INTERACTIVE (Rate the Review)
Subscribe to our update feeds:
Cinema Signal: A green light for superhero fans for whom the legend lives on. MOBILE: variagate.com/cinsigsm.htm?mobi |
. "The Dark Knight Rises"

Retaining its trademark urgency and apprehension, this climactic episode of the Batman series is at least as conscience-probing than any of its predecessors. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale, "Public Enemies") has been in self-imposed hiding for eight years within the remote, electronically guarded Wayne Manor, both a great mansion and a lair of many levels for the weaponry and assets that provide much of his alter ego's power.

After taking the blame for the death of secretly corrupt D.A. Harvey Dent and engaging in a cover-up for the good of the citizens and commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"), he has become a fugitive on the lam from the police. This has caused him to sink into a funk that's affecting everything, including his leaderless Wayne Enterprises. The company is further threatened with collapse after partnering with wealthy philanthropist Miranda Tate in a project to employ nuclear fusion to emit clean air. It's a device that's designed to eliminate smog and global warming. But Fox (Morgan Freeman, "The Bucket List"), the engineer in charge of the project, hasn't gotten it to work yet.

Bankruptcy, however, doesn't bother him so much as the fear that he's become worthless in the eyes of the city. We find him groveling in questions about Batman's waning importance to the city. His sounding board is old faithful Alfred Pennyworth, aide, enabler, guide to his ward's conscience and psychological impulses and friend-in-chief. But neither of the two gentlemen domiciled in the manor are prepared for intrusion of Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway, "Get Smart"), a svelte, professional cat burglar who can penetrate any building and shoot it out with anyone, anywhere, anytime. But for this incredibly audacious character, who is no doubt Catwoman, though she's never identified as such, "The Dark Knight Rises" would have had to go without this rich vein of humor and excitement.

Wayne is stunned to find her in his quarters. But what's worse is the fact that she's wearing the pearl necklace that he values so highly that he's had it locked in a safe. So, not only has a person penetrated the lair -- she's opened the safe! This may be a problem of logic and/or tradition, but it does move the story in a certain direction.

Accordingly, she makes off with it around her neck. But it doesn't take Wayne long to figure out that the really valuable thing she came for wasn't the pearls. Discovering fingerprint dust on the safe's dial, he realizes that her prize was his fingerprints, which in these times of robbed identity puts him very ill at ease.

It's time he comes out of his shell and show himself in the public arena. His sudden appearance at a high-level meeting sets off the gossip mills, awakening the lions to the smell of fresh meat. This presages the evil that's been lurking all this time in the monstrous form of Bane (Tom Hardy, "Inception"), a physically powerful brute who's face is hidden behind a breathing apparatus that seems surgically implanted on his face. His voice is hard and filtered, an insult to the ears. His intentions are far worse, the destruction of Batman and Gotham itself. And, aided by a platoon of pschopaths trained in the League of Shadows as Wayne was, he has the horrifying means, strength and know-how to do it.

Bane illustrates what he is capable of when he all but destroys the New York Stock Exchange with the successful intention to bring Wayne Enterprises to its knees. This, of course, is overkill, but it makes for a scene of destruction with a lot of implications, only one of which is to allow John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn, terrifying in "Animal Kingdom"), Wayne's arch business rival, to take over the remains of the company.

It also obliges Wayne to put on his suit. Batman is back.

But, soon, Batman may wish he wasn't. He runs into Selina at a fete for the elite and, with untypical lack of bravado, she agrees to escort him to Bane. But, she's done him no favor. Batman is confident and bristling with anger as he launches into his nemesis thinking his fists will do his talking. But we have a little surprise for our hero. He's nothing compared to Bane power and invincibility under a barrage of Wayne's best shots. Wayne winds up barely holding on to his life in a prison only one boy but no man has ever escaped from.

It's just as well because Wayne needs time to heal -- time when Bane and his lot are wreaking havoc. Wayne is so wrecked that the question arises, will he ever be Batman again? Inevitably, he will face Bane again, but will he avoid a repeat? How this is answered is fine for the comic strips, but it's one of my chief carps about the movie).

