had the nerve not to love this movie, meeting with threats of bodily of harm.  Mostly from people who themselves hadn't seen the movie yet.  Batman fan, I tell you.  Good thing nobody really pays any attention to us here at the FCU because we'd be afraid to call Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises' an overly long, bloated, self indulgent mish-mash of genre's that liberally steals from 'Rocky III'.  We'd also simply be messing with Batman Fan because 'The Dark Knight Rises' was a suitable conclusion to a trilogy I'd hold up against just about any trilogy, including The Lord of the Rings… whose fans are plenty crazy too, just not Batman fan crazy. 

After the Harvey Dent ruse that closed out 'The Dark Knight', eight years have passed, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has locked himself away turning into Gotham City's version of Howard Hughes, and organized crime is a distant memory thanks to the oppressive, civil rights violating Harvey Dent Act that has turned Gotham's prisons into Guantanamo Bay.  
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Trouble is just around the corner of course.  There's Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) who has broken into Wayne Manor to steal something of value from Bruce, this something which may be used to bring ruin down upon Wayne Enterprises.  Albert (Michael Caine) is concerned about Bruce's well being since he has no life without Batman, and then there's Bane (Tom Hardy), a brutal, mean, evil, muscle bound brute of a man, so crazy than even Raj al Ghul had to cut him loose.  Plus he has a cause and there's nothing worse than a psycho, with a budget, and with a cause. 

One more little thing, Bruce has been working with the lovely billionaire Ms. Miranda (Marion Cotillard) to develop this cold fusion thingie that would provide endless clean energy, and while it works, Bruce has kept it on wraps for fear that it could be used as a weapon.  Which means it will be used a weapon.  This much we know.  

Bruce needs to take Bane down, despite the fact Albert warned him he couldn't beat this guy, kind of like Mickey warned Rocky about Clubber, but did he listen?  No he didn't and now Gotham's in a bad way.  The usual suspects such as Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), along with new comer Detective Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) are trying to hold it down while Bruce is out of commission, trying to find the Eye of the Tiger so to speak, but it's looking bleak for Gotham City.  Unless The Batman can make it back in time, with the clock ticking down to triple zero.  Seeing how the citizens of Gotham react to a little adversity, maybe Raj al Ghul's vision of Gotham was the right one.  I'm just saying.

'The Dark Knight', which admittedly was a superior film to this one, was unique in that it was debatably more of The Joker's movie than a 'Batman' movie, and this dichotomy is even more pronounced in 'The Dark Knight Rises' as Batman and Bruce Wayne have even less screen time in this go around, the movie focusing more on Bane's attempt to bring class equality to Gotham through mass murder, and the rise of Detective Blake.  This isn't a bad approach by the filmmakers considering by this point we are all familiar with the downer of depression known as Batman so shifting the focus, somewhat, to other characters works well.  The only issue with this is that Bane just isn't The Joker, more of a testament to Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker than a dig at Tom Hardy as Bane, because Bane was plenty oppressive.

At close to three hours long, which I did start to feel after a while, there are lots of characters to sift through in this movie, lots of plot, arguably too much plot, lots of political and societal issues are unearthed, and of course to be true to his name, lots of darkness to delve into.  This is probably the darkest Batman yet so there's not a lot of humor in this one, with what little humor there may have been either comes on the heels of some overwrought tragedy or is dryly provided by a surprisingly effective Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.  But with all these characters and over-plotting the movie often struggles to find it rhythm early on, but this is only temporary as the tension consistently rises and Christopher Nolan's mastery of his craft starts to kick the festivities into high hear all the way until its rousing conclusion.

Admittedly I'm not completely sure what Bane and his mystery accomplice were ultimately trying to prove considering this plan of theirs took five months, when it looked like it could've taken five minutes or less.  I mean I know they wanted Bruce Wayne to suffer and all, but all they really did was give him excess time to acquire the Eye of the Tiger so he could knock Clubber out in the rematch.  And this rematch was a little anti-climactic considering Batman didn't do too much differently from the first time he got his ass kicked by Bane. 

'The Dark Knight Rises' was a darn good movie and we are sorry to see it end, though we know a billion in box office receipts means the end of nothing really.  We just have to see where The Batman will show up next. 
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