'The Dark Knight Rises' Review By slysnide

What a lovely voice.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
"26: Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27: At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28: When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."--Luke (26-28)

"Gotham! Take control of your city! We are not conquerors. We are liberators. I have no authority here. Those who'll join us, step forward. Witness the next era of Western civilization. I am Gotham's reckoning."--Bane

Cults are dangerous. I can't reiterate that enough. But Nolan and company channeled that energy better than anyone could've anticipated. I knew I'd be finding some type of philosophical message here as Nolan has presented us in the previous two films, but never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd channel the second coming of the messiah. And no, I'm not talking about Batman. So once again, the title of the film is ambiguous, this time referring to five different characters. And the concept of 'RISE' is felt like an earthquake throughout the film. From Batman's first reemergence in eight years to Bruce Wayne's climb from the Lazarus Pit to his duel in the rotunda of Gotham City Hall. Even when Bane strides out of City Hall commandingly between the greek styled columns. Symbolism runs rampant in this film.

Christian Bale gives his best dual performance in the trilogy as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He's a broken man mentally and physically after his self exile and his journey through the film is a tough one. Especially when you consider the fact that he only dons the cape and cowl three times in a 164 minute film; the first two times being very brief. Point being this is Bruce Wayne's story of redemption. And not just from the circ*mstances of his self exile. Batman on the other hand exists more as a symbol from Gothamites speaking of him, and chalk symbols appearing all around the city during the long occupation. So as mentioned in the original film, Batman is truly a symbol, and his minimal screen time, though constant symbolic presence represents that better than ever before in the films or television series. As such, Batman is synonymous with many of the equally symbolic greek heroes of legend, who square off against their godly competitors for what is good and right rather than what's obedient or submissive. But the ultimate triumph is that unlike in most superhero films where you're just amped for the climax, in this film you find yourself truly cheering for Batman more than you've ever routed for such a character to RISE before.

Tom Hardy exceeds the role of a 'classic movie monster' as Nolan put it, for they typically aren't as intellectual as Bane. Hardy isn't as memorable as Ledger's Joker, but he shouldn't be aiming to be more memorable anyway. He's a completely different character who can't be compared to previous villains. Ledger's Joker was a cerebral villain, whereas Hardy's Bane is a physical one who shares Joker's intellect. For while Bane really packs a punch and delivers the best fisticuffs fights in cinema history, he really takes it to a whole new level psychologically as the fallen angel. A devil and tragic villain; far more so than Harvey Dent could ever hope to be perceived. He represents the second coming of the messiah. Ra's Al Ghul's dream of a new eden rising from the ashes of tyranny as many biblical story lines have done repeatedly. Like Noah or Jesus for example. Bane is just another one of these vessels. A dangerous mind yes. Insane cultist, maybe. However, his backstory showcases to the best extent life on the other side of the fence. Just as Carmine Falcone cautioned Bruce in "Batman Begins" (2005), there is always a darker side to life. And it's typically more tragic. Bane is the best representation of this. He's a biblical figure, and a messiah in his own right, seeking to bring about a new eden for all, and like Noah, Jesus, Muhammed, and any number of other cult figures, he welcomes anyone to join him on his quest. Granted there are a few explosive secrets he keeps to himself, but the willingness of the masses to join the cause and follow his philosophy renders that point moot, for if the masses join you in the revolution, then it doesn't matter what becomes of them physically, for you've already won them psychologically. Their souls are yours to keep. Hence, Bane is a messiah from these religions, who like them had to RISE from his own darkness to attain his glory, and just like them, represents a delusional darkness and brings with him a new breed of vicious tyranny that he's blind to in his dedication to his cause. And where the cultists fail psychologically, it will be the sane good man who will RISE and restore the peace and order.

Beat cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) are just such sane good men. While Blake seeks to keep the peace to uphold justice, Gordon seeks to keep the peace for the betterment of humanity through this dark secret he's kept for eight years. A secret which has now come back to haunt him in the worst ways possible. And like Bruce Wayne and Bane, these two cops will RISE from their own dark pasts for redemption on Gordon's part, and sheer dedication to what's good and right on Blake's part.

Lastly, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) is the master jewel thief who preys on the privileged not out of greed, but necessity. She too recognizes the concept of life on the other side of the fence having lived it herself. And her journey begins as a pathway to a new beginning, and ironically she seeks to attain it through aiding a massive project which seeks to bring about a 'new beginning' of a different caliber--which I took issue with given her great resourcefulness and ability to thrive well enough already. But through the film, this sassy self serving cat burglar will change course by taking the pathway to redemption in an attempt to RISE above her past demons. And like all other classic characters of the Batman universe, she's been Nolanized.

The visual splendor and sheer scale of the film are worth it alone, even if you've never seen the previous films, nor cared much about the world of Batman. Everything that could be done for real was, and the stunt work and extensive planning which had to go into this is really showcased even more so than in "The Dark Knight" (2008) which topped the action set by its predecessor. Going into any more detail than that would serve no purpose. You just have to see this film. It's yet another achievement in the action genre. The digital effects that were in the film were subtle, and the editing and sound design was magnificent.

However, the film is not without its drawbacks, such as including certain twists just for the sake of having one as the character(s) involved are almost too new for us to care and serve only to downgrade the independence of the other giants in this film. Not to mention making the final point of contention a McGuffin rather than character drama. Nolan usually isn't one for cheese, but he tapped some here. Also with the sheer amount of conveniences for the villains, and a few lapses in story logic which needed to be addressed. However at the same time, these cheesy elements don't drawback from the overall symbolism of the film as a whole. But they do strike at the absolute wrong times.

