“Why do we fall Bruce?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final film in Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman franchise has finally come and the anticipation cannot be higher.  There’s something to be said for a film that carries the weight of its predecessors.  It bears a heavy weight on its shoulders.  Will it live up to expectations or will the expectations of the moviegoers be so high that no film can live up to it regardless of the quality of the product we’re given.  Thankfully though, we’re given the brilliant mind of Christopher Nolan to deliver us the third piece of this puzzle and complete this trilogy in the way it was meant to be completed.

Set 8 years after The Dark Knight where Batman takes the fall for murdering Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a bit of a recluse.  His knees have given up on him and his body is hurting.  Meanwhile, with all the good that’s happened in the city of Gotham, a new terror is emerging.  Bane (Tom Hardy), a rejected member of the League of Shadows is set to bring upon the end of Gotham as we know it.  Batman it seems has finally met his match.

Those of you who are familiar with the comics are familiar with the comic story of Bane and recognize that when Batman and Bane are first matched together, Batman is not fated to come out on top.  We know his character will fall and will need to rise.  But rise from the ashes he must and rise from the ashes he will.

Characters such as Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) provide some interesting fodder for Batman in this story.  Selina, searching for a way to clear her name and start anew, will stop at nothing to do so.  She’s a sort of “cat” burglar.  Or catwoman as one might say.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays John Blake.  He’s a cop that has Batman and Bruce Wayne all figured out.  There’s a bit of a twist in the last couple of scenes I won’t get at in this review, but it works out well.

Here’s where the film has some problems.  There’s a lot of story to be told in this film and while Nolan tries his best to be concise in telling the story, since there’s so much, he’s not able to do so in as clean of a way as he was in the first two films.  It’s just too much story for this film.  The film runs nearly 2 hours and 45 minutes in length and frankly could have, and should have been cut down to around 2 hours in length to trim the slow parts out of the film.  If this is the director’s cut then so be it, but for timing purposes alone, it needed some trimming.

The film is shot in IMAX and I have to say it looks absolutely stunning.  Nolan is one of the best directors when it comes to knowing how to use the IMAX footage to best serve his film.  He never over does it and each scene that is shot in IMAX deserves the attention entirely.

Christian Bale does another great job as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the film.  It’s got to be tough playing a masked character, but he pulls it off perfectly.  And Tom Hardy playing Bane pulls it off perfectly as well.  If not for the timing issues of this film, the film would be perfect.

While not a perfect end to the Batman legacy, this is certainly a satisfying, well deserved ending for our masked hero.  While I’m sure that I’m not the only one that would love it if Nolan would consider coming back for more, I am content and completely satisfied with this film to conclude his epic trilogy.  Well done Christopher.  We can’t wait for more!


Reel Film New Movie Review by Bill Ayres

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