At this point, we haven't even seen the best Bane can do, nor the full explosiveness of destruction that director Nolan can pull off for our entertainment. As any action fan knows, it's not so much the harm done to people and the infrasructure as it is the conceptual design of the set pieces, where a clever idea is the mark of originality and the items that get talked about. Nolan satisfies our expectations for nearly three hours of blunting our senses -- every minute of which is legendary fantasy that calls for a cast of hundreds and a reasonably creative furtherance of the Batman legend.

It is loud, which is fine, and composer Hans Zimmer goes wild. He produces in his scoresheet the sense of urgency and the driving force that underlies all the action. But the subtlety of his cinematic essential to raise the pace in the early going grows and, as it does, it is ultimately elevated above the rise of the Dark Knight himself. In the climactic moments his score is a steam engine that can't be stopped, or ignored.

On all technical fronts, the work is fine to astounding with much praise going to cinematographer Wally Pfister. We might think editor Lee Smith wore out his snipping tools if not his fingertips, but we know, of course, he didn't. And, again on the technical side, we have Nolan to thanks for the decision not to go with 3D, giving the color scale the kind of punch missing from most of the 3D-glasses-required versions of comics made into movies.

Nolan might also be the person who decided not to show any blood. At least I don't remember there being any -- not even in the most brutal and damaging scenes of violence. Thinking back, this might be a trademark of the Batman series. If i'm wrong on this, please correct me in the Opinion Section below. While you're at it, if this comes as a surprise to you, let me know that, too. Thanks.

Own it today!
Click on the link below for this and other versions)

(Blu-ray/DVD Combo+UltraViolet Digital Copy)
The Soundtrack

No one was busier for any picture than casting directors John Papsider and Toby Whale. Among the casting selections, perhaps the most interesting and new to the lore) was Gordon-Levitt ("Inception") as Blake, the deep thinking cop -- one of Commissioner Gordon's boys who has figured out that Wayne is Batman. The role is written chiefly by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan) as a major one, in which he goes from street cop to detective and proves to be one of the Dark Knight's major supporters. Watch for this character in the sequel.

Nolan and Bale have indicated that they'll be having no further visitations in the batcave, but that doesn't mean the franchise is over. There's a clue in this movie that suggests an element of the next sequel. It's only a guess on my part, but it'd be a spoiler to mention it here. So, only those who have already seen "The Dark Knight Rises," should use the spoiler button below.

Click for full list of movie reviews





                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  


Won't YOU join the discussion about this movie and/or review?
Worries? Concerns? Want to know more? Just click the button...


Opinion Section
Comments from readers:

Some commentators here seem to have forgotten that the film was touted as the "CONCLUSION TO THE EPIC TRILOGY," and here's the evidence. Note that the attack in Aurora, CO occurred the night that this ad, in the Los Angeles Times, ran. Following the tragedy, the ads were pulled and didn't appear again in this paper and, we assume, anywhere else in the U.S. for a week. (The ad appeared again in the trades on Friday, 7/27/12). Some opinions expressed in the feedback seem strongly at odds with the studio's claim that the Batman series was to be thought of as a "trilogy." That's just three, of course. So, were they pulling off a publicity stunt by making that claim? Were they lyyyyying to us??


Christian Bale, an actor with a soul
We at Cinema Signals would like to laud Christian Bale for his very private and personal appearance at the memorial to the victims in Aurora, CO. With no other "angle" than to express his sorrow, he came only with his girlfriend and a spray of flowers. A photo shows that he visited with at least one of the wounded survivors. This touch of sympathetic humanity is elegant and shows the man's character. It also exemplifies the compassion that exists in the community of his peers who take up so many causes to benefit people stricken by misfortune.