In the end, Nolan set out to reinvent the Batman Mythos, and he's done a remarkable job at it. The realism and symbolism has set the bar incredibly high. Marvel hit a home run in this department with "Iron Man" (2008), but hasn't come close on any other endeavor, and probably won't anytime soon. So for now, be glad you were around to follow the journey of the caped crusader through the darkness and into the light. For who knows if we'll ever see a saga as wholly impressive ever again.

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Comments (26)

  1. Zak Lee Ferguson

    i want to kiss you @slysnide i really do- what a grandeur read- oh my goodness- thank god i read this!

    2 years agoby @Zak-Lee-FergusonFlag


    @slysnide haha it's ok... I'm discrete about those little details!

    3 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  3. slysnide

    @mcleve02: Oh yeah. I missed that. :P

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag


    @slysnide haha I know, I was kidding! That's why I made a face with a blinker!

    3 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  5. slysnide

    @mcleve02: I don't know about that. He seemed to be content with strangling or hanging Batman and dying along with the rest of the city when the neutron bomb went off.

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag


    @the-movieghost@bawnian-dexeus@slysnide Yeah, but one awesome nail in the coffin... I imagine it's how Bane wanted to go... ;)

    3 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  7. the MovieGhost

    @slysnide Interesting view on all that, I hadn't considered it until reading that comment of yours.

    @bawnian-dexeus Wasn't it though? Lol

    3 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  8. slysnide

    @mcleve02: True. Some blogger mentioned that Batman breaking Bane's mask, kicking him through the doors of City Hall, and pounding him till saying "...then you'll have my permission to die" really symbolized Bane's defeat, with the batpod being the final nail in the coffin.

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag


    @slysnide nice review! But maybe with How badly Bane was beating Batman, that was really the only way he was going to be beaten!

    3 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  10. slysnide

    Thanks @ghostman! I said the same in reply to @corey's review of it.

    @twistedsmile: Totally agreed man. The scope of what Bane does in Gotham was so huge it seemed improbable to rise up against him victoriously. Yet in a way, Bane still wins since this shocking 3 month occupation will certainly reshape Gotham for the better. And with Batman's newfound martyrdom being legit, then Gotham has certainly turned a new leaf to become the eden the League of Shadows wanted it to be. Likewise, Joker gets what he wanted with the revelation of Dent's crimes reigning in city wide anarchy. So I really liked those aspects of it.

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  11. Ghostman

    @slysnide Excellent in depth review, Don't know how i'll live up to your's!

    3 years agoby @ghostmanFlag

  12. Twisted Smile

    @the-movieghost@slysnide I am in agreement with both of you when it came to the final battle. I was let down in a way by how quickly it was over and I personally wanted that "hope is lost" feel as Bane battled Batman. I wanted to feel like there was no way he could win even coming back, but then, before it's over he "rises" to the occasion and defeats Bane. I didn't get that. I enjoyed the review :) Well done!

    3 years agoby @twistedsmileFlag

  13. slysnide

    @the-movieghost: True. I figured they thought they could get away with that cause they passed off the torch of the main villain to Talia. And to have such a badass get served like that was amusing, yet it should've been dramatic. And Talia wasn't satisfying enough to be given the more dramatic exit from the film. But alas, the curse of the threequel! :P

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  14. the MovieGhost

    @slysnide Well "appropriate" as it may have been, it was still somewhat of a let-down. To see such a prominent villain taken out like that, *Snaps fingers*.

    3 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  15. slysnide


    @the-movieghost: I befriended a fanboy sitting next to me in IMAX, and we talked a lot about the comics and Nolan's take on it. And when the fight scenes got underway we were like "Oh Damn!" and "wow" and "Jesus!" out loud in the theater. Nobody else cared, but we were getting really giddy while watching these fights, and just as the Knightfall move got underway, he quietly and quickly said "he's gonna do it he's gonna do it" and then when it happened "Ah Damn! Nice Nice." Oh yeah, and lots of "Nice" and "Badass" between us. We were really getting into it. Especially when Bane does that lightning round of punches into Batman against the column. We were both caught off guard by Bane's sudden demise. It was so appropriate. It was a taste of what would've happened had Batman taken on Joker's challenge to run him down in the street. And I say taste since Catwoman used the cannons on the front to do him in.

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  16. the MovieGhost

    @slysnide The speed of the final fight, and the absolute visceral nature of the first fight between Batman & Bane, sent my jaw to the theater floor.

    3 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  17. slysnide

    Thanks @skywise@ejk1@vampire2000@the-movieghost@diaigma@bawnian-dexeus. I'll get to all your reviews too.

    Thanks @comicbookfan: And yes, Bane does the Knightfall move, and his sheer speed at delivering punches in the final duel was jaw dropping. I'd never seen anything like it. NML is prevalent in Bane's 3 month occupation of Gotham with streets deserted, buildings ransacked, and all the explosives having turned the city into what appears to be the aftermath of a war zone.

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  18. Vamp

    @slysnide Excellent review! Glad to see that you enjoyed it! If you get the chance, you'll have to read my review for it! :)

    3 years agoby @vampire2000Flag

  19. skywise

    @slysnide awesome review. I love the attention to the symbolism. I saw it as a simple class stuggle but as usual you dug a little deeper. Great review.

    3 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  20. ejk1

    Great in-depth review, Sly.

    3 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  21. CBF

    Great work on the review, sly. I already knew I wasn't going to like this film very much. If Bane does what he did in Knightfall to Bats and parts of No Man's Land happens to Gotham, they may be highlights for me but that may be it.

    3 years agoby @comicbookfanFlag

  22. the MovieGhost

    Well that certainly is an interesting start and way to look at this Film. Well-written my friend.

    3 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  23. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    My word.....Great read

    3 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  24. Diaigma

    Brilliant review. Sums up my feelings for this film exactly :)

    3 years agoby @diaigmaFlag