The Score: "From The Moment 'Dark Knight Rises' Opens, It Is Visually Bold & Masterfully Placed"

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 12:05PM

Written by J. Bachelor

THE SCORE
THE SCORE 7/10
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  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman
  • July 20, 2012
Daily Mail 2/5
Denver Post 3.5/5
Dallas News B+
Film4.com 4.5/5

He has risen. Bruce Wayne is back to save Gotham City from the forces of evil yet again, as the highly anticiapated film The Dark Knight Rises officially lands in theaters today.

Batman has been out of commission for some time, and must also battle a few inner demons, as the fate of his beloved city rests in his hands.

Something is rotten in the city of Gotham. An uneasy peace, founded on a tenuous lie, has allowed business as usual to flourish. And by business, we do mean business: big business, as in "protecting the interests of", cued up visually as the film opens with a dapper crowd being served canapés by waiting staff on an appreciably different rung of the ladder. Later, Anne Hathaway's cat burglar Selena Kyle silkily promises: "You're all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."(Film4)

Christopher Nolan is back in the big seat as director, picking the story up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight

From the moment "The Dark Knight Rises" opens, it is visually bold and masterfully paced. Sure it clocks in at Nolan's preferred 2 ½ hour runtime, but the wildly choreographed action set-pieces are punctuated with character revealing pauses. The director and cowriter/brother Jonathan Nolan pay heed to Wayne's wounded emotional arc. And the film is a feat of painstakingly crafted closure. Although Nolan knows that "closure" is a provisional notion.(The Denver Post)

This time around, the Caped Crusader squares off against foreign foe Bane, who, like enemies of the past, has more than his fair shair of dark secrets.

"There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne," whispers Anne Hathaway's cat burglar. "You and your friends better batten down the hatches, 'cause when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large, and leave so little for the rest of us." She's not the only one who has mastered messaging. Bad guy Bane -- the bane of all our existence, as played by Tom Hardy in a mouth guard that'll give fanboys orthodontist nightmares -- has his anti-government rhetoric down so pat, he can make a new Bastille Day sound vaguely reasonable.(NPR)

The war remains in the streets this time around, as Bane's explosive plans threatens the lives of every citizen in Gotham.

No other blockbusters have been so overtly fixated on terrorism -- wanton destruction for destruction's sake -- and the price to be paid for responding in kind. If fans care more passionately about "The Dark Knight" than the more lighthearted and frankly enjoyable Marvel movies, it's surely because there's more here than meets the eye. The 9/11 subtext is more explicit than ever here, with masked bogeyman Bane (Tom Hardy) wreaking havoc on the Stock Exchange and threatening to blow Gotham sky-high. He may not wear the beard of the jihadist, but the (literal) hellhole he comes from sure looks like it belongs in Afghanistan. And while he speaks via a voice box in a plumy English accent that might be an imitation of Sir Ian McKellen doing Patrick Stewart, his revolutionary rhetoric echoes nihilistic terrorists. If Bane has a goal, it's to bomb Gotham back to year zero.(CNN)

Clocking in at just under 3 hours, many critics are quick to point out its long running time and the sometimes garbled speaking voice of Bane, but agree that the end to Nolan's Batman trilogy is a solid release.

Shortcomings and all, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES remains a fascinating film, albeit one that suffers from an excess of ambition and deficiency in unifying its objectives with clarity. Nolan and editor Lee Smith keep the proceedings moving even when it seems as though the film is bogged down in yet another plot payload transfer. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES builds to a rousing concluding act without the safety net typically assumed with franchise pictures. Considering its narrative and tonal risks, it's just disappointing for a filmmaker of Nolan's caliber to conclude the trilogy with what plays like a bloated middle installment.(Reeltimes)
Besides, maybe The Dark Knight Rises is about something after all: the relationship between the public, legend-stoking heroism of Batman, and the kind of everyday heroism that sort of showmanship can inspire. Though The Dark Knight may be the better, shrewder film, its sequel improbably turns out to be more personal: Batman isn't just a symbol for Gotham here, but for individual characters whom he inspires to be stronger, better, more. The Dark Knight Rises isn't perfect, and for some it might fall victim to expectations. But it made me happy and it broke my heart.(Filmblather)

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