Well written
I've seen the movie and agree with the review
Site rating: 9

                                                           ~~ Foidart 
Off base
I've seen the movie and agree with the review
Site rating: 1

I am hoping the author was kidding about their so-called spoiler? It sounds like either a joke or the screening that this reviewer attended was missing some of the epilogue? The character revealed as 'dead' in the spoiler does not die and is shown quite the opposite during the closing moments of the film. Bit confused! Site rating: 1

                                                           ~~ Mike
[Ed. note: One of us doesn't know what a spoiler is. To me, it's some detail that you wouldn't want to tell a person who hasn't yet seen a movie that could ruin the drama for him or her. What could be a bigger spoiler than telling someone who hasn't seen "The Dark Knight Rises" that it ends in a ... (you know what), which occurs before the epilogue. Doesn't matter what you think the epilogue means. Who's confused? Appreciate you commenting, bro', but it gets a 1, too.]

Off base
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
Site rating: 4

The end of the movie shows Alfred contemplating over a drink at a French bar...he looks up and sees "Bruce & Cat Woman" enjoying eachothers company!!! (Not dead at all!!) and the final obvious clue is the young police rooky finding the "BatCave"......enter "Batman" 4!!!!

                                                           ~~ FIL180
Perceptive
This review will influence me to read more by this reviewer
Site rating: 6

                                                           ~~ Abhayan Varghese
Poorly written
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
Site rating: 4

Did the reviewer actually even watch the ending? Or did the leave the theater five minutes before it ended???

                                                           ~~ CT
Well written
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
Site rating: 4

I believe batman lived, we heard the discussion with fox and his team, and alfred saw him in the cafe, i dont think nolan would trick us like that, i plan to see it again and i hope that will clear it up.

                                                           ~~ chase
Perceptive
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
This review will influence me to read more by this reviewer

Great review

                                                           ~~ Adam
[Ed. notes: My interpretation of the ending and what it does to the studio's (not my) claim that this is the "finale" of the series spurred quite a lot of reaction, and there's nothing like a good argument. I'm sorry to report that these opinions are a fraction of what was received but, alas, I don't post those that don't include name and email address just for verification. A contributor's email address goes nowhere. That's a promise. So, if you wrote a comment and you returned here to see it, please feel free to send it again... with name and email address. As for the general tenor of the comments not posted, about half were positive. In a few cases, highly complimentary. Either way, I appreciate all submissions and hope to get more that I can post. And, remember, Nolan and Bale have indicated that they won't be involved in another sequel. Should we be writing to them to change their minds?]

Well written
I've seen the movie and agree with the review
This review will influence me to recommend this reviewer
Site rating: 7

I enjoyed Nolan's first two Batman movies more than The Dark Knight Rises. The movie still interesting though.

                                                           ~~ cat lioness
Very well written
Site rating: 10

I saw this movie last night and did not fully understand the ending. You explained it fully to me except for the scene when the detective is seen in the cave with all the bats which looked very much like the cave Batman was first in before he became Batman. I thought he was being set up to be the next Batman in the sequel. Time will tell.

                                                           ~~ Gene Cutler
Poorly written
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
Site rating: 2

Spoiler??? Did you actually watch the entire movie? The scene indicated as pointing toward yet another sequel is a dim candle compared to the actual scenes toward the film's conclusion that are practically neon signs 50 feet high leading us toward other movies to come.

                                                           ~~ Skip Johnson
The "Spoiler" is wrong. Wayne dosen't die. Hard to take this seriosly now. Good Job.
                                                           ~~ john lock
I've seen the movie and: I disagree with the review

Ok retards, especially Gene Cutler and the spoiler lady. The young detective is Robin, not the next Batman, and Batman clearly is alive but presumed dead. It's a perfect setup for "Batman & Robin", possibly with a new Joker (who never explicitly died at the end of The Dark Knight)

                                                           ~~ Casey
[Ed. note: I didn't want to post Casey's comment because of his demeaning language, but he has a point which relates to previous thoughts: I agree with him that the shot of the young detective near the end of the movie is more suggestive of his becoming a Robin-like figure in a fourth installment than a new Batman. The scene leads to this character being the replacement for Alfred in the fourth episode.]

