The Dark Knight Rises - Review

I can't think of many other movies that i went to see that got that big of a hype like the final installment in the "Dark Knight Trilogy". Like many other people i got the feeling that i experienced every single aspect and day of production of this flick, mainly because every single little detail instantly got leaked onto the web making nerds all over the world go nuts. The hype after 2008's "The Dark Knight" was understandable but fairly ridiculous.
More than once there was the question, which big superhero movie this year was going to be the more successful one: "The Avengers" or "The Dark Knight Rises"?

Honestly, me personally, i don't care. There is going to be only one financially more successful movie but in the end it all comes down to personal taste.

Although at this point there has to be said that "TDKR" was under much muuuuuch more pressure than "The Avengers". "TDKR" is the sequel to one of the most highly praised comic book movies to date. How are you going to top this? You just don't. Right at the moment when i heard that there is a third Nolan-Batman movie coming, i knew that it's not going to be as great as "The Dark Knight". Because the surprise factor and the low expectations aren't there anymore. When every spotlight in the world is focused directly at you Mr. Nolan-Batman...-Movie, you are almost guaranteed to underwhelm. With "The Avengers" not being a direct sequel (Iron Man, Thor, etc. don't count), the Marvel movie had an easier job amazing fans.

However, let's get to business. Did Nolan succeed once again? Is it even possible to top "The Dark Knight"?

The plot:
Despite his tarnished reputation after the events of The Dark Knight, in which he took the rap for Dent's crimes, Batman feels compelled to intervene to assist the city and its police force which is struggling to cope with the terrorist Bane's plans to destroy Gotham City. (source: IMDb)

Let's get one thing out of the way first: "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" are both excellent movies that raised the bar for superhero movies period.

When i heard that Nolan chose Bane as Batman's next villain i was quite surprised. At that time i didn't know what a complex villain he was in the comics (Batman & Robin just dumbed him down). It was a promising choice for a villain and i had high hopes for that.
Additionally, the basic premise of an older and weaker Bruce Wayne who quit being Batman for many years is directly connected to Frank Miller's great Batman comic "The Dark Knight Returns" (they basically just changed the last word for the title). It's a great idea to take this as a last chapter for Nolan's Batman trilogy.

There's more to him than just this wrestling-mask.

Simply by judging the title it becomes clear that this third entry is all focused on character development. It's Batman's rise after his sacrifice that he made in the end of "TDK".
Sadly, exactly this main aspect is the point in which TDKR fails.

It's the prime example for a movie that has more story than it has character development. The big thing that hampers the character developments in TDKR is the fact that the motivations for ALL the characters (except maybe some minor ones) are very shallow and muddled.
The best example here is the new villain Bane:
Bane is given a fairly great backstory to strengthen his character. In fact, the scenes in which Bane's backstory is told are much more interesting than watching the actual scenes with Bane. He is a villain that is much more intimidating in a way of strength than evil plans and complexity like the Joker.
And here comes the problem: The movie still tries very very hard to make Bane a much more complex and planning character than he actually is. His motivations to destroy Gotham are extremely muddled, mostly unlogical and in more than one way the exact same plan as the Joker's in TDK.
More than once the audience will get the feeling that the villains change their goals or plans without any logical reason (plot convenience).
Bane is more of a classic standard Batman villain although he WANTS to be more. In the end the audience will get that it's just an illusion of complexity that just simply isn't there.
Especially towards the final showdown you are asking yourself what the hell each side is exactly fighting for.

Joker's motivations were much more clear. He was a maniac. He just wanted to see the world burn. His only point was just to show how people act when they are pushed to their limits. But Bane's motivations jump around from complete chaos to proving a communism-like point to yet another thing.
The joker actually had some points that you could agree with or at least understand, but with Bane you are constantly like "Oh well, eeeeeh ok? But why? And why did you do this and that then?"

"Let's fight GQ COVERS!!"

Considering that the movie takes extremely much time for its exposition (about the entire first hour feels very very slow because of that) there is just so much said that doesn't lead to anything. The feel of Bruce Wayne being once again on a "character journey" that will lead to his RISING just isn't there.TDKR wants to be Bruce Wayne's journey from his fall to his rising but you dont really feel that there is any development. The "mental rising" that Bruce goes through is extremely underwhelming for a movie that completely focuses on this plot point.

