Sometimes your view of a film can be skewed because of you high expectations, seeing it at the cinema and being caught up in the atmosphere or because everything you are seeing is new and amazing. That is why it’s always worth going back to a film, even six months later, to see whether your view of a film changes after time or because you are seeing it on the small screen or things aren’t as fresh.
This is why I thought it was worth watching The Dark Knight Rises again. This is a film I gave a perfect ten to last year when I did my initial review. It felt like the perfect end to a perfect trilogy. It was a Batman that was serious, with the perfect tone and perfect version of the characters they have chosen. The character choices themselves were fantastic; Catwoman was almost a given because of her popularity but Bane was a surprise stroke of genius. He was a different kind of threat that was brilliantly different to Heath Ledger’s perfect Joker.
None of this would change but I did think I would begin to pick up on faults in the story or how it didn’t quite match up to the brilliant middle film of the trilogy. This didn’t happen though. If anything, on seeing the film again, I begin to appreciate how brilliant it is even more. It gave me the opportunity to focus on key scenes much more than I did before or focus my attention on details that I didn’t realise were going to be important on my first watch.
On seeing it again, a stand-out performance is actually one of the more under-stated. Joseph Gordon Levitt is an actor that is picking fantastic roles and when I think back to the films that I have seen him in, all the way back to Ten Things I Hate About You, it makes me realise how good he was all along. Add that to Looper and Inception and you have a guy who has really shown how good an actor he can be.
The rest of the performances are faultless, Bale is Batman, Oldman is Commissioner Gordon. Tom Hardy was the perfect choice for Bane, something I’m even more convinced about on a second viewing and Anne Hathaway was the casting surprise, getting the same reaction I gave Ledger when he was first cast as The Joker, but as Ledger did, they showed that the role could be performed by her brilliantly.
That isn’t to say it doesn’t have its flaws but these are small niggles rather than glaring errors. The final scene involving Michael Cane’s Alfred shows too much, when a much more ambiguous scene would have had more impact. The second gripe is the end to Bane’s story. He is such a dominant, fantastic character that he deserves much more of a finale in the movie but doesn’t get that, with his story just abruptly ending.
As for the end of the trilogy generally, its perfect as it is. This is a series that should be left well alone and any attempts to carry on Batman in films should be done as a brand new story. A revelation at the end of the movie gives the impression the series could continue and rumours have circulated that give the impression that Warner Bros. want to do this. I think it’s a bad idea and can’t see Nolan’s Batman ever fitting in DC’s planned Justice League movie, even with a newly rebooted Superman.
Overall, The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic film, even on a second viewing. The performances are fantastic and then it finishes off a brilliant trilogy perfectly. Any faults are minor and don’t take away from what is probably the best superhero franchise around at the moment. It’s also the reason I would leave it exactly as it is!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)