Well written, Off base
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
Site rating: 2

I must echo the comments already present. The spoiler seems to suggest the reviewer left the theater before the last 5-10 minutes played out. Between the late discovery of the auto-pilot fix, to the sighting of both Bruce and Selina in the cafe, to the confirmation that the cop character's real name was Robin . . . I am just perplexed by the spoiler. Just because they don't intend to make more movies, that does not mean we have to wrap up the ending in a neat little package as though all loose ends are taken care of; maybe the master plan is to sell the story rights to some other director/cast.

                                                           ~~ Chris
[Ed. note: Before anyone "suggests" that the writer of this review "left the theater before the last 5-10 minutes played out" they should analyze what they really saw, what they thought they saw, and most particularly, what they think the filmmakers intended as literal fact (within the fictional framework, as opposed to either hallucination or non-literal imagination. A prime example of this is Alfred's two scenes after he left Wayne, where he's sitting in happy retirement, sipping his espresso and thinking he's seeing Wayne at another table. In the first scene, the man turns and reveals he's not Wayne. In the second, it is Wayne. If you took this as literal, that Alfred was sitting in a place where Wayne would magically appear in the same spot as the first guy who wasn't Wayne, you're overlooking the fact that the scene was shot purposely gauzy so as not to be thought of as a literal event. It it was, why in the world would Alfred and Wayne not say anything to each other?! This scene is an intended illusion, folks!

As for the autopilot, the interpretation that it proves Wayne survived is full of holes. Some of us think he fixed the unit before he knew about the bomb. Let's all go back to see the movie again to confirm that. But, even if he knew, how do you connect a working autopilot with Batman/Wayne's survival of the six-mile radius nuclear blast? Without a specific moment when we see just how Batman fooled everyone, then Chris and others are claiming that the filmmakers threw integrity (and realism) to the wind. I don't think they did. I think the writers behind this movie are better than that.

Finally, no one who's talking about Batman or Wayne's survival is offering an explanation for the mystical appearance of Henri Ducard (alias of arch comic book villain Ra's al Ghul, aka, "Demon's Head"), which is the whole basis for the spoiler offered here. If this scene is not intended to introduce the element of immortality and foreshadow the return of Batman, then why shoot it? I doubt it's a throwaway. The bigger question, perhaps, is why have the commenters who suggest the reviewer didn't see the movie to its end say nothing about Ducard and what his appearance portends? Read the spoiler again, guys (it's been updated).]

I've seen the movie and I agree with the review
Site rating: 9

                                                           ~~ Michael F.
I've seen the movie and I disagree with the review
Site rating: 1

Levitt is literally found out to be named Robin at the end of the movie. None of these future ideas or levitt being the next Batman make a single bit of sense. How any can see this mo[v]ie and think Batman is actually dead at the end, make[s] no sense to me.

                                                           ~~ Miles
[Ed.: Yeah, Miles, blame me.]

It never ceases to amaze me how unperceptive people can be, even when they sit, at full attention, staring at a screen. The lady at the end of the movie states plainly that she likes Blake's real name better and that he should use that name in the future. His real name was ROBIN. I mean how much clearer can it possibly be? He finds the Batcave and his real name is Robin. HELLO!!! I doubt there will be a 4th installment in this series. We will no doubt see another Batman film but I doubt it will be a continuation of this series. But, I never bet against corporate greed...

                                                           ~~ Michael G.
Well written
I've seen the movie and I agree with the review
Site rating: 9
                                                           ~~ Paul Colgan
Very well written
Tis review will influence me to see this movie
Site rating: 8

It fecilitates [sic] me to go see the movie and form my own opinion on it.

                                                           ~~ Jay Bisineeru
Poorly written
I've seen the movie and I disagree with the review
Site rating: 4

Okay, clearly Wayne did not reveal that the autopilot was fixed before he took off with the bomb because he wanted to "die". Remember several times throughout the movie characters are telling him that he has a death wish, and he doesn't (completely) deny it.,,

                                                           ~~ Bastion
[Ed.: Bastion writes a detailed analysis that refutes my interpretation, but it's too long to reproduce here in its entirety because of space considerations.]