It comes down to TDKR not having a really strong character to focus on (although it should've been Batman). In "Batman Begins" it was Bruce Wayne, in "TDK" it was the Joker,'s not even Bane. Just nobody really.

Additionally; TDKR is shockingly loaded with a good amount of plot holes. I won't list them one by one here but for a movie like TDKR that focuses on being very realistic that's kind of distracting. I won't even need to tell you the plot holes because EVERYBODY will instantly spot them at sight.

But those negative story aspects aside for now, the basic story is solid and the movie is technically very well made. The cinematography is great. The action is captured very well and of course the acting is for the most part excellent too. The story of TDKR even includes aspects of popular Batman comic book story arcs that gave me some true "nerd-satisfaction". The story obviously doesn't follow a specific story arc all the way through but instead incorporates various little aspects of them and puts those nicely together while at the same time managing to put one or two pretty effective story twists in there as well. Good job Nolan.

Another great addition: The Bat

Yet a big issue is that this movie very heavily tries to force a conclusion to a "supposedly intended" trilogy.
While "Batman Begins" and TDK were standlone movies with a standalone story, all of a sudden TDKR tries to connect everything together as if every one of the movies was right from the start planned as a trilogy, which simply isn't true. And this gets nowhere so clear than in this third movie.
The thing is that Bane's motivations and the entire plot tries so hard to be connected with the first movie that it makes the second one almost entirely pointless (except MAYBE the Harvey Dent thing). It makes the entire story with the Joker and the Joker character himself completely useless and pointless (and no this has nothing to do with Heath Ledger's death). TDK affected TDKR's story a max. of maybe 5%.

I was always worried that TDKR would suffer the same problems that Spider-Man 3 suffered as well:
Too many characters.

And to some degree that's the case. There are easily one or two characters that i would have completely gotten rid off and not missed one damn thing. First in line: Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
Aside from her costume looking ridiculous (seriously it's almost as bad as Halle Berry's) and Anne Hathaway being completely miscast, she has extremely little purpose in this movie and is for the most part distracting and just unnecessary. Hathaway is a great actress but i didn't enjoy one single minute of Selina Kyle in this movie.But that's maybe just my opinion. (The only great Catwoman still is Michelle Pfeiffer!)

Seriously, it looks like a cheap halloween costume from Wal-Mart.

Another problem with the acting i had was Tom Hardy's Bane. Why does Bane have to speak like a British Bond villain. He so much wants to be a rough but planning and complex villain and then there is that stupid and unintentionally funny voice. I mean, he is just hamming it up. But luckily it's at a certain level that you get "kind of" used to his voice, although it still takes away much of his menace. Talk about doing terrorism like a sir *badum tss*.

After all those negative aspects you might be sure that i hated this movie. But i didn't.
To be honest, i was pretty entertained. It's easy to ramble about all those little things in the story when you know that the predecessor was just so phenomenally great.
Even with all those negative aspects and nitpicks, TDKR is still a better movie than most of the action trash that Hollywood spits out. It's just that if you compare TDKR with Nolan's previous works, it's easy to say that TDKR by far is one of his weakest achievements.
Most of the time, this overlong final chapter rides on the just-for-spectacles-sake-train and therefore puts most of the complexity and thought, that made the previous movies great, in the backseat.

It's a movie that very obviously could have been much much better and done a good amount more justice to ending the trilogy. While the final showdown is pretty good, the actual ending can only be described as "okay" and "decent".

This final chapter in the Nolan-trilogy won't bring the franchise any new fans nor is it the great conclusion that everybody hoped for, but considering how high the expectations were, it holds up fairly well. It's a solid summer-action blockbuster and an "okay"-ending to the Dark Knight Trilogy.

Final Verdict: 7 out of 10 


  1. Ich denke der charakter der dem zuschauer als hauptsächliche identifikationsfigur dient, aus wessen sicht die motive und anreize gegben werden, dass ist der hitzige herr detektiv ;)

    1. Der hat zwar schon eine größere Rolle aber ist trotzdem eher eine Nebencharakter und bei weitem nicht genug im Vordergrund um einer der Hauptcharaktere zu sein denke ich. Aber ist schon einer der interessantesten des films. Das stimmt