Here's What 'The Dark Knight Rises' Did Right And Wrong

the dark knight batmanThe fire rises in Christopher Nolan’s last instalment of his Batman franchise. Is it too much for Gotham’s Knight?

Photo: Warner Bros. / The Dark Knight

Note: We began writing this post before learning of the events that unfolded at a midnight screening late last evening in Aurora, Colorado. Our hearts go out to those there. Warning: This post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film, and don’t want the movie spoiled, turn away.

“It will be a long time before someone inspires us like Harvey Dent.”

These are among the opening words from Christopher Nolan‘s final entry into the “Dark Knight” franchise.

Last night, we were among the masses who went to sold-out midnight premieres across the country.

W can’t call it perfect, the film has it’s flaws, but it was a fitting end to the trilogy. 

See what worked and didn’t in the film >
Through the two hours and 45 minutes we laughed, we cried (really), and we watched in awe with the realisation that Christian Bale‘s journey as Gotham’s silent protector came to a close. 

Despite our love for all things Batman, don’t get us wrong, we enjoyed the film, but we weren’t completely floored.

Maybe we expected too much of the Bat, as Gotham often does as well; however, maybe we knew too much going into the film. 

While watching “The Dark Knight Rises” you have to remember, Nolan’s trilogy is a journey, and it’s not about Batman’s; rather, it’s about Bruce’s … a young man who used the symbol of a bat to cope with the loss of his parents, but then was never able to grow and move on with his life. He tried, but, as Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) told Wayne in the first film, he wasn’t the same after he left home to train with Ra’s Al Ghul:

“Then I heard you came back … the man I loved, the man who vanished … he never came back at all. Maybe one day, when Gotham no longer needs Batman, I’ll see him again.” 

In the past eight years since the Batman’s been gone, any thoughts of socialisation and romance have hardened, and a deep depression has settled in its place. Bruce Wayne could easily double as the title character from “Beauty and the Beast,” disfigured and locked away in the West Wing (though Wayne is in the East Wing of his mansion, and his only disfigurement comes with a massive beard). The maids in his home even make reference to it.

When Wayne quickly returns to the mantle after hearing wind of new villain Bane and witnessing long-time pal Jim Gordon wounded in the hospital, it’s exciting to see him dive back into action after a four year wait–chasing the bad guys on his Bat Tumblr and outracing hordes of police cops (remember, Batman’s a wanted criminal for Harvey Dent’s death).

There are many fantastic things Nolan does–the man knows how to write with more than one film in mind. 

The movie ties together many loose ends in “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”–what was Ra’s Al Ghul’s fate, what of that wife he mentioned in the beginning of the first film, and will Alfred ever tell Wayne about Rachel’s note she left behind?

There were also enough heart-pumping action sequences between the bridge explosions, confrontations between the Batman and Bane–it was literally painful to watch Bruce battered by the brute–and the downtown brawl that pitted city men against cops. 

However, for once, it seemed like most of Nolan’s film was spoiled by the overwhelming amount of trailers. We didn’t let this get us down, as I’m sure most other Batfans were left unscathed. If you somehow managed to turn a blind eye to marketing of all kinds, then you’re in for a treat.

Even without the trailers, unlike the previous films, (and, please correct me if I’m wrong), but there appeared to be so much more predictability about the movie (at least until the end, and even then, there were some moments that still weren’t surprising to us at least) that it would be tough not to ruin a bit of the fun. 

The film dragged on in the middle–there’s a reason we get to see Batman so early in the film, he’s missing for a while throughout Act 2. 

Despite some clunky moments in the middle, the film culminated in a resounding crescendo of both tears and cheers. After pondering what we witnessed though, we’re wondering if the film should have ended the way it did. 

Regardless, the last instalment in The Dark Knight trilogy delivered the ending we needed, though maybe not the one we deserved.

Good: The Bridge Collapse

Every explosion in the film is flawless. However, both the bridges and the destruction of the football field are shown in the trailers, taking away the element of surprise in the film.

Great: Gary Oldman and Michael Caine.

