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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – Quick Reviews From The Staff

The Dark Knight Rises is without a doubt the biggest movie of the year. While it “only” had the third biggest opening weekend in history, it’s 2D-only release means that it actually sold more tickets than the top 2. We here at Screen Invasion were excited for the flick and most of the staff caught it in its opening weekend or earlier. While we all wanted to share our thoughts on the film, posting dozens of full length reviews seemed like overkill. Below are the staff’s brief reviews on Christopher Nolan’s closing chapter to his Batman trilogy. If you’ve seen the film, be sure to check out our Spoiler Report as well.

 

[box_dark]Nick DeLorenzo, @nick_delorenzo[/box_dark]

Christopher Nolan has forever changed the way we judge the superhero movie by stripping away the campy, colorful fun we’re used to. Instead, he uses a familiar hero and a blockbuster budget to create his mysterious and terrifying brand of arthouse thriller.

While it’s nearly impossible to live up to 2008’s The Dark Knight — which gave us Heath Ledger’s immortal performance as The Joker and a chaotic, random, and brutal look at a Dickensian Gotham City — The Dark Knight Rises is all the more impressive considering it had to grow out of its predecessor’s shadow.

TDKR is about a failed system in desperate need of its people to rise up and take action. It’s about the incredible pain felt with the loss of hope only to see yourself out the other side a better person. An unrelenting and distracting musical score aside, TDKR is a great conclusion to perhaps the best trilogy in film history.

Rating: 4/5

[box_dark]Daniel Johnson, @danfish42[/box_dark]

The Dark Knight Rises is in many ways the Return of the Jedi of Nolan’s Batman trilogy.  Jedi is probably the Star Wars (original trilogy) film that got watched most often by my friends and myself as a kid; but as I matured a bit, I started to realize there were things I did not like about it as much as, say, the far emotionally richer Empire Strikes Back.  Jedi’s pacing is uneven, there are some meandering plot detours, and a few elements that are just flat-out stupid (Ewoks!).  But at the same time it features a hands-down epic space battle (albeit one similar to the first film), and wraps the saga up on all the right emotional notes.

The Dark Knight Rises is like this too.  It postures itself as if to deal with real-world allegories of economic collapse and the “Occupy” movement, but it’s ultimately just another “stop-the-villain-from-blowing-everything-up!” plot.  Compared to the complex and intricate machinations of The Joker, Bane just feels like a cookie-cutter villain.  He’s a formidable opponent for Batman, but he’s not unpredictable.  And while there are a few twists and turns to be had, fans of the comics will see most of them coming a mile away.

However newcomers to the cast are all great.  I felt some trepidation about Anne Hathaway in particular, but her Selina Kyle steals the show.  And on a technical level of filmmaking the movie is jaw-dropping, and a huge leap from Batman Begins, which now looks like a student film by comparison.  But while Batman Begins may have been a smaller film, the themes in it (and those in Nolan’s masterwork The Dark Knight) were stronger and more layered.  In The Dark Knight Rises, we have a sequence where Batman shows his rise back into greatness by LITERALLY rising out a giant hole in the ground…for Nolan this is pretty obvious subtext, and I expect more from him.

But regardless, when Batman was onscreen fighting the bad guys and rescuing Gotham, I was thrilled.  And the final five minutes, tying up the loose ends to Bruce Wayne’s story, left me breathless.  Going back to Star Wars, Jedi may not be the best film of the bunch, but it’s still one I find immensely entertaining and have seen over and over again.  The Dark Knight Rises will probably get the same treatment.  It isn’t the best of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but it’s probably the best blockbuster this year (sorry Avengers!), and it sends Batman off in style.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

[box_dark]Sean Guard, @Sean_Guard[/box_dark]

Does it live up to the mega-ultra-completely-out-of-this-world-slap-your-mother-in-the-face hype that everyone has placed on it since last year? I’m not sure any film can. But this one quite possibly comes the closest. The bigger and most important question in my opinion is this: Does it provide an ending that we can all be proud of? The answer: As difficult as it is in general to end any franchise that has created not only popularity but sheer respect from fan-boys to fellow filmmakers but then throw in the fact that it’s Batman…I say yes. Yes, it does. I personally think the last few moments of the film are some of the greatest pre-post credits minutes to wrap up not just a film but a mega-franchise that we’ve been exposed to in a while. Good luck to the next crew that tackles the Batman character. You definitely have your work cut out for you.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

[box_dark]Kevin Taylor, @tayke2[/box_dark]

Christoper Nolan had a pretty tough job on his hands. I mean, how do you follow up the perfect movie? It was a tall task, and as we’ve come to expect from Nolan, he hasn’t disappointed. It’s impossible right now to ask whether Rises was a better film. I don’t think it was, but years from now I can tell you. My focus now is that it was an admirable follow up. It did it’s job: It wrapped the franchise up well while still giving us an amazing film.

Tom Hardy deserves a lot of credit. He is as physically intimidating as Joker was mentally. He provides a hateful character, who will stop at nothing for destruction. I won’t give anymore away, but I have to point out one thing: the football scene. I’ve joked with friends that the football scene was all I was there for. As soon as that happened, I was going to be satisfied. And yes, it was THAT epic. Can’t wait for everyone to see that shot. Amazing.

It was not a perfect film, but it was close. It was a great ending to an epic trilogy.

Rating: 4.5/5

[box_dark]Casey Carroll, @Casey_Carroll[/box_dark]

Finally, we all get to see TDKR. I was obviously just as excited as every other fan of the Nolan trilogy but I was hesitant in a way. I, like most people, absolutely loved The Dark Knight and could not imagine trying to outdo what Heath Ledger achieved in that film. Let me go ahead and say it. I like TDK better than TDKR hands down. Don’t get me wrong, TDKR was another amazing film from Nolan. I did have just a few minor problems with TDKR. Bane drove me crazy. His voice, even though Nolan ‘fixed’ it from the original voice recording, still sounded very odd to me. The only other minute thing that kind of put me off was the off hand moments when Nolan tried to interject a little comedy into a scene. It didn’t work once for me. I thought it felt corny and cheap especially after seeing Joss Whedon’s Avenger’s this year. It’s hard to top nerd god that Whedon is on his abilities to infuse comedy at the divine opportunities.

Overall, TDKR is fantastic! I wish Nolan could have had his way with the total length of the film and released that rumored 4 hour cut but 2 hours and 45 minutes is acceptable. I hope they put tons of the cut footage on the blu-ray like the extended LOTR blu-rays. Nolan’s ability to capture so much on camera at once is mind blowing. As a young filmmaker myself, watching a film by this filmmaking genius is like a month in film school. It’s safe to say I will be seeing TDKR multiple more times in theaters and will be a proud owner of that Blu-Ray the day it is released.
Rating: 5/5

[box_dark]Malcom Foster, @iammalkovich[/box_dark]

When it comes to hype there are high expectations and then there’s The Dark Knight Rises. The third and final act to Christopher Nolan’s reincarnated vision of Batman, has been a long time coming and during that wait it’s generated a metric ton of anticipation. But rather than just equal the bar placed before it, The Dark Knight Rises elevates it to a whole new level. It’s an epic, cinematic experience that shocks, awes and leaves the viewer perched firmly on the edge of their seat. On top of that Nolan has created a gripping end to easily one of cinemas greatest trilogies. The final chapter see’s the hero we deserve broken, rebuilt and risen from the ashes of Gotham. Fuelled by retribution, justice, and hope framed within a wide scope of imagination and garnished with a dash of ambiguity, The Dark Knight Rises has all the ingredients needed for a modern day masterpiece.

Rating: 5/5

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