Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

As if this one needs an introduction. We’d hoped to see it at the IMAX as I saw the first two episodes there. Unfortunately, you have to book at least a day in advance at the Glasgow one due to their steam-powered booking system (assuming you can even find it on their web site). Also, simply due to popularity, the film is booked out for every evening performance until the middle of this week – and with Littler Miss working her way down the birth canal slower than a barge through treacle, we can’t risk blowing the cash on something we may not be able to get to. So, off to Parkhead we went. Oh, and with no concerns about trying to find a 2D showing as there was no crappy, revenue-driven urge to produce a 3D version of the film. Thank you director Christopher Nolan for putting your foot down about that one.

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. The film follows on very closely from the end of The Dark Knight, with prisoners incarcerated as a result of the Harvey Dent Act. Gotham is free of organised crime and, as a result, the mysterious Batman has disappeared. However, this is Gotham. And this is a trilogy. So something has to happen.

Cue villain-of-the-moment Bane, born of darkness and out to destroy Batman – and Gotham City while he’s at it. It’s difficult to go too much further without giving anything much away so I’ll leave it at that and focus on the overall quality of the film. Before you see it, though, this excellent article on ScreenRant is worth a read. It’s pretty much spoiler-free!

There’s no denying the acting pedigree of the cast. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine return as Fox and Alfred respectively. Two of the most respected actors of their generation, and deservedly so. Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, takes on a major part of the story. As well as an ensemble cast, it’s a multi-faceted story which ensures these people aren’t just background to Christian Bale‘s hoarse whispering Batman and Tom Hardy‘s muffle-voiced Bane.

Ah, yes. Bane. Huge, scary but often hard to understand. On the whole, I got most of what he said but there were some lines I just didn’t catch. In fairness, Batman was just as unintelligible one a small handful of instances.

The film runs for a long time – 2hrs 45 mins, in fact. Be prepared for a long sit and don’t expect a thrill a minute or a bucket of laughs between the action sequences. Dark Knight Rises is a dark film – very dark. Unrelenting in places. It could be worse. Some of the death scenes are cut away from rather abruptly which is probably what’s earned it the 12A rating in the UK rather than a 15.

The action and effects are, as expected, fantastic. They’re not as “big” as those in, say, Avengers Assemble, but they’re more gritty. Having said that, I found the fight sequences lacking a little something, perhaps because the two main proponents (Bane and Batman) are so heavily padded. Anne Hathaway‘s Selina Kyle (she’s not referred to as Catwoman at all during the film) are actually slightly better to watch and not just because she fills a leather outfit so well.

Expectations are bound to be high for this film and mainly as the last film was, simply put, absolutely outstanding. However, you’re never going to get that chemistry again. In fairness, all three films in the trilogy have aimed to be different as well and bearing that in mind, Dark Knight Rises is successful. It’s not like the other two, it is an intellectual level apart from other superhero films and it’s very much a wonderful piece of work.

However, it’s also not as good as I was hoping. Some of the dialogue just clunked for me and I think I was expecting more of the action scenes. I do think I’d have enjoyed it more visually if we’d caught it at the IMAX, but that’s only the visuals. The pace would still have been slow and Dark Knight would still be kicking it for overall quality.

It’s good. In fact, it’s very good. But it’s not the utterly amazing classic it’s been built up to be. It’s really only let down by its own hype and the expectations put upon it by the second episode in the series.

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