Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

It has been eight years since that fateful day.

That day, when Harvey Dent’s murders and guilt were taken and put upon Batman’s shoulders. Forcing Bruce Wayne to put away the suit, and become despised and hated by the people of Gotham.

And so, for eight years, Bruce has locked himself away in the Wayne Mansion. Without the drive and purpose of batman, and the grief of losing his beloved Rachel, he sees no one but his faithful butler Alfred.

Until that is, the infamous Catwoman decides to relieve Mr. Wayne of his mother’s pearl’s. This action spurrs Mr. Wayne to re-enter the world to recover the pearls.

In doing so, he finds a greater evil than any Gotham has ever seen. An evil without mercy, fear, or rules. An evil, intent only on destruction of a city, and the people living within it.
Bane, has come to Gotham.
With the police force outmatched, 12 million people’s live at stake, and to preserve the city he swore to save…

It is time for the Dark Knight to rise from the shadows, and save Gotham from certain destruction.

Things I liked

If Batman could be described in one word, I would have to say he is solid. Batman’s code does not ever disappoint, nor does it change. No matter what the city has thrown at Batman, his passion as protector of the city is incredibly admirable. The people have nothing to offer him, the city hates him, and yet, he continues to protect it. In the face of certain death his spirit is not broken, showing the quality of perseverance. He is willing to sacrifice himself for the city, not for the city itself, but the people living in it. He is a hero who, while on the surface looks like a vigilante, is one who gives everything for those who can give him back nothing. That biblical trait we see over and over again. Bruce embodies this as well, acting in honorable ways even when not wearing the suit and cape.

Mr. Alfred is the voice of reason in Bruce’s life. He speaks the truth, even when Bruce doesn’t want to hear it. His love for Bruce is incredible to behold. Desperate and even pleading at times, he tries to make Bruce see how dangerous Bane is. Bruce, in his arrogance, ignores him, and we see him take quite a fall. Alfred only wants the best for Bruce, and sees that the only way for that to happen is to put batman behind him. Alfred is loyal, compassionate, and even later, when a conflict arises and he has to leave, he is still as loyal as ever, without any resentment or bitterness. He is a shining example of loving a person unconditionally. And notice? It doesn’t even have to be in a marriage to apply.

Yet another character that stands out with excellent qualities is a man named Jim Gordon. Jim is the police commissioner, and is one of the few common men willing to stand up against the evils bane is unleashing against the city. Even when he is wounded, he still fights from the hospital bed. He is a man however, who has lied to the public about who Harvy Dent really was, via instructions from Batman. He is tormented with this guilt of lying daily. He has an opportunity to tell the truth, but doesn’t and because he doesn’t it comes back to haunt him. He has the best intentions for the people at heart, and we see that displayed in his actions.

Evil definitely shown for what it truly is in this movie. Never is it glorified of shown to be something desired. There is no sympathetic appeal. there is justification, but quite flawed, and shown to be such.

Something else, and lastly, is the sheer quality of this movie. The writing, the actors, and how all the movies are tied together… is stunningly epic. This movie is by far the best of three production wise.

Things I didn’t Like
The Dark Knight may rise in this movie, but so does the violence as well. If the The Dark Knight raised the bar with sadistic murders from the Joker, this movie does even moreso with the sheer brutality of Bane. Bane came from “The Pit” a prison where one survives only by mercilessness and killing. Bane is Batman’s equal, if not superior in physical strength. He demonstrates this any chance he can get. Bane doesn’t use guns. Only his hands. We see him snap many necks, as it seems that is preferred style of killing. He also chokes people to death, smashes faces with anything he has available… It isn’t pretty.
His partners in crime aren’t much better. Having no regard for life, they storm building with automatic weapons, shooting anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in the line of fire.
Catwoman brings a mix of martial arts and guns to the fighting scene. Fighting in self defense, she has no problem shooting a man with his own gun, and often others while he is still holding said weapon.
Batman remains the same in every way. Sticking to his martial arts learned from the league of shadows. Batman manages to keep his rule and not kill one person. He does beat them up pretty badly nonetheless….
Other examples of disturbing violence include people being hung from bridges, sentenced to exile and falling through icy waters below, and huge clash between police and criminals result in many lives being lost and men being gunned down.

