Hii Expectations | Did ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Rise Up To Expectations?

In 2021, we will see a new adaptation of The Batman, but let’s not forget the “classics” like The Dark Knight Rises.

Anyone who is a fan of the Caped Crusader has been eagerly keeping their eye on the upcoming movie with Robert Pattinson in the lead role along with an all-star supporting cast. Seriously, it is stacked! Is it possible that Pattinson can because one of the all-time Batman greats?

No conversation on any Batman is complete without bringing up The Dark Knight Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, which has gone down in history as being some of the best comic book adaptations to grace the big screen.

The second movie in the trilogy, The Dark Knight, even became the highest rated superhero movie ever. So, when the third and final movie of the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, was announced to close the book on the Christian Bale-led franchise, the expectations for a satisfying conclusion were higher than ever.

We look back at three crucial factors and discuss whether The Dark Knight Rises lived up to the hype…

THE VILLAIN

There are not many superheroes out there that boast an impressive gallery of villains like Batman’s. Whether its the infamous clown prince Joker, ruthless gangster Penguin, or fear-inducing Scarecrow, every villain has a rich and gripping backstory. Ultimately, whoever they picked to go head-to-head with Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, the choice was always going to be under intense scrutiny.

When it was announced that Tom Hardy would play the character of Bane, the initial reactions from fans were skeptical. Following on from Heath Ledger‘s portrayal of The Joker, which was one of the greatest villainous performances of all time and one that led to the late actor receiving a posthumous Academy Award for best supporting actor. This was no small task.

Did anyone predict that Heath Ledger was going to be that good?! Of course, you didn’t.

Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!

Bane, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

To make an impact in a movie this big, a character and the actor portraying them needs to be memorable. Just like the famous quote above, the character delivers some fantastic lines that are still being referenced today.

Bane is a villain who stands out with his distinctive voice that any geckaphile could recognize instantly. Tom Hardy perfectly gets his emotions across, despite the fact most of his face is covered up throughout the entire film. Something that Nolan himself was so impressed with that he decided to do all over again in Dunkirk.

His brute force is unrivaled and the towering physique that Hardy built for this role was seriously impressive. Described as ‘The Man who broke the Bat’, he does exactly that. The Joker broke Bruce Wayne’s spirit but Bane broke his body. Hardy’s character was able to make Batman look like an amateur in comparison and created a great villain in the process.

However, admittedly the twist in the final act of the movie weakens the character’s role by showing that he’s not in charge after all and instead is following orders from someone higher up than him. He is not the mastermind and sadly reduced to being ‘the muscle.’

THE STUNTS

With an estimated $250 million budget, The Dark Knight Rises was plenty more costly than the previous movie in the trilogy, The Dark Knight ($180 million estimated). This was a true Hollywood blockbuster. The increased budget was definitely put to good use. Full of seriously impressive stunts (like the one pictured above) that were nearly entirely made up of practical effects throughout the entire movie.

Christopher Nolan likes to use as much practical effects as possible with little CGI to give the movies a more authentic feel. A perfect example of this is the hallway scene in Inception, check it out, its pretty awesome.

The plane scene in The Dark Knight Rises kicks off the start of the movie and was as memorable as they get. Filmed in Scotland by Nolan from a helicopter, they used trained stuntmen with parachutes and took two months of preparation to get it right. They even had the surrounding area below cleared to avoid the falling debris from the plane above. Tom Cruise, eat your heart out!

With incredible death-defying stunts ranging from The Pit that Bruce Wayne had to climb from, to the football stadium explosion triggered by Bane that rocked Gotham City, the final movie in the trilogy went out with a bang. It was visual eye-candy and hard to believe that so much of it was without CGI.

THE ENDING

The famous ‘spinning top scene’ in the closing stages of Inception drove us all to have numerous debates about which ending was real and what it all meant. So when Christopher Nolan decided to do it all over again in the finale to his Dark Knight Trilogy, our heads collectively exploded.

Did Bruce Wayne live and finally set aside the life of crime-fighting to find peace or was this just the imagination of Alfred Pennyworth who chose to believe his hopeful story of a better life rather than accept the reality that Bruce died?

Every year, I took a holiday. I went to Florence, there’s this cafe, on the banks of the Arno. Every fine evening, I’d sit there and order a Fernet Branca. I had this fantasy, that I would look across the tables and I’d see you there, with a wife and maybe a couple of kids. You wouldn’t say anything to me, nor me to you. But we’d both know that you’d made it, that you were happy.

Alfred Pennyworth, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Either outcome would deliver a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Finally coming to peace with the fact that Gotham doesn’t need Batman any longer, after years of devoted servitude to his cause or the much bleaker but realistic ending that Bruce died saving the city he loves in the most selfless sacrifice possible. Nolan managed to find not one but two satisfying ways of ending the massive superhero trilogy.

Despite knowing this would definitely be the last movie in the franchise, the movie teased Robin in the final minutes, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who stumbles into the Batcave after receiving the inheritance from Bruce himself, teasing a life of crime-fighting for the famous character known for being the side-kick to Batman.

It was a satisfying tease that would go on to help envision some sort of future that fans of the universe can map out in their heads to let the universe live on. An ending that has become pretty divisive among the Batman fan base.

THE CONCLUSION

The Dark Knight Rises promotional art

The Dark Knight Rises lives up to the expectations, but it’s not the strongest movie in the trilogy.

A solid movie that concludes the trilogy well and answers all the questions asked of it. With a totally satisfying and unforgettable ending to the epic Nolan-led franchise and a villain that does its very best to compete with The Joker despite falling a little short. It is a monumental task after all.

Best movie in the trilogy? Probably not. Compared to The Dark Knight, it certainly has its problems but as a whole, this may be one of the best movie trilogies we will see for a long time. Any small flaws should be overlooked and respect is deserved for the high level of consistency held throughout.

Christian Bale hangs up his cape with pride as he joins the list of Batman greats and avoids the likes of George Clooney‘s infamous “Batnipples”.

So now you’ve heard my opinion, but what do you think? Did The Dark Knight Rises live up to your expectations? Leave a comment below if you agree or disagree. I welcome debates and would love to hear your opinion!


All Images Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/Syncopy/DC Comics
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