The Dark Knight Rises DVD Review

Every great trilogy consists of three parts or acts.

The first act is where the director shows you something ordinary that, by the end, you suspect really isn’t.

The second act is where things turn, as the director takes this ordinary something and introduces something, or someone, extraordinary.

But you wouldn’t clap yet, because making something extraordinary isn’t enough.

Which is why there’s a third act, in this case called The Dark Knight Rises.

It’s been eight, short Gotham years since The Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent’s sins, and this lie still holds true.

Organised crime is now a thing of the past, but then so is The Batman who’s become a fugitive of the law and is still on the lam from Gotham police department’s less than finest.

While The Batman has supposedly moved on, Bruce Wayne certainly hasn’t, having turned himself into a bearded recluse with a walking stick ever since his alter ego with a desperate need for some cough medicine flew the coop.

But when an alluring jewel thief makes off with some pearls during one of those Wayne Manor functions, it sets in motion a series of events that will force The Batman to take to the streets of Gotham one last time.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last six months, chances are you’ll have already seen The Dark Knight Rises.

And I sure hope so by now, because if not what follows will most certainly spoil it for you.

It’s fair to say that when The Dark Knight Rises was released, I wasn’t a big fan.

Apart from anything else, the screening I caught of Bruce Wayne’s highly anticipated final act was nigh on incomprehensible for most every scene featuring the villainous Bane, as well as a few others.

Worryingly, heavy handed sound mixing is becoming a staple problem of a modern Christopher Nolan film.

But I’d heard this had been fixed and the home entertainment version of Tom Hardy’s voice comes shining through as the clearest of them all now.

Of course, I’ve got no idea why he speaks like the bastard offspring of Sean Connery and the Queen, but at least I can understand what’s coming out of his mouth now.

And when it’s still a little muffled, you’ve got the subtitle function at the ready; all of which makes The Dark Knight Rises a much better and coherent film second time around.

There are even some hilarious one liners from the man in the mysterious mask, but I’m still not sold on The Dark Knight Rises in the same way that everyone else seems to be.

And it’s all down to one simple thing, the script; Nolan includes so many convenient plot developments that simply stretch the film’s credibility to breaking point and beyond.

So eight years on from The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne’s now a cripple although we’re never really told why.

People can now guess who his alter ego is just by his smile, but only if it’s necessary for the story Nolan wants to tell.

Super villains have super strength, without explanation, and then lose said strength when something happens to that mysterious mask of his.

Again, no reason why.

Broken backs can be fixed with a punch by an old man and our hero, who’s used to climbing buildings and flying from rooftops, will be put in a prison that a small child could escape from.

Climactic scenes will clichéd as well as ludicrously signposted by Michael Caine’s character of Alfred, who’s three dimensional guardian figure of the first two films has been turned into a simpering, monologuing caricature of the past.

Oh, and The Batman can not only survive quite literally getting stabbed in the back, but also nuclear bombs without ever explaining how.

And no, telling us the autopilot on his new toy’s been fixed is not an explanation.

I think the most damning indictment of The Dark Knight Rises flaws is neatly summed up in one of the dvd extras, The Journey Of Bruce Wayne.

In this ten minute talking-head featurette, we get to understand what actually happened to Wayne after The Dark Knight, as well as his true motivations for protecting Gotham.

And the reason this extra is included with the film disc? Because none of this crucial exposition is in any way apparent on the final edit of The Dark Knight Rises.

Bit of an oversight there.

The real shame is, having watched this simple dvd extra, Chris Nolan et al had the raw materials to make The Dark Knight Rises the best film of his epic trilogy.

But, as so often happens when a film becomes this big, it feels as though everyone involved got too close to what they were trying to create, and forgot to take a step back and see if their reality still made sense to people outside their world.

Which was the true brilliance of Nolan’s first two Batman films, that you believed a story about a grown man dressing up as a bat could be real.

Well I did anyway.

The third act of Nolan’s epic ballad of Bruce Wayne has plenty of twists and turns, where more lives than ever hang in the balance.

And you do get to see something shocking, something that I’ve never seen before.

A relatively poor Christopher Nolan script.

Now that’s not really a secret, but there are plenty of zealots out there who won’t admit to this because they’re not really looking.

They don’t really want to work it out.

They want to be fooled.

Jonathan Campbell

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