There is a dramatic confrontation between batman and bane. Watching punches being landed on the two massive guys made me flinch several times. Batman is beaten up pretty badly, and we see some blood on his head afterwards. That is all the blood I can remember shown. Not much at all.

Bruce, to stifle his pain of losing Rachel, or perhaps, to make himself move on, has a relationship with a woman who is part of Wayne Enterprises. We see them kiss several times, and passionately so. Another scene we see them holding each other covered by a blanket by a fire. They talk about running away, and then the scene cuts out. Batwoman steals her share of kisses from Batman several times as well.

There is cussing in the movie, we hear both “B” words, H— is used out of context several times, as is the Lord’s name used in vain. The S word is used as well.

Closing Thoughts
As the last chapter in the batman series, my expectations for this movie were extremely high. In some ways, I am so impressed with this movie and some messages it presents. In other ways though, we are reminded this is indeed a “Hollywood” flick.

I have noticed one reoccurring theme appearing in hollywood movies. It is the question of Fear vs Hope. We’ve seen it in “The Hunger Games”, previous batman movies, and especially this one. Bane says, “I will keep the people fighting for life, by giving them hope. When there is no hope, the fear will destroy them.” People in this movie put their hope in Batman. And Batman is, in literary terms, A christ figure. One who sacrifices everything to save the people of Gotham. They don’t deserve it, and Batman doesn’t have to.
While the fictional Batman is cool,  how much more awesome is it that we can have hope in Christ instead of fear of man? The movie shows the power of hoping in something greater than oneself, it was a reminder to me, we should not fear, because of the hope of Christ that lives in us.

Another thing the movie shows well, is man’s depravity. When Bane takes control of Gotham. he declares there are “No Rules! It is ruled by the people.”
And utter chaos breaks loose.
What a powerful showing of how desperately wicked man is when there is nothing to hold him back.
Another time Batman tells Catwoman she should help the 12 million innocent people. She says something like “I don’t believe in innocent people.” In a way, she is right. None of Gotham deserved to live. None of them were truly innocent, from a biblical point of view. It hammers home the fact that people are not nice. And given the chance between themselves and someone else… They will probably choose themselves.

To wrap this review up, this movie definitely has it’s redeeming qualities. On the one hand, Batman and his supportive cast are incredible examples of honorable heros. (I didn’t even get into Lucius Fox) There are some excellent themes to ponder, and to bring up next time you are working with some of your buddies who are christians. and Honestly, the movie itself is a beautiful work of cinematic art.
On the other hand, the violence is tough to watch, and Bruce/Batman are involved with women much more in this movie.

So, do I recommend this movie?
I say this with great caution, as I would hate to make any believers stumble in recommending them to watch this movie.
I benefitted from watching The Dark Knight Rises, as I was reminded of how wretched I am as a sinner, and that without Christ, I could have been any one of those men tearing apart Gotham. It moved me to think of a life without hope in Christ, and how sad that would be.
I also know many of my co-workers will be watching this, and I look forward to the chance to bring up topics of hope and depravity.

But do you need to watch this movie to do and be reminded of those things I just mentioned? I would hope not.

But if you do go and see this movie, I hope you are reminded, and praise God for the gift of hope he sent us through Christ.

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3 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

  1. With a time-limit that comes close to towering in at 3 hours, this flick could have easily dragged itself around aimlessly, only to cash-in on tying it all up in the end, but that’s not the case here. This is grade-A film-making right here, courtesy of Christopher Nolan and not only was it a great send-off to the trilogy he has made so loved by everybody out there in the world, but also a perfect way to show that he is grateful for each and every fan that has supported him throughout these years. Good review Austin.

  2. I think you mentioned one thing I didn't emphasize enough, Mr. Nolan does deliver an incredible masterpiece of a film, and shows his incredible talent for story telling. Thanks for commenting on that!

  3. Your posting this when you did was incredible time in light of the shooting earlier. Since I had read the review, I could sorta understand what was going on in CO. Thank you for posting all these movie/book reviews. ;-)Jael

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