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Review The Dark Knight Rises (2012): Overall TDKR will provide an enjoyable viewing experience but felt less epic especially in comparison to The Dark Knight. And certainly no masterpiece!

genre :action, adventure, science fiction, super hero

So finally I got to watch The Dark Knight Rises. And I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. From start till finish, I was enthralled and amused. But even if that is the case, I could not stop raising eyebrows at some events and plot lines. 

First off, I liked Anna Hathaway as Selina Kyle (Catwoman). Only was a bit puzzling to see how underused she was. She could have easily not be present, and you would not have missed her at all. Joseph Gordon Levitt also was a nice addition, and he made sense in relation to Bruce Wayne's story line. But could not shake the feeling that he also comes out of nowhere, and you wonder why Nolan focuses so much on him. Of course this gets explained in the ending, but still with all this emphasis on secondary characters the question remains, why isn't there more Batman? In my opinion, this is because Christopher Nolan has made this film about Bruce Wayne instead of Batman. Everybody who has read the comics or seen the cartoons knows that Batman refers to himself as Batman (even in his thoughts). And that Bruce Wayne is the persona he takes on as a disguise. Which is the exact opposite of how Nolan approaches the subject. Bruce Wayne has lost his spirit and anger, and at some point we see him regain that. In order to enjoy the film, you really have to let go of what you know about Batman. But even if you manage that, it still doesn't explain why there is barely a Batman in it. 

Following multiple characters does work in those blockbuster disaster films, but here it prevents you to really get to know them well and steal too much momentum away from important characters, including the Bruce Wayne / Batman character. Although in the last 20 minutes, Nolan does make it up somewhat and manages to make Batman shine as it should. Bane was an interesting villain, but did not really stand out apart from the way he sounded. It was like Sean Connery doing an impression of Darth Vader. Bane was just there to put events in motion, and he also could have easily been replaced by another villain. The two fights between him and Batman therefore felt empty and lacklustre. It did not feel epic at all. Maybe it was me, but in general I wasn't that much impressed by the action scenes. Compared to The Dark Knight most of them felt underwhelming. Strangely enough, TDKR felt more coherent and consistent plot wise (if one ignores the flaws when it comes to characterizations of Alfred and Batman). 

But if the plot is not that spectacular and the characters are not that deep and the action isn't nearly as exciting as it could have been. What then makes TDKR so compelling to so many people who have watched it? Granted, as a conclusion to a trilogy it succeeds. And even as a standalone, it is good enough to keep you watching. But is it a cinematic  masterpiece like it is claimed? No. Is it the ultimate comic book adaption? No. Is it better than The Avengers (2012)? No, it is not. Even following Nolan's mythology, a lot of events and actions from characters simply don't add up. Visually, the Nolan Batman films always have looked impressive. Although it went from darker to lighter and lightest. To do away with the Gothic style is one thing, but to put Batman in daylight this much is so much out of character. My biggest complaint however, that Nolan has removed everything I like of Batman and replaced it with a plot that isn't nearly as clever as it is made out to be. After having read so many raving reviews, that stumps me the most. What oh what is so clever and intelligent about the plot? It takes Nolan almost three hours to come to the conclusion Alfred was referring to. That one scene basically was telling you how everything would play out in the end. 

Overall TDKR will provide an enjoyable viewing experience but felt less epic especially in comparison to The Dark Knight. (If you have come to this review after having read my review of The Dark Knight, then my use of the word epic in relation to that film might be a little confusing. A distinction should be made between feeling and being. It's not the same.)

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