THE DARK KNIGHT RISES aims to be RETURN OF THE KING with its grand scale visuals and big battle in the streets with an army of cops charging an army of crooks. The story heads to an epic conclusion for the Batman. Things are going to end either good or badly. But ultimately it slips a bit with its story execution and surprisingly lackluster direction. I expected a near perfect film with the mistakes from the past ironed out. But, no. There actually seems to be even more. DKR isn't a bad movie. It isn't a major disappointment. But it could have been so much better. It's strange to see such a big movie with great talent behind and in front of the camera flounder and mostly miss the emotional beats of the film. This one mostly misses the mark. Mostly.
The story involves Batman fighting to save Gotham from Bane and his devoted mercenaries. There are good character moments throughout the film that keep DKR from crashing and burning into Van Helsing craptacularness territory. Gordon is really good dealing with the conflict of having to praise Harvey Dent the guy who almost killed his son just to give Gotham their hero. It's a small part of the story but it adds significant weight to a way over the top exaggerated plot. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman was surprisingly great and one of the best additions to this Batman Trilogy. Her scenes stand out from all the rest and I kind of wish she was in the previous instalments of this franchise. She makes everything better and it is kind of cool watching her fight side by side with Batman. Bane is a large scary beast. He presents Batman with his most menacing foe ever. Joseph Gordon Levitt is always good in everything he does. This movie is no exception. I like Christian Bale as Batman and he has some good drama with Michael Caine. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES takes some good character risks and breaks the mold for how a Batman movie should end. There is a lot to like. But there is a lot to dislike too. Alot!
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I actually thought it was pretty great - but then, I went in with semi-low expectations because I thought there was no way it would live up to the second.
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