The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve

July 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012


I woke up yesterday morning with a smile on my face.  After years of anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises had arrived.

Earlier in the week, I realized that my work schedule and free time only gave me one opportunity to see the film before next week.  Waiting a 7 days was simply unacceptable.  I had to know how the legend ended.  I was beyond excited to see how Christopher Nolan would conclude his epic and incredible Batman trilogy.  So, I raced to a computer and picked up the only two remaining seats in a nearby theater and waited until my 12:01 am screening. The first available showing.

Finally a sequel to The Dark Knight.  One of my favorite movies of all time.

Movie events like The Dark Knight Rises reminds of me how much I love to go to the movies.  It’s such an amazing experience to follow a project for years and finally get see the results on screen…

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

That is why I’m so saddened today.

This morning I woke up intending to write a review about why I love going to the movies.  But instead I was greeted by a tragic headline that changed everything:

38 shot and 12 dead when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater near Colorado…

A midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises…

This review is no longer about how much I love to go to the movies but rather, how lucky I feel to have the opportunity to do so.  I can’t even imagine what those people and their families are going through today.  One person decided to do this horrendous and evil act, depriving people of the simple joy of watching a movie they couldn’t wait to see.  I don’t get it…

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve read just about every movie review I could find that didn’t contain spoilers.  I was jealous that people got to see the movie before me and I couldn’t wait to get my review online.  But how do you make the transition from a terrible tragedy to whether or not the film measures up to it’s predecessors?  How many people are afraid to see the movies today because of this?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this senseless and cruel act. 

Going to the movies is supposed to be a wonderful experience.  That’s why I fell in love with movie theaters and the endless adventures they provide.  Blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises take that experience to new heights and pushes your imagination into overdrive.  The movies we love…


The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

(Super mild spoilers ahead)

I pride myself on being a movie nerd.  Going into the screening, I felt so excited I could barely sit still.  I even stopped drinking liquid ahead of time so I would make it through the nearly 3 hour run time without missing a single moment.

When the movie began, I thought about whether the third and final chapter could live up to or even surpass The Dark Knight.  How could it?  Honestly, I don’t think it did but that doesn’t mean I didn’t absolutely adore the movie.  The Dark Knight Rises is an unbelievable end to a trilogy that may never be matched in the comic book world.

Which is strange because Batman isn’t actually in the movie that much.  At first I found it disappointing.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was never Batman’s story.  It was Bruce Wayne’s story.  From the beginning, Bruce Wayne wanted to be a symbol for the people of Gotham.   A way to inspire people to take back their city from the criminals who corrupted it.

Through three films, villains have aimed to ‘save’ the city by destroying it.  The Dark Knight Rises delivers on the promises made by Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins.

Gotham falls.  The Dark Knight Rises.

At the center of it all is Bane.  A fierce and ruthless villain who is determined to burn Gotham to the ground.  Bane is truly a bad ass in this movie wonderfully portrayed by Tom Hardy.  I think his first battle with Batman will go down as one of my favorite scenes in the entire trilogy.

“The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

Unfortunately, I feel like he gets lost in the sheer size of this movie.  The stakes are so impossibly big that it’s impossible to really dial into the people Bane is terrorizing.  In The Dark Knight, we are given two boats and a choice.  In this movie, the whole city is at war.

It’s ironic that the agent of chaos was responsible for a much more relatable and suspenseful threat while his successor brings Gotham to it’s knees.

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.”

Bruce Wayne is beaten down and stripped of everything in this movie.  I loved the journey he takes.  Christopher Nolan uses Batman as a window into the psychological effects of pain and suffering.  It’s a symbol of what it takes to overcome what you fear the most.  So many times throughout the movie, we are reminded that Bruce Wayne chose to be a hero instead of succumbing to the anger he feels.  But that choice has a cost and so we find a broken man 8 years after Harvey Dent’s terrible crimes.

It’s this journey that makes the 3 hour film feel like it was two hours too short.  There is so much story to tell.  I think that may turn off a lot of people because the movie is so big and it’s full of huge ideas and themes.  Bruce Wayne’s story is so compelling that you forgive the lack of the caped crusader to a certain extent.  In between the scarce Batman sightings we get to experience Bane’s surprisingly deep history and Catwoman’s quest for a fresh start.  We follow the bravery and sacrifice of Commissioner Gordon and a heroic and selfless cop named John Blake.

Indeed, there is a lot going on.  Lost in the shuffle is Alfred but Michael Caine still gets a couple fantastic speeches in the film.

In the end, The Dark Knight Rises is still a Batman movie and the action doesn’t disappoint.  While the film’s final act feels rushed and certain story lines are wrapped up far too quickly, it’s still a thrilling end to the story.  For me, nothing tops the first clash between Batman and Bane but there are still many ‘wow’ moments.

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For example: The Bat flying over buildings avoiding missiles, giant armies battling in the streets, huge explosions, car chases and so much more.  This film actually felt more like a comic book movie that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight combined.

I liked The Dark Knight better but I still loved this movie.  I’m looking forward to catching an IMAX screening in a few weeks…  But  just writing that sentence reminds me of what people lost in Colorado last night.  Millions of movie fans around the world will be experiencing this blockbuster with smiles on their faces.  The people in that theater deserved that same experience.

It’s heart breaking that someone could make the choice to do something so awful.  Indeed, everyone should appreciate the blessings they have and cherish those they love.