The Dark Knight Rises
Reason for the Rating: Intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.
Plot Summary: After eight years in self-imposed exile, Batman returns to save Gotham from a new threat, the evil Bane.
PopFam Recommends: All Batman fans need to see this, the finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, but it's not for younger children.
The final and much anticipated end to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has finally arrived, much to the joy and dismay of Batman fans everywhere. Joy, because it's finally here! Dismay, because it's the end. There's not another to look forward to.
With the tone of this final episode, I'm not sure I'd want a continuation, though. In The Dark Knight Rises, we find Batman broken physically and emotionally. Placed in self-imposed seclusion for the past eight years, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has lost all purpose after losing his love, as well as the trust of the people of Gotham. Uninterested in running Wayne Enterprises, uninterested in helping people, Bruce Wayne is hiding from the world. Existing, but not living.
That is, until he meets Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cat-burglar who steals his mother's pearl necklace. The need to retrieve the necklace at least gets him out of the house. But what really gets him going, is when Bane (Thomas Hardy) shows up and takes control of Gotham using terrorist tactics. Having been out of commission for so long, though, Bane easily overtakes Batman and places him in a prison where climbing the stone walls is the only way out. A feat few have accomplished, Bane included. While in prison, Bruce watches as Gotham is destroyed from the inside out. Bane sets the people against each other, and the only form of law enforcement is Bane and his thugs.
Inside Gotham, attempting to thwart Bane, is Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), the environmentalist who has been given control of Wayne Enterprises. Working with Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Fox and Miranda attempt to locate the bomb, until Batman can arrive.
As you can see, there's a complicated plot, a lot of new characters, and a really bad guy. The problem is, there isn't much Batman. And the Batman we get to see, is mostly broken. It's not until the end, of a three hour movie, that Batman rises and reminds us why we love this super hero so much. Bane, whose face is mostly hidden by a breathing apparatus, is tough and pure evil, but beyond that he's a fairly shallow character. Anne Hathaway is witty and looks great in her Catwoman costume, but there was just something lacking. Probably had something to do with a lack of chemistry between she and Batman, and she just wasn't super believable as a scrappy fighter. Maybe I'm just used to seeing her in movies like The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada.
The new character I did like, and which made me sad he won't be appearing in another Batman movie, was Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. He was interesting and added direction to the plot, which none of the other new characters did...except for Bane. I mean, you can't have a movie about a super hero if you don't have a bad guy to defeat, but he wasn't anything near the Joker in The Dark Knight.
Parents should be aware that there are scenes in this movie that reflect our world: terrorist attacks and crowds of people being shot in a place where they cannot escape are very real. If your children are aware of and sensitive to these occurrences, you might want to see the movie first before taking your kids.
If you are a Batman fan, you will want to see this grand finale. Like life, it may not be exactly what you hoped for, but you'll be glad you got to experience it.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• In the face of adversity, Miranda chose the path of evil, while Bruce Wayne chose a path of serving others. When faced with difficult situations, do you focus on your self, or the needs of others?
• Bruce Wayne found purpose in his girlfriend and defending Gotham. When those were gone, he lost his reason to be a part of the world. In what do you place your hope and purpose?
• Selina's biggest desire was for the "Clean Slate," so she could wipe away her past and start over. How is the "Clean Slate" like the forgiveness Christ offers?
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