“”The Dark Knight Rises” is an engaging film, but in the end it’s too grounded in the real to soar.”
The devastating events in Aurora, Colorado have cast a pall over the launch of Warner Bros. “The Dark Knight Rises,” though if box office receipts are any indicator, the film is weathering the adverse publicity well.
That being said, attentive readers will probably come by many reviews that compare it to Marvel Studios’ “The Avengers,” which isn’t valid because “The Avengers” is one of the best action movies of the year, while “The Dark Knight Rises,” while engaging in its own way, is not nearly as fun.
And that’s OK because just like there are comics for just about every taste, there should be movies that serve the same function.
Part of the reason for this is that, in seeking to make Batman’s Gotham City as realistic as possible, the filmmakers have almost surgically removed the fantastic from the equation, making the proceedings, while interesting, sometimes mundane and held together only by the strength of the cast.
Another is that Bane in the comics was more dangerous; less an anarchist that an almost primal force focused upon breaking the Batman physically, as well as mentally. A similar approach is attempted here, but Bane, as played by Tom Hardy (he of the very odd voice, who’s jaw should move more when he speaks, despite the mask on the lower half of his face) is more interested in destroying Gotham City than breaking Batman.
He disguises his violence in populist clothing–echoing the protests of the 99 Percent in his speeches, but it’s only a ruse designed to lull the citizens to complacency before he destroys them.
The movie makes a point of showing that his beliefs drive him, and enable him to do what normal men cannot, which is what makes him and his followers dangerous. Unfortunately we see little of what animates his beliefs, though its expression in seemingly random destruction is often on display.
Who I found to be a pleasant surprise was Anne Hathoway, who played Serena Kyle (she was never actually called ‘Catwoman’). I was prepared to dislike this interpretation of the character, especially since she was following in the footsteps–or should I say paw prints?–of Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, and Michelle Pfeiffer, women far more voluptuous than the (almost) waifish Halloway.
Her characterization works, though I cannot say the same for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, who seems to be hanging around just so there could be an ending that Bat fans would appreciate.
In summary, “The Dark Knight Rises” is worth seeing, though because it’s so grounded in reality, it never really takes off like it should, which is a shame.