Arts & Events

The Dark Knight Rises will rise once more for Campus Films

As a Logger, critical thinking comes naturally, so it would be easy to say that my hopes for The Dark Knight Rises were tempered by an understanding that it could not possibly live up to the hype. Saying that my “excitement” was anything less than Nemo’s on the first day of school would have been a lie. Thus, the moment tickets went on sale, I snagged one for opening night.
The review of the movie that follows reflects my viewing of the film a second and third time, not my reaction as I left the theater after the premier as I was too hopped up on popcorn and Hans Zimmer adoration to form coherent sentences.
The best place to start with The Dark Knight Rises is actually at the end of the prior movie. Here is a hero, a savior, who is forced into early retirement after an unfortunate turn of events. Notions of how Gotham will treat Batman are left vague as The Dark Knight ends, but it is clear that times are changing and attitudes are shifting. This leaves the audience wondering, “How will this trilogy end if the main character does not want to come out of his bat cave?”
The Dark Knight Rises answers the questions from its prequel, even paying homage to some of the more memorable characters in the series. This is by no means a short movie, and with the extra time, the movie gets to bring back the successful elements of the prior films. Tying the film into its cinematic roots early gives the movie a legitimacy that quickly mollifies any concerns that it will be less epic than its predecessors.
In classic super hero fashion, there are multiple storylines happening simultaneously, with smaller battles coinciding in the larger picture. To his credit, Christopher Nolan, the director of the film, does an excellent job not confusing plotlines and making sure that the broader themes of the movie are not lost in the fray.
Of course, not everything goes well in Gotham. Bane runs around the city causing mayhem and searching for cough drops, Catwoman prances on the line between devilish and divine and the legacy of Harvey Dent slowly erodes.
The impending doom and ominous music are enough to pull Batman back from exile, although not without objection from Alfred. Once Batman puts the cape back on, the movie steps into high gear, twisting and turning through the unpredictable and chaotic world in which he lives.
The first in the trilogy, Batman Begins, was a true comic book movie, filled with cheesy lines and villains hell-bent on destruction for destruction’s sake. The Dark Knight was intense, toying with viewers’ emotion and challenging notions of good and evil.
This last film is a combination of the two, featuring sassy characters and sharp quips alongside serious questions of morality and duty. One style is not better than the other; if anything, the combination of the two produces the best outcome.
The actors mostly breathe very believable life into their characters, although at times the characters feel overacted, as though Michael Caine, Christian Bale and Tom Hardy were trying to give performances to match the fans’ expectations.
This falls in line with the rest of the movie—though fantastic in many ways, it can leave the viewer feeling underwhelmed due to the monumentally high expectations. Even when Morgan Freeman is excellent and Anne Hathaway is unexpectedly enjoyable, people can leave the theater feeling as though they have seen that movie before, that it was merely a redux of The Dark Knight.
Be excited for this movie—I was—but cautious, as it is only a movie. At the end of the day, high expectations are not going to make The Dark Knight Rises any better.