I’ve always loved Batman. Growing up, I watched my VHS copy of the 1989 film, Batman, so many times that it came apart one day and destroyed our VCR. I also have fond memories of watching Batman: The Animated Series, and, of course, dressing up as Batman for Halloween.
Like many people, I eagerly awaited the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. I recently saw it, and I’m glad to report that it’s better than I expected. But before I explain why, let me share my thoughts on the first two films in this saga.
I think Batman Begins is fantastic; not only did it feature a stellar cast, but it told Batman’s origin story in a gritty fashion. While the sequel, The Dark Knight, was an excellent film, I don’t consider it to be one of the greatest films of all time or even as good as Batman Begins. Yes, it featured Heath Ledger as the Joker, who did a fine job, but I feel the villain was the focus of the film, not Batman. To me, this made it less enthralling than its predecessor. With this in mind, I didn’t head into The Dark Knight Rises with unrealistic expectations. I was simply looking forward to a fun and entertaining conclusion to this excellent series. What I got was a superbly acted, three-hour film that kept me on the edge of my seat up until the credits rolled. Not only does The Dark Knight Rises provide a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, but it also reveals Bane’s backstory and motivations while simultaneously revisiting and expanding on story elements from Batman Begins.
My only complaint is that Catwoman seems to have been shoehorned into the film for no apparent reason. While I’m always in favor of seeing Anne Hathaway in a tight, leather outfit, her character wasn’t fleshed out enough for me to care about her. Hathaway did an excellent job with what she had, but the film would have been just as good had the character not been present. Overall, The Dark Knight Rises is an excellent movie that I highly recommend to those that have seen the previous two films. It will entertain, shock and move you, all at once. It’s a stunning final chapter in what has been one of the best film trilogies ever made.