The Dark Knight Rises - But Not High Enough

Author: Mel Brownlee /


I know it has been a while since The Dark Knight Rises hit our screens after months of anticipation, but it has taken me quite some time to write this review. First of all, I would like to state that I am a huge Marvel and DC Comics fan - always have been and always will be - and the first two instalments of the rebooted Batman franchise were absolutely exceptional.

Batman Begins was amazing, but The Dark Knight just fulfilled all comic book fantasies. It was always going to be hard to surpass The Dark Knight and Heath Ledgers hauntingly marvellous performance, but I had high hopes for the third movie considering that Christopher Nolan had decided to end it there instead of dragging it out and had cast the captivating, albeit a bit crazy, Tom Hardy as the villain Bane.

Every time I saw a trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, I would quite literally stop breathing for a minute and a half and tightly squeeze the hand of the person who had the misfortune of sitting next to me. I was anticipating seeing a respectable Bane who was not controlled by a woman, who gave Batman a serious run for his money. I had my concerns about Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman as I had never been a big fan of her look or her acting. But after watching a brief glimpse of her performance in a Les Misérables trailer I decided it was only fair to give the woman a chance. Christian Bale was, of course, always going to be great in my eyes. He is Batman, along with Nolan he breathed a complete new life into the Batman series and I knew he would do no wrong.

By the time The Dark Knight Rises had premiered, I was experiencing a rather rough patch in my life so the importance of the third and final Batman being mind blowing was pretty imperative to my mental and emotional stability. Without sounding too melodramatic, all I had in my life was the prospect of watching a good Batman film and having a nice little perve on Bale and Hardy, so my exceptions were sky high as you can imagine.

Now, I understand we all have our own opinions and granted, my opinions are often like Marmite – you either love them or you hate them. They are very blunt, very dramatic and not at all open to reason. So I will try to be as reasonable as I can whilst I give my verdict on The Dark Knight Rises, but I can assure you that some of you will not like it. Not, one, bit.

To put it quite simply, my disappointment cannot be conveyed.

I had wished for so many things in the final Batman and none of those things came true. The one thing I came away with was shock that the only part of the film I actually enjoyed was Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Cat Woman. How could this be? I just sat through a Christopher Nolan Batman film with some of the most brilliant actors around at the moment -Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I had a good 2 hours’ worth of staring at Tom Hardy’s muscles, observing gritty fight scenes and listening to the fantastic musical score and yet I felt so deflated when I left the cinemas.

To be fair, the film didn’t start to go severely downhill for me until right near the end. The death of Bane, or rather the revelation of the fact that he was controlled by a manipulative woman the whole time. Here was me thinking that Bane was just a crazy, slightly disturbed maniac who wanted to bring chaos and anarchy to Gotham, to challenge Batman and take control of the city. A character worthy of taking over the position of villain after Heath Ledgers nightmarishly beautiful Joker captivated millions of people all over the world.

But no, it was not to be. For all of his strength, greed and hunger for power, all he really turned out to be was a whipped little boy, not a crazy mentalist who caused shit for his own enjoyment, but a suppressed shell of a man who was doing the bidding of the woman he had loved for years. Brilliant, how original. Because we hadn’t seen enough of him being Poison Ivy’s lap dog in the flop film Batman & Robin, had we?

For me, it was such a slap across the face. The one character I had anticipated the most, turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the entire trilogy. It wasn’t Tom Hardy’s fault that his character could have been played by anyone, or that for the majority of the film I had no idea what the hell he was trying to say, or that the writers had turned his character into little pussy cat who was killed off quite suddenly by Cat Woman in the least satisfying comeuppance and death of a baddy I had seen in a film, ever. And to be honest, if I was Hardy I would be doing some serious Bronson shit on the writers and producers of The Dark Knight Rises for ruining his beloved Bane.

Moving on to the next flop before have a mental breakdown over Bane, what was with the ending? I did not seriously just watch the beginning of Robin, did I?

I feel uncomfortable just thinking about the possibility of the launch of a new Batman & Robin series after Del Boy & Rodney did a far better job of being the crime fighting super duo than George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell could ever even dream of. So why was this thrown into The Dark Knight Rises? What was the need for it? Had Nolan had a midlife crisis and decided to completely destroy an already weak and sporadic storyline?

I just didn’t know what to make of it all. The minute Miranda Tate was revealed to be the instigator behind Bane’s mission to bring Gotham to ashes and the begrudged child of Ra's al Ghul, I am sure I tuned out a little, then again when John Blake found the Bat cave, and then again when Batman came “back from the dead” with his new girlfriend, – wait for it, surprise, surprise – Selina Kyle! Oh it was just all too good to be true. Not.

What the hell does Nolan think this is? A Disney film? For Christ sake man, get a hold of yourself! The one thing I loved about the new Batman series is that it was dark, haunting and never ended on a particularly good note. The very core of it was moving and deep, creepy and intriguing, daring and heartfelt. But watching The Dark Knight Rises was like watching a completely different film all together. This may be unfathomable to the majority of you, but I had hoped to see the death of Batman, now that would have been an ending. If Bane had been driven by his own madness and managed to kill Batman, it would have left us all on the edge of our seats, completely unsettled and stunned. Which is what had I expected from the Dark Knight trilogy. I did not expect a happy ending, a fairy tale romance and future bromance lurking on the horizon to round off an amazingly irking series.

But what can you do? It is what it is.

Out of 10, I would give The Dark Knight Rises 6 stars and this can only really be contributed to Tom Hardy’s physique and bulging muscles, because in the end, that was certainly all I cared about and the only thing that held my concentration throughout a boring, confusing and disappointing finale. Boo – freaking – hoo.

Yours most untruly,


A little treat to make us (well, mainly me) feel better. Enjoy ;)


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