Am I really doing a review of The Dark Knight Rises? I’m saying it’s probably one of those movies that doesn’t need a review. It’s the third in an already high quality series of a modern telling of Batman’s story. Batman, he’s been around for several decades, a Juggernaut of 20th century myth and legend. Putting it in the hands of a director like Christopher Nolan is the equivalent of taking a deep breath of satisfaction, anticipation, and movie watching pleasure. Ahhhhhhh
Nolan takes a character who is obviously complex and interesting and gives him the respect he deserves. This is not the Batman of my childhood. The reruns after school stuck between The Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy of the crazy colorful, zany, campy were awesome. The dark brooding, riddled with self-reflection Bruce Wayne, with the gritty city of Gotham, and villains I love to enjoy secretly, all comes together in a way that thrills me. I like that feeling, that deep breath and uncontrollable smile at the end of a movie that reflects a certain indescribable explosion going on inside my mind. Movies make me think, make me feel happy, make me annoyed, inspired, entertained, something, ANYTHING…I like my movies to make me feel. Nolan’s Batman’s spark this excitement.
Don’t let me forget to mention one little thing, Cat Woman steals the show! Hathaway is always good, totally underrated, or at the very least, not noticed for the quality she brings to every part she plays. She brings a solid, bold, believable and interesting woman into the role of our cheeky villain/anti-villain. I want more more more more. I want a Cat Woman movie with Hathaway, maybe more than one.
The Dark Knight Rises is clearly not a new story. Fine. It’s a refined tale of redemption, revenge, heroism, choices, love and devotion. The heroism is actually not what you might think. I would say Alfred shows the most courage through this whole series, and in this installment it gets even more intense. Just watch it to see for yourself.
As for the redemption and revenge, of course it’s not a revelation. It’s a comic book story so it’s part of that world. What makes this stand out is that it’s wrapped with excellent performances, amazing special effects, lovely exciting vehicles (and I don’t give a hoohaa about vehicles), that rousing feeling of defending your way of life, your home, everything. I don’t care about Gotham, it can fall apart as far as I’m concerned, but I find myself caring more and more and more as Nolan takes me on the journey of his Batman and Wayne.
Overall I say watch all three of these movies, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, in a three-day effort, and then a week later do it again. They are all better the second time around, and even more entertaining. Don’t be mistaken, I’m not saying these are life changing, world shattering films of great importance, however, they skirt the edge of those a tiny bit in terms of how a movie lover sees the world.
- The Batmobile – This is a superb documentary that runs just over an hour. Learn about the evolution of the Batmobile from the 30’s all the way up to today. Interviews with all the directors involved and some of the people who own Batmobiles are here. This is a must see.
- Production – Over an hour of featurettes these include The Prologue: High-Altitude Hijacking, Return to the Batcave, Beneath Gotham, The Bat, Batman vs. Bane, Armory Accepted, Gameday Destruction, Demolishing a City Street, The Pit, The Chant, The War on Wall Street and Race to the Reactor. Everything here is interesting with some great interviews with Christopher Nolan.
- Characters – Another three featurettes that cover Bruce Wayne, Bane & Selina Kyle.
- Trailer Archive – All the teaser trailers and theatrical trailers that made YOU want to see the movie.
- Second Screen App – A second screen app (Android & Apple) which syncs with the movie to show you production photos and concept art. I have noticed that Blu-Rays seem to have ditched BDlive and started including these instead not sure which I prefer.
- DVD & UV Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I don’t want the image on the cover to be a poster in my house. Do you know why? Blah. The menu is themed but nothing too distracting. Just skip over it and get to the movie.
Audio & Video: 7/10
Like The Dark Knight before it The Dark Knight Rises uses varying aspect ratios (2.40:1 & 1.78:1) to preserve the Imax theatrical version of the movie, this gives the movie an uneven look as obviously the Imax scenes look better. There are also problems how dark the shadows are in the film, I know the movie has dark in the title but shadow detail is pretty much crushed out of the picture thanks to some aggressive contrast. On the plus side though this image is sharp as can be with subtle details on faces revealed in the daylight scenes and there are no signs of digital artifacting or banding in sight.
The showcase of the disc though its the stellar 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. This is an aggressive LFE heavy monstrosity that will simply rip apart your home theater and then some. From the outset (the opening scenes resembles something out of a Bond movie) you know you are in for a treat with thundering Jet engines and when Bane speaks you really know Bane has arrived. Special note must be made to Hans Zimmer’s score which is always in focus and often overpowering.
Does it really matter how much this costs? I mean, to you, the Batman lover? I think these should be about 10 bucks a piece. So, you can get the three movie set for about $30 online, so there ya go. Keep looking and waiting, you will find this movie on sale and it’s a good buy since I see it as a multi-watch experience.
Overall Score 8.5/10