I wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to really do with this post because I’ve only seen The Dark Knight Rises once, and I believe that it, like all the other Christopher Nolan films, will improve on further viewing. Plus, I’m never a fan of spoilers and if you’ve managed to avoid them this long, you may have the increasingly rare experience of actually being surprised while watching a Hollywood film. So in the grand(?) tradition of a good Powerpoint slide, all I have for you at this point is notes toward a later review.
Although it’s not all action all the time, this film is extremely intense for most of the two hours and 45 minute running time. Nolan knows how to pump up the adrenaline; one of his most effective tools is Hans Zimmer’s score. The first part of the film (until Bruce Wayne makes his entrance) is deceptively slow; I believe this is Nolan’s way of telling the audience to pay extra attention to this introductory bit.
Nolan stated in the clip above that he wanted to make the scale of TDKR larger, more like a disaster movie or a silent film, and he definitely achieved that. But the film also works on a personal level. The acting, from both the returning cast and the new faces, is uniformly great.
Anne Hathaway makes Selina Kyle/Catwoman an entirely believable ethically-challenged 21st century woman, yet I thought I saw in her performance (and her look) an Old Hollywood grace imparted by her study of Hedy Lamarr (one of Batman creator Bob Kane’s inspirations for the character).
I have special affection for Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon. His interactions with Joseph Gordon-Levitt recall the best cop movies of the ’70s and ’80s.
Much has been made of the muffled nature of Bane’s verbal communication; however, as my mother always used to say, actions speak louder than words. I’ve read in other reviews that Bane could have been played by any big guy who can fight. I disagree. Though his words are at times unintelligible through the heavy-duty mask, Tom Hardy manages to give Bane a relaxed bearing, with a sort of Jamaican-sounding accent. His casual manner makes his brutal actions that much scarier.
Gordon-Levitt’s and Marion Cotillard’s roles were pleasant surprises — I think I thought they’d just have cameos. Both are excellent, though Gordon-Levitt has a larger role. JGL and Hathaway threaten to steal the entire movie and divvy it up between them. Perhaps they will get their own.
Nolan continues the thievery/pickpocketing motif he began so entertainingly with Inception. That’s all I will say at this point.