The Dark Knight Rises
In 2005 the Batman franchise was brought back to life thanks to the maybe a bit slow but nonetheless very interesting Batman Begins from Christopher Nolan with in the lead Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader. After the abysmal previous Batman movies that looked more like a parody than anything else Batman Begins was truly a new beginning of a trilogy that now comes to its apotheosis with The Dark Knight Rises.
At the end of The Dark Knight from 2008, Chief Gordon and Batman decided that the good name of Harvey Dent needed to remain intact, even if this meant the reputation of Batman himself would go down the drain. We return back to Gotham eight years later and since then Batman hasn’t been seen by anyone any more. Bruce Wayne has locked himself behind the walls of his luxurious mansion and rarely sees the light of day, but with Gotham as such things are going quite alright. The Harvey Dent Act has made that the biggest criminals have been caught and peace seems to have somewhat returned to the city.
That is, until a new terrorist shows up. Bane, who took control over the League of Shadows after Batman brought down their leader in the first movie, makes some succesful attacks and it’s clear he’s no ordinary criminal. This catches the interest of Bruce Wayne who decided to put on his suit once again, but even he isn’t strong enough to take on the extremely determined new leader of the League. Wayne is put in a prison where in the entire history only one person managed to escape from while Bane starts acting out his master plan: take control of Gotham with a nuclear bomb. Gotham’s only hope seems to be Batman but he’ll have to first overcome his own demons and escape prison before the bomb explodes.
After The Dark Knight the bar was set incredibly high and the expectations even higher for this climax of the new Batman trilogy. Christopher Nolan seemed to be in front of an impossible task but he managed to pull it off. Up to certain extent.
The storyline is really well set up with links to the previous movies and smart twists that deliver exactly what The Dark Knight rises needed. Bane is a great opponent and Christian Bale again shines as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Also Anne Hathaway surprised us in a positive way as Selina/Catwoman and almost made us forget Michelle Pfeiffer but we’re a bit less positive about Marion Cotillar who plays Miranda, a rich woman who with her charm and sensitivity manages to hit a soft spot with Wayne. Her character doesn’t really come to life and to be frank, we don’t feel she’s the type of woman Bruce Wayne would fall for. Not even in a Christopher Nolan movie that’s set up a lot more realistically than the previous Batman series of movies.
The plot twists near the end – which we won’t spoil – is therefore a bit of a letdown, but luckily Nolan ends the final scenes in such an emotional way with music rising in volume and perfectly suiting images that we can’t but take the disc from the player after the end credits with a positive feeling. The Dark Knight Rises is a great movie, but The Dark Knight was just that little bit better.
In The Dark Knight Rises we see that just as in the previous movie there’s 35mm as well as IMAX material. This is noticed by the difference in aspect ratio where the first goes to 2.40:1 and the latter to 1.78:1. Let’s start with the IMAX footage: this is just amazing! The grandure of the movie perfectly gets transferred to your flatscreen, the sharpness is almost unseen, and at times you even have the idea you’re watching a 3D movie, that’s how good the depth of the image is. The 35mm can’t compete with that and also looks a bit less good. Not that you clearly see issues, but when you look closely you notice the difference. All in all a very decent transfer.
The sound is of equal quality. The music starts to rise in volume when necessary and completely fills your living room to then let the effects attack your ears so that you feel in the center of all the action without any issues. All channels are used at full force and dialogues are always understandable, even when explosions are flying around your head from all sides. The only “downpoint” we found is that when things quiet down and people are just talking, the dialogues seem a bit on the silent side and this is weird as they seem to become louder each time action starts to unfold. This would mean the volume of the dialogues dynamically adjusts itself to the rest of the sound to make sure they remain understandable. As said we never had any issues to understand what was being said, but it’s a very weird experience to notice in quieter moments that dialogues equally seem to go down in volume.
Qua extra’s we also can’t complain. The release is delivered with 2 discs, the first with the movie and the second with special features. These include a feature on the Batmobile that lasts almost an hour and covers just about all versions of the iconic car while there are also interviews with cast, crew and even fans regarding the vehicle. “Ending the Knight” is a menu in which we get access to several different features that cover just about everything from the production process and characters. This is again good for over an hour of interesting facts after which you can end with a trailer archive and an art gallery.