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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

And I’m back! After an eventful/restful three weeks in the United States, I’m back in Dubai and as promised, the blog will resume to its normal programming now.

Some people travel to shop, visit friends, attend special events or just to get a break from the daily routine; I travel for all these reasons and to watch movies that are unreleased in Dubai. Yes, I admittedly planned my vacation so I could watch The Dark Knight Rises the same weekend most of the world got to watch it.

Based on the above, most people assume that I’m a diehard Batman or Christian Bale fan.  That wasn’t my case – I simply couldn’t wait one month to watch this summer’s biggest blockbuster and the final installment of a critically and commercially successful trilogy. Considering how long I spend online, the buildup and spoilers would have ruined the movie for me.

And now onto the review. I will do my best to keep it spoiler-free but if you want to watch the movie with a clear mind, I suggest you stop here. All I will say is The Dark Knight Rises is easily my favorite movie in recent years and surpasses the bar set by its predecessor, The Dark Knight. I’m glad my insanity paid off and I managed to watch this movie on its premiere weekend. And I cannot wait to experience it for a 2nd time during its Middle Eastern cinema release.

The Dark Knight Rises starts off eight years after where The Dark Knight left off. Batman (Christian Bale) has seemingly disappeared from Gotham City and as a result Bruce Wayne has become a recluse.

While Gotham seems to have been saved thanks to the legacy of Harvey Dent, there is trouble brewing with the introduction of Bane (Tom Hardy), the newest leader of the League of Shadows, who is hellbent on destroying Gotham.

Chief Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Detective John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) both implore Bruce Wayne to bring Batman back to fight Bane. On the other side, Alfred (Michael Caine) reminds Wayne that he no longer has Batman’s strength as before. The lines are drawn for an epic battle where the fate of Gotham City hangs in the balance

Christopher Nolan sets the scene in The Dark Knight Rises for the culmination of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s battle against the League of Shadows. Thus the movie revisits the back story first setup in Batman Begins (I highly recommend you watch both previous films as a refresher).

The Dark Knight Rises takes it’s time to unfold, which is unsurprising considering its extended runtime of 2 hours 45 minutes. The first half is full of characters being introduced and at one point you wonder how this film will wrap up each of their storylines. Nevertheless, each sequence is justified by the epic finale.

Many will ask which is better: The Dark Knight or The Dark Knight Rises? I think that is a question of personal opinion. TDK was a more intelligent thriller thanks to Heath Ledger’s Joker with massive action sequences. TDKR is a more gritty fare with an emphasis on the physical action where Batman gets pummeled several times by a formidable Bane.

For me The Dark Knight Rises is the best installment of the series. The plot and characters are more identifiable mirroring real-world situations. Nolan’s vision is brilliantly executed by Bale and the remaining cast, and special mention goes to Joseph Gordon-Levitt who managed to give depth to a very basic character. As far as Anne Hathaway’s portrayal as Catwoman goes, some will hate her and others will love her. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

The end of The Dark Knight Rises brought a wave of sadness to me. Both Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have stated this to be their last film but I can’t help but hope these two come back to give us several more iterations because I don’t think any new reboot of Batman will be able to surpass the bar set by this film.

Dollz Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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Synopsis:

In the final part of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman must face a foe unlike any he has ever faced. In The Dark Knight, Batman saved Gotham, but could not save himself. Taking the blame for Harvey Dent’s crimes, he was hunted by the Police, and thus had to leave the task of protecting Gotham in Gordon’s hands. After what seemed like ages, Gordon finally brought peace to Gotham, and it was enough to convince the Dark Knight that Gotham was safe and that Bruce Wayne need never put on the Batsuit again. However, eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, a new foe emerges, and threatens to destroy Gotham. When this masked foe Bane proves too much for Gordon to handle, Batman must break his 8-year exile and return to defeat Bane from fulfilling his devious plan and claim his rightful place as the true Savior of Gotham.

Directed by Christopher Nolan and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film released worldwide on July 20th, 2012 and will be releasing across the Middle East on August 16th, 2012.

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