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The Dark Knight Rises

Hi everyone, I know a lot of people here are writing reviews and I'm not sure if by adding my own opinions and reviews is a bit of an overkill but I kinda felt like putting my thoughts on a few movies to paper (or keyboard).

The Dark Knight Rises Dir. C. Nolan

Seven years after Christopher Nolan reinvented the superhero blockbuster with Batman Begins and 4 years after he blew almost every other comic book adaptation out of the water with The Dark Knight, Nolan's trilogy comes to an end in The Dark Knight Rises. This is without a doubt Nolan's biggest movie to date, clocking in at 165 minutes of what should have been pure, white knuckle excitement. Sadly, that is not the case.

Expectations were understandably high after the huge critical and commercial success of The Dark Knight. Nolan followed that up with the equally masterful Inception and all of a sudden the director of Memento and Insomnia had become the toast of Tinseltown. I was afraid that Nolan might lose track with 'Rises and create a big, bombastic yet lifeless movie, my fears were confirmed after I finally had a chance to watch it.

It's start off 8 years after the death of Harvey Dent and the exile of Batman. Gotham is a quieter place, more civilised, less crime and it seems, for the briefest moment at least, that Batman's sacrifice paid off. We're introduced to Commissioner Gordon struggling with the lie he has had to weave and Bruce Wayne living as a recluse. Yet we are never given enough time to connect with these slightly new, old acquaintances, before Bane and the very seductively beautiful Catwoman appear.

Both Tom Hardy and in particular Anne Hathaway deliver solid performances with Bane in particular coming across as a truly tragic creature, especially towards the end. Yet the characters that have been constructed so beautifully over the last 7 years felt weaker this time round. Gordon had less to do, spending a huge chunk of the movie in hospital and I don't want to spoil anything but he does get a larger chunk of the story at the end but apart from running and gunning he doesn't have the emotional draw his had for two previous movies.

All of that could have been forgiven if it was not for the fact that Nolan seems to forget about his title character, possibly due to the fact that he had to juggle a number of characters back and forth, some of which are entirely unnecessary. Now, back to the Batman/Bruce Wayne arc of the story, for too long are we treated to a hobbling Bruce, or a Bruce dancing, or a Bruce stuck in prison and less time is given to the main man himself, Batman. The costume is barely glimpsed throughout the entire movie and the film suffers. Has Nolan forgotten that he is still making a superhero movie, rather than a commentary on current social and economic problems?

I know most of this has sounded largely negative but there are some positives and the Dark Knight Rises is not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. There are a number of excellent action set pieces and the inclusion of a jet/helicopter hybrid known as The Bat gives Nolan the chance to put together some of the biggest and boldest action sequences in recent times. Another huge positive is the inclusion of John Blake, a young police office hell bent on putting an end to Gotham's oppression at the hands of Bane and co. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a wonderful job and the ending leaves behind a few very interesting scenarios, but I will not go into any of them here.

All in all, The Dark Knight Rises doesn't have the heart of Begins or the grand ambition of The Dark Knight but it is nonetheless a big, fun summer blockbuster...if you manage to turn off your brain. Unusual of a Nolan film but very typical of modern Hollywood.