Posted by: Necci – Jul 23, 2012
I left the theatre less than an hour ago and, despite being way too old to put on a cape(towel) and run around kicking and punching things the way I did as a kid after some superhero movie or another, I did get those butterflies. You know those butterflies. This film is a perfect third act. No, it does not have the Empire Strikes Back effect, where you're left with heroes in conflict, striving towards an as yet unrealized hope. The Dark Knight does though - and that is why, like The Empire Strikes Back, we consider it the meat in the sandwich.
The second act is the easiest to love. We know who the characters are. We've seen the triumphing power of the protagonist in most sequel-begetting films in the first act (film). We're confident in them. We're ready for them to face their "even bigger challenge" with the stakes raised and the outcomes uncertain. You never really know where the second act is going to go. That's where its ability to be unique comes from.
The third act, in standard Summer-fare movie trilogies, is like graduation. You know it's going to be long, you know there's going to be resolution, and when the story is as epic as this one (which stands at shoulder height with the original Star Wars trilogy and LOTR) is, there is going to be extended denouement. But when the diploma is received and the mortarboards and gowns are off, the deeper reflections of the moment are not on just that momentous day. It should make you think about the entirety of the journey there. That is something TDKR does very very well.
Like Return of the Jedi, a maligned third act that is MUCH better than people give it credit for, The Dark Knight Rises has to eschew the minutiae and prepare you for finality. In doing so it has to resolve, or at least address, in a measured pace (so as not to discredit the emotional weight) of every conundrum brought up in the previous entries. It has to also make you care about what's happening now. It has to keep you guessing at eventualities that most third acts lay bare - like we all just sat back and waited for Anakin and Obi-Wan's lava fight at the end of Revenge Of The Sith. Instead of merely waiting for the "final epic fight between Bane and Batman," I gave a shit about what was going to happen in between.
All in all, I loved this movie. There are very few trilogies that call for repeat watching as a marathon event. Other than this trilogy, there's probably only SW, LOTR, and... hell, maybe that's it. I think that's all a review of this film needs to say. Nolan did NOT fuck it up. He landed the jet fighter at full speed on a moving aircraft carrier. Bravo!
By Christian Detres