Review: Nolan delivers with ‘Dark Knight Rises’Written by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
Avengers and Spider-Man, move over. It’s time to let the big boys play.
The latest superhero blockbuster of the summer aims to be different and succeeds in every way. “The Dark Knight Rises,” out nationwide July 20, is the darkest superhero film of the summer — maybe ever. Director and co-writer Christopher Nolan has a vision for Batman and it’s not pretty.His creative freedom — a seeming carte blanche from Warner Bros. — pays off. He takes the movie and character to places about which audiences only have nightmares.
“The Dark Knight Rises,” the final installment of Nolan’s trilogy, picks up the story eight years later from where its predecessor left off.
Batman battled the Joker in an Oscar-winning performance by the late Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight.” The Caped Crusader has exiled himself and hung up his Bat suit. But Gotham cannot live without its hero.
And here is where the new villain comes in: a poetic self-proclaimed “necessary evil” Bane. With a scratchy voice and a freaky facemask, he seems to be a cross between Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter. Suffice it to say, you don’t want to cross this guy. That’s Batman’s job apparently.
Alfred the butler, played again by Michael Caine, warns Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) that there is “nothing here but pain and tragedy.” Alfred urges Wayne to stay in retirement and move on. He’s afraid his boss is just going to get killed. But Wayne needs Batman and so does Gotham.
Not only does Nolan achieve a luscious storyline, his creative team creates a movie decadent in visual and auditory prowess. Cinematographer Wally Pfister, Oscar winner for Nolan’s most recent film “Inception,” captures a story for “Rises” that’s beautifully dark.
Composer Hans Zimmer again strikes the perfect notes for every scene. Nolan also knows when to cut out the music and let the action play — to chilling effect. The art direction also stands out.
“Rises” may also be the movie to give audiences the most bang for their buck this summer. With a run time of 2 hours and 44 minutes and no 3-D, the movie-going experience is well worth the $10. It may even be worth the drive to an IMAX screen. (It was well worth the drive for this reviewer to a screening in Cleveland.)
Marvel’s the “Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” are lucky they were released before “The Dark Knight Rises.” Each have unique qualities and are wonderful movies. The first surprised many and has become a box office juggernaut, setting the bar impossibly high and earning nearly 25 percent of the entire summer domestic box office. The second was a surprising reboot that kicked up the emotions and had stellar animation.
But what is surprising about “Rises” is that the bar was set extremely high for Nolan after his previous film. Did anyone expect a film on par and equal to “The Dark Knight”? That’s the difference, it seems, from the other summer superhero movies. For this one, audiences expected a lot. And Nolan delivers.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.
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Toledo Free Press Lead Designer and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com. Watch him on “WNWO Today” on Fridays around 5:50 a.m.