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    July 18, 2012

    MOVIE REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (P13)

    Genre: Action/Adventure
    Release Date: 19 July 2012
    Running Time: 164 minutes
    Distributor: Warner Bros.
    Director: Christopher Nolan
    Screenplay: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan; from the character by Bob Kane
    Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman

    Plot:  It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP

    Review: The Dark Knight Rises finally arrives in the cinema after what it seems to be a very long, four years of waiting. Fresh from re-watching the first two installments recently, I am practically nervous yet excited to witness how Nolan will put an end to this. His take on one of the most celebrated comic book character has offered so much excitements, brainy ideology and epic story-telling that revolutionize the whole comic book genre into a new height. With all the hypes mounting up to the current moment, is this final chapter in the all time beloved Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy a well-deserved one? Will this Nolan’s feature end the some sort of Hollywood’s “third-movie curse” that has been long inflicting much of the popular franchises (read X-Men and Spider-Man)?


    [*This paragraph contains possible spoiler, skip this particular paragraph for our usual technical review*] Following the death of Harvey Dent for which Batman took all the blame, he went into hiding and never be seen again for the last eight years. Dent, despite of what he had done, was put up as a figure of inspiration by both Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Batman. With that lie, the criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), the billionaire who dons the caped crusader vest has relatively had little contact with the outside world, preferring to lay low in his newly rebuilt mansion. However, his attraction to Selina Kyle’s (Anne Hathaway) recent criminal activity that includes a burglary in his own mansion takes bait as he is forced to don the alter-ego role once more. But also standing in his way, a soulless villain known as Bane (Tom Hardy) who has a plan of his own – to destroy Gotham and creating a massive chaos out of his revolution. But will the ageing Batman stands a fighting chance against the mighty Bane?

    Kudos Nolan! Working with his brother, Jonathan Nolan; the sibling writes a great screenplay that works around like a corporative network filled with complexity, enriching ideological story with overwhelming melodrama of emotions. These draw plenty of recognizable elements from The Dark Knight that continues to push forward the human nature and ideology as well as bringing the origin plot of Batman Begins back into the vicious cycle. Gotham is pushed to the limit. Batman is also pushed to the limit too. Drawing inspirations from two of the most popular Batman comics – No Man’s Land and Knightfall, the dynamic of the plot is palpable and definitive.


    This final chapter has always been marketed, as seen in the trailers to promise audiences a satisfying grandiose and epic conclusion. But do understand that there are growing anticipation and heavy expectation for Nolan to produce another classic-level entry. It is a burden that truly challenges even a capable, talented filmmaker like him to repeat the victory but another new level. Closing in with the usual abundance of emotional ride as brought forward by Alfred and co., this film offers a similar warming and expensive spiritual journey that has been undertaken before. It also retains the same ambitions and visions Nolan has intended for the trilogy from the beginning by examining the variety of character development and moral ambiguity in between. The story often gives us a deep cut of senses and questionable ethics; sorts of an enrichment to the movie the characters.

    Yes, this chapter is a little inferior and lacks the perfection touch as we have seen in The Dark Knight but it is absolutely ridiculous to say this is not a legendary entry of its own. Then in Hollywood, where the third film is usually a thorn of its own flesh of greatness; The Dark Knight Rises does however, defies this simple physic. It comes as a well-deserved finale that puts the full stop at the right plausible way as possible. Truly entertaining, smartly written and directed film, that still raises that bar high up; it is an ultimate finale that is so satisfying.


    However, there are a few working factors that go against it. The long-bloated and heavily complicated arc storylines that felt compact in an exhausting 164 minutes run time could be a definite problem for some impatient audiences. Then, there is a tendency to not to help yourself by comparing Heath Ledger master performance as Joker with Tom Hardy’s Bane. This is not at the similar standard of the predecessor you would have ever wanted but The Dark Knight Rises is still the closest thing you got.

    Complex storyline makes this and every other Nolan’s movies, too smart for other comparative movies to sound even so. With Wally Pfister as the director of photography, The Dark Knight Rises gives the audiences a very commendable camerawork that allows wonderful shots to be taken and amazingly handled at all times. With more than a third of the movie is shot in IMAX, the features of several set pieces are indeed breathtaking. Working with Nolan, the team produces a very astonishing grandiose that even the curtain raiser involving the plane raid is so crazy to watch. The third act of the movie – the final 45 minutes of the movie is solely a dedication into the finale battle. The act is crazily made with a presentation that is so gripping on the edge of the seats, homage to the post 9/11 scenarios that are so haunting yet immersive.

    Since his win on the Oscar for his role on The Fighter, Christian Bale has ever stepped up his performance as the cape crusader in this feature. For once, the critics think that his portrayal was constantly outperformed by a villain but in this one, he finds a new balance to the character. Not only that, his titular performance as Batman is the essential emotional core that has the plenty to admire and to feel sorry for. It is a little underwhelming, however, that the villain Batman is facing is a step backward. Tom Hardy is an amazing actor. His performance as Bane offers more terrifying and horrifying experiences to the Gotham citizen, often in intimidating as well as mesmerizing but his character is underserved in charisma – something that Heath Ledger carried in his version of Joker.


    The other characters are amazing, nevertheless. Anne Hathaway gives a respectable version of the character Selina Kyle – coming in as one of the best impersonation of Catwoman ever. Joseph Gordon Levitt’s idealistic John Blake is tremendously intriguing and stern. As aforementioned, Michael Caine’s Alfred provides plenty of reasons for emotion despite missing more than half of the story. Lucius Fox (played by Morgan Freeman) remains calm, witty and offers some good one-liner when he is needed to. Gary Oldman’s great performance as Commissioner Gordon is also effective.

    In the end, The Dark Knight Rises does not reach the height of its predecessor but is still a potent movie that is smartly written, well-directed and well-acted. It also offers an epic and satisfying closing to one of the most beloved trilogy of all time with high ambition and visionary despite the bloated and perplexing multilayer story.

    MY RATING:
    Story: 4.5
    Casts: 5.0
    Cinematography: 5.0
    Effects: 5.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 18.9/20.0

    "The Dark Knight Rises" opens in cinemas nationwide in 2D and IMAX versions beginning July 19th. Thanks to P1 Wimax and TGV Cinemas for the special premier.
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