To be honest, I didn’t like the previous movie in the trilogy, The Dark Knight.  I thought it was very lacking in plot and it just seemed to drag on forever, especially by throwing Two-Face who didn’t do much of anything.  However, I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises substantially more than its predecessor.  This is in large due to better plot progression revolving around Bruce Wayne rather than the villain.

I would argue that Batman is Brett Farve, because it always seems like Batman is retiring one minute and then the next he’s back in the action.  This is how the movie begins, with Wayne having given up being Batman, but soon enough he is back cleansing the streets of Gotham.  But first he decides to follow Catwoman across the city.  I don’t know if I really like how she is implemented in the movie, because she’s not there often, but when she is there I was hoping she’d be there longer.

At the same time I didn’t seem to care when the villain, Bane was on screen.  Now, I know special effects are everywhere in the movie, but the really annoying part was how Bane’s voice was mixed in a bass heavy way making it difficult to understand him in a movie that is already heavy on the bass.  More importantly, his character was not interesting.  The past two movies there was Scarecrow and The Joker.  Both interesting villains and the movies allowed these villains to develop.  However, Bane never does much developing and his back story was just sort of there and felt thrown in to create a twist at the end (a rushed twist, but a twist).  Ignoring the lack of development, after you tear away all the superficial stuff, Bane’s super villain plan isn’t all that super villain.  I won’t be surprised if his ultimate evil plan is the same plan a generic villain will have in an action movie this year.  Though, it wasn’t all bad, as Bane wasn’t useless or anything, he just wasn’t as interesting as past villains.  In all honesty he was interesting until a last minute twist made him a lot less useful.  This leads me to a tough situation, as I didn’t like the second movie due to the lack of plot but this movie’s lack of a villain makes me question which one I’d rather have a lack of.

I still think I’d rather have a lack of a villain.  Batman was rarely in The Dark Knight Rises, and I enjoyed seeing Wayne for once.  Yes, the first movie does, but that’s an origin story, so it’s not like it is anything major we have not seen before.  Not to say his story in this movie is complex, but it’s a fitting story of basically getting over the past in order to do what is right.  It may sound cliche, but it’s a superhero movie and a very well acted one.

The Dark Knight Rises is dripping with atmosphere.  We’ve come to expect nothing less, but here it’s taken to a new level.  Unlike the past movies, the action here takes place during both night and day.  The final act is mainly during the day, and the bleak winter setting mirrors the dire situation Gotham is in yet again (at this point wouldn’t it be better just to move?).  Just for good measure a sunny day scene was put in there, but by then it feels awkward since the rest of the movie is shrouded in dark.

If you pay attention you’ll end up noticing a large inconsistency towards the very end of the movie, and I’m sure there are other plot holes.  Some of these issues arise due to a lack of character development, not only with Bane, but with Catwoman.  Rather than trying to explain anything about her, the writers thought it would be better to have Batman/Wayne simply say something along the lines of there’s more to you and then cut to the next scene.  That’s a cop out, but I guess they didn’t want to break the three hour mark.

The ending was particularly jarring, and it’s obvious somebody wanted to force a happy ending.  Not only that, but an awkwardly placed potential for a sequel sneaked into the final moments.  I know Batman is popular amongst kids, but this is supposed to be a more mature take on Batman, and rather than having a more daring ending, we are left with a rather simple ending.

Ultimately, The Dark Knight Rises is my favorite of the new Batman movies.  It has its shortcomings, but an interesting plot, fantastic effects, strong use of atmosphere, and a strong cast made it a very good superhero movie and summer blockbuster.  I appreciate the ambition of these movies, but it seems like they could have drawn this out into two movies in order to properly explain all the characters or maybe less characters would have worked.  A story following Wayne brings it back to reminding us he really isn’t super, he’s just a normal (granted super rich) person trying to help the city he loves, and that human element makes The Dark Knight Rises more compelling than many other superhero movies.

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