Off base
I've seen the movie and I disagree with the review
Site rating: 4

You're review is good apart from your spoiler. You're right, TDKR does hint at a continuation of the franchise, but in much more blatant and undeniable ways than your spoiler indicates. First, Bruce Wayne does not die- Fox is informed that the Bat (aircraft) did indeed have it's autopilot function repaired- Alfred then sees Wayne with Selina at the cafe. The biggest indicator though is that Wayne passes the torch to Gordon-Levitt's character John Blake when he leaves him the coordinates for the Bat cave. As in the Batman comics, a new character inherits the Batman legacy, making use of the caves beneath Wayne Manor and becoming a new Batman. Good review though, just thought I'd mention that to you. Thanks.

                                                           ~~ Julian Brook
Well written
This review will influence me to read more by this reviewer
I've seen the movie and I agree with the review

Great review, but I disagree on one story point. I don't think Fox couldn't get the fusion device to work. I think it worked fine. I thought reason they didn't move forward with it was the risk was that the core could be converted to a weapon, a fact borne out by Bane's kidnapping of Dr. Pavel to gain the knowledge on how to weaponize it.

                                                           ~~ Joe D
Well written
This review will influence me to read more by this reviewer
I've seen the movie and I agree with the review
Site rating: 7

Also a Hint at the end is when Blake is talking to that woman and she say's he should use his full name "Robin" because it sounds better! Hint for our future series faithful sidekick!!

                                                           ~~ matthew
Well written
I've seen the movie and I agree with the review
Site rating: 4

The review was fine but I have a bit of a difference of opinion with the supposed "spoiler", as do many of other readers. I don't pretend to be smart enough to know the purpose of Ra's al Ghul's appearance to Bruce while in The Pit. It could very well be a clue to him being truly immortal or it could have just been a hallucination.
However, I do think it was pretty clear that Bruce did not die. The reason Alfred didn't say anything to Bruce in the cafe was because that's exactly what Alfred said he would do if that scenario ever happened. "We wouldn't say a word to each other, but at least we'd know that you made it...and that you were happy".

                                                           ~~ madge
[Ed.: Ah, yes. Good arguments. The only problem is the inconsistency. If Ra's al Ghul's appearance was only an hallucination that should be ignored as a clue to the next episode, why isn't Wayne's appearance in Alfred's scene the same thing? One thing that this discussion has shown is that Nolan gave us a movie that has developed a great deal of sincere interest and, with it, some interpretive dissension. To date, 14449 visitors have read this review--and continuing strongly.]

Well written
This review will influence me to read more by this reviewer
I've seen the movie and I disagree with the review
Site rating: 8

Just wanted to clear up, since I don't think anyone noticed. When the rookie detective went to the new orphanage registration type building, if you remember, the lady at the desk hinted that he should use his full name, ROBIN. That's the clue to the sequel, there will never be another Batman, but he will use Wanyne's tools to become Robin.

                                                           ~~ Connor
Well written
I've seen the movie and I agree with the review
Site rating: 8

If you paid attention when the young cop went to go pick up his belongings the old lady said she liked his full name which is "Robin". So that along with him knowing Bruce Wayne is Batman and finding the Batcave sets it up for him being the Robin of Batman and Robin, but he will more likely be Nightwing who protected Gotham while Batman was absent from the city in the comic book story.

                                                           ~~ Brian C.
[Ed.: I hope that whoever is going to write and direct the next Batman will read all this!]
                                                        - - -
UPDATE: It took the movie two weeks to project that it will pass the $1 Billion mark in worldwide boxoffice. Pretty good considering that the Colorado madman attack had a detrimental effect on domestic boxoffice. This projection indicates how well it's been doing internationally. Go Knight.



Release order
Alphabetical order
To Jbmovies
sample frames from movies photographed
by Jules Brenner)

All Reviews
Books, DVDs, Music, Restaurants




Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) ponders...
Is it time for the suit?

Quick Note, yo:
Your appreciation for this review resource can be expressed by a visit to our sponsors.
just a click will do it)

Google