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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Gripping. Intense. Powerful.

This movie was bound to be rife with comparisons with it's classic predecessor, which arguably set a benchmark on how superhero movies should be executed, but while The Dark Knight Rises wasn't exponentially better than the previous installment, it was still equally brilliant.

For one, this followed a more solid plot line compared to The Dark Knight. It was well developed and complex without being a mess and that kept me intrigued the whole time. Sure, the first half or so required patience as it, arguably, offered some dreariness, but when the second act took off, it was sky high with no limits. The script was, yet again, overly ambitious that at times lost itself amongst the weaving subplots, but that's already a given for a Nolan film so I digress. Ha!

Now, on a technical merit, I thought that this film didn't disappoint one bit. It was beautifully shot, the visual effects were quite stunning and some of the set pieces were literally jaw dropping. The scoring was also exceptional. I admit that some of it were a bit overbearing, but that pounding musical score undeniably set the mood perfectly for the film.

But between the relatively strong plot and superbly delivered visuals, the most admirable element of this movie for me was the uniformly excellent acting. True, no one actor in this film matched the ridiculously outstanding performance of Heath Ledger as Joker, but the cast ensemble this time carried more impact. Christian Bale was clearly on top of his game as Bruce Wayne. He made the character so fleshed out that his return as the lead role was one of the highlights. Michael Caine, Marion Cottillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt also delivered stunning performances.

The real standouts, however, were Tom Hardy as Bane and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Say what you want, but despite the unfair yet inevitable comparison for both performances, they just blew me away. Yes, Heath Ledger's Joker was phenomenal and undeniably memorable and there's no way Tom Hardy's Bane could ever top that, but that's not to say the villain was less effective in this movie. I thought he pulled the role impressively well with a rather surprising amount of emotion just through his eyes and despite the fact that I couldn't understand half of what he was saying. To me, Tom Hardy was a bad*ss.

As for Anne Hathaway, she was an unexpected but spectacular scene stealer. I had reservations when she was cast as Selina Kyle - big leather boots to fill after Michelle Pfieffer. No, Halle Berry didn't happen. Haha - but she proved to be quite a charming and believable Catwoman. She gave an interesting dynamics to the character, which was impressive beyond my impressions, on top of the stunts and fight sequences that were pretty awesome.

If any fault was to be found in this film - aside from the minor quibbles I mentioned earlier from the pacing to the writing - it would have to be the opening sequence. It was, arguably, a mess. I thought the editing was choppy, the context was slightly dumb, and if you consider everything else in the film, this opening sequence felt a bit of an afterthought and a terrible introduction to Bane. Entirely forgivable given the overall impression of the film, but still.

Ultimately, The Dark Knight Rises was a perfect way to end the series. Superb acting. Solid plot. Exceptional direction. Stunning visuals. A must-see film. Definitely one of the strongest movies of the year!

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises Reviewed by DAM on 6:16 PM Rating: 5

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