Early on when Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) is cooped up in a hospital bed, we're hoping we'll get to see him on his feet again. The moment we do is one of his best in the film.

As much as there's no Batman without Gotham, the same can be said for Gordon.

And, though upset that Caine's Alfred Pennyworth wasn't around as much in the finale, where he was featured, he pulled at our heartstrings.

Great: Marion Cotillard WAS Talia Al Ghul

... but we called this back in May.

Though Nolan and even Cotillard may have denied her role as 'Miranda Tate,' a board member, was anything but small, we knew when we saw her locking lips with Bruce Wayne, she had to be more than some small character. That, plus the reveal of a young Talia Al Ghul cast and 'Tate' strolling around in clothing similar to her father's (Ra's Al Ghul) on set coupled with Nolan's history in throwing fans off the trail in the past with Liam Neeson's Henri Ducard / Ra's Al Ghul role made us call Nolan's bluff.

If you didn't catch on before the big reveal in the film, there were plenty of hints dropped throughout the film, especially those when Cotillard first mentioned working on a 'clean energy project' our minds originally went back to 'Batman Begins,' Ra's Al Ghul, and the League of Shadows.

Bad: How Bane is dealt with post-Talia Al Ghul News

With Miranda Tate finally revealed as the main bad guy in the film, Bane suddenly becomes less of a mastermind, and more brute strength.

This is confirmed when he meets his untimely demise swiftly and quickly soon after Talia's reveal. This appears a cop out since the entire film Batman has issues getting the man on the ground and in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, a woman is able curb him with one blow.

Bad idea: The younger girl with Selina Kyle

Who was that girl following Catwoman?

In some of the comics, the character of Selina Kyle is followed by Holly Robinson, a 13-year-old prostitute. The blonde haired girl following Anne Hathaway in this film would be Holly.

Seeing as she didn't add anything to the film, we didn't find her role necessary, especially since audiences unfamiliar with Catwoman's origin story wouldn't be familiar with the young girl.

GREAT: Joseph Gordon Levitt as the hot-head John Blake.

Whenever a scene needed a cut away or to be broken up, we never tire to revisit watching Gordon-Levitt as the young rookie-cop-turned-detective on the case.

However, we know early on something's up with him, he's special, because he knows far too much about Batman. He knows his identity and can relate to him since he's an orphan ...

Good: John Blake IS and ISN'T Robin.

He doesn't reveal himself as Dick Grayson--the original Robin--however, John Blake reveals during the film that his first name is indeed Robin.

This doesn't mean he actually IS the Robin; afterall, there's a Dick Grayson version of Batman. However, because it's unlikely the city of Gotham would believe in another Batman after the film's end it's important to note Grayson went on to be his own superhero, Nightwing.

We've discussed the 'Knightfall' comic a few times in the last couple of months. If you've read the series, which Nolan's third film draws from heavily, Bane literally breaks Batman--snaps him in two--rendering him paralysed.

While this appears to sort of happen in the film, a guy is able to snap Wayne back into place without a problem and leave him hanging in a room telling him he'll be healed when he can stand.

Yes, we realise this sounds bizarre. We let this go for the sake of the film's continuation; however, we must say, this detail made the least amount of sense.

Bad: What movie are we watching?

Batman sure felt like it had pieces of Marvel's two past summer blockbusters mixed in its story.

Seeing Bane down in the sewers working in his secret lair immediately reminded us of Dr. Connors sewer lair in 'The Amazing Spider-Man' released a few weeks ago.

Near the end of the film, there's a giant bomb endangering the entire city that felt much like the ending sequence in Marvel's 'The Avengers,' just replace Batman for Tony Stark's Iron Man.

Good: A Cameo By The Scarecrow

Nolan couldn't resist adding one more piece of the 'Inception' cast in his last Batman film. Cillian Murphy returns once more after his brief cameo in 'The Dark Knight' as Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane).

While a pleasure to see Crane, his role as a judge in Gotham deciding the fate of cops and citizens was a little out of the blue (but normal in any Gotham run by members of Batman's Rogue's Gallery).

Now that you've seen how the film fared ...

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.