DVD REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight returns in the final installment of the trilogy where he must face Gotham’s greatest threat to date – Bane (Tom Hardy).

Unless you have been living under a rock since July, you will know that Christopher Nolan managed to do what we, as Batman fans, hoped he could; finish off his Dark Knight trilogy on a fast paced and thrilling note. That said, there were issues I had with the film.

Christian Bale returns as the man behind the mask, and in the time that has passed since he took the blame for the death of Harvey Dent, he has changed from the brooding man who kept to the shadows, into an entirely different man. Michael Caine steps forward as the father figure that Bruce Wayne needs, and his short appearances on-screen are just heartbreaking; he cares in a way that Wayne cannot understand. Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman reprise their roles as the support system behind Batman, albeit in slightly reduced capacities. Yes, this really is Bruce Wayne’s story. Here is a man who was so devastated by the loss of his love and the impact that he had on his city – even though his damage may have been well-intentioned.

The Dark Knight was about outsmarting a cunning and mischievous villain, but The Dark Knight Rises takes conflict back to it’s basic roots and Batman encounters the most physically challenging villain to date. The set pieces and he sheer size of the conflicts back up the physical strength of the villain, and these are on a scale we have not seen before in this franchise. Entire streets are filled with Gothamites fighting for their city, and it comes down to hand to hand combat on the ground.

Christopher Nolan has created a story that is grandiose, although slightly rambling. There are times where the audience may feel overwhelmed at the sheer wealth of information being thrown at them, but it is clear that this story has been in the making since Batman Begins, so a knowledge of the stories that have gone before is vital for the sake of understanding the movie. The pacing of the film is, for the most part, brilliant – 164 minutes almost zip by – although there is a section in the middle in which the pace drops, information slows and the film feels sluggish and bloated. As well as this, many of the plot points raised once Bruce Wayne leaves his beloved Gotham may leave the audience scratching their heads. This is where the plotholes arise, and the back-story of Bane is weakened. Happily, this is quickly resolved and the pace speeds again. For the sake of the film though, it seems that this could have been rectified.

In all, The Dark Knight Rises was the film we were waiting for. The villain may be entirely different than the ones we have encountered before, but this is what makes this Batman’s biggest challenge to date. The film is a human drama combined with a disaster movie that is brought to the screen on an epic and spectacular scale. Although the pacing is patchy and there seems to be a little too much going on, Christopher Nolan has done the characters and his vision of Gotham justice, and given the Dark Knight the send off he deserves.

Superhero fans rejoice; the first extra on The Dark Knight Rises DVD is the teaser trailer for Man of Steel, which, of course, is produced by Christopher Nolan. As well as this the DVD contains a short feature entitled The Journey of Bruce Wayne.

The Journey of Bruce Wayne charts the growth and development of the man that we have come to know as Batman, from his childhood through his party days and journey into becoming the introverted and thoughtful hero we have come to know. Director Christopher Nolan, writers Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer talk about the journey of creation and discovery they went on with the character, as well as the journey the character himself goes on. As well as this Christian Bale talks about the consequences of Bruce Wayne’s actions, be they mental, physical or emotional and his loss of purpose by the end of The Dark Knight. Composer Hans Zimmer discusses the notion of the familiar score being taken to another level within The Dark Knight Rises and the question that is posed through the music of the film.

While this featurette is interesting for fans of the film, and for those who were not quite sure what was happening throughout The Dark Knight Rises, the extra features feel a little skimpy. This was the biggest film of the year – until Skyfall – but the DVD does not match the epic scale of the story of the film. A shame. It seems, however, that the Blu-Ray features pack a lot more punch…

The Dark Knight Rises releases on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on 3rd December.

Movie Rating: 4.5/5
Extras Rating: 
Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

Picturebox Films

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