The Dark Knight Rises - Review & Photos

The Dark Knight Rises - Christopher Nolan's Third Installment of The Batman Series

The Dark Knight Rises, which opened in the USA July 20, will not only be one of the biggest American superhero blockbusters for 2012, but will be the most profitable of the Batman franchises. Christopher Nolan returns for a third time around to direct the film. Nolan co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan and the story with David S. Goyer.

The Dark Knight Rises is the third installment in the film series, the sequel to Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), all directed and deftly crafted by Nolan. One of Mark Jordan Photography's favorite directors is Nolan, whose last film, Inception, left no doubt the genius of the man.

The focus for me is not whether The Dark Knight Rises is an extraordinary cinematic achievement, and not even if it is deserving of Academy Award consideration - the question that occupies my mind is how many Oscars The Dark Knight Rises will amass. It's that good folks. No, it's extraordinary.
The Dark Knight Rises - 5 Lenses
Regardless of my immediate take, the greater question for Batman fans is whether Nolan was successful in giving them something to cheer about or will they walk away feeling abandoned. Fortunately, Nolan took to heart the closing of the curtain on their much beloved trilogy and set about to leave a legacy that not only he will be proud, but triumphed on every level.

Though I knew The Dark Knight Rises takes place after the portentous conclusion of The Dark Knight, what I was surprised to learn was that it's a whopping eight years later. As you know, much can happen in that span, especially so when it comes to the gathering of dark forces. And when it comes to Batman villains all pale in comparison - the most diabolical miscreant yet.   

I also discovered that regardless of Nolan's phenomenal successes with his first two Batman films, he was skeptical about taking the helm for a third time. Eventually Nolan agreed to the project but only after his brother, Jonathan, and David Goyer, developed a great story. Nolan's primary concern was to end the series on the proverbial high note

Adding to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion is Nolan's gracious departure of leaving the light on for whoever opts to fill his colossal shoes for subsequent Dark Knights.  No spoilers here - I want you to be an delighted as I was with closing sequences. Though is it difficult for me to envision any successor to take Nolan's place, I recall feeling the same regarding the James Bond franchise - then along came Martin Campbell with Daniel Craig. Thought Campbell gave way to Marc Foster, Campbell's Craig remains, breathing new life into the Bond series. 

Time will tell if Rush Limbaugh's jest about "Bane" being linked to Romney will have any legs.
Regardless of The Dark Knight Rises being slated to complete of the Batman series, fans should be comforted in knowing that it cannot be too long before they will once again see the DC Comics character BatmanBatman is much too fertile a franchise for Hollywood to allow it to remain fallow for long. The franchise will be around plenty long enough to see Alfred being played by a then aging Christian Bale... 

Speaking of Bale, he returns for another go at his greatly anticipated role along with Michael CaineGary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman, all from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. There are also a few new faces, not least of which is Tom Hardy, which I must repeat is the most despicable villain yet, Bane (as in "a person who ruins and spoils" sort of bane...), and Anne Hathaway whose role as Selina Kyle is played exquisitely.

I must be candid and confess that when I first learned of Hathaway playing the sleek and satiny feline, I couldn't see it. I had imagined a dozen other vixens who would more than amply fill the bill - but Hathaway? In fact, she wasn't anywhere on my radar. I could not have been more wrong. Gratefully, Nolan did not consult with me. 

Though there are performances galore to rave about, none shine more brightly than Hathaway. For me, Hathaway is the catalyst that gives The Dark Knight its rise! Hathaway's achievement was all the more gratifying when considering the dive your reputation has taken, with one bomb after another. Hathaway's Selina Kyle will surely catapult her career.  
The Dark Knight Rises - Escaping felons with weapons. 
The Dark Knight Rises  - Bane taking control. 
Were I to quibble, I'd have to say that I was a tad put off by the diction quality between Batman and Bane. I strained to make out the battling of the synthesized voice-boxes and looked to others to clue me in, only to see shrugging shoulders. Regardless of not always understanding every word uttered by Band I very much enjoyed the Darth Vader-like tonal quality, making out just enough to get us through. 

I'm also not certain what audiences will discern regarding the political leanings of Nolan's direction. It's apparent to me that Nolan falls in line with my libertarian view of the world, giving credence to the superior grist of the rule of law and the conservative values therein.  Clearly, Nolan is no fan of the Occupy Wall Street gang and exposes their hypocrisy in a way that advocates of moral authority could never accomplish. However for all the excitement and thrills that The Dark Knight provides, my sense is that political message will be lost, and that possibly only One Percent will take home the underlying thread to which Nolan addresses.

At to the particulars, the filming of The Dark Knight Rises takes quite the sequitious route, with locations all over the map. Starting off  high above the globe with an outrageously exciting hijack of a CIA plane, The Dark Knight Rises in Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Pittsburg (for an equally disturbing Steelers game you'll never forget), London, Nottingham, Glasgow, and Jodhpur, of all places. Oh, I almost forgot, Gotham!

Batman fans will be elated with the cinema photography. Nolan shunned the ubiquitous clamor for all things 3D and has once again chosen to employ the IMAX camera (not all but a great portion of it). Thankfully, Nolan feels that same and you and I, who detest the obnoxious gimmickery of 3D, while demanding exceptional cinematic quality - there's no better camera than the IMAX to make the best use the visuals created by Nolan and his team. I was awestruck. 
The Dark Knight Rises - a face we'll see in upcoming sequels...
The Dark Knight Rises  - No way out of Gotham 
The Dark Knight Rises  - This means war!
The Dark Knight Rises  - Moral authority to the rescue. 
The Dark Knight Rises  - old friends unite again. 
The Dark Knight Rises  - a thief makes her exit.
The Dark Knight Rises - riding mean upon a Bat machine. 
The Dark Knight Rises - fiery, explosive and rewarding. 
The Dark Knight Rises  - the battle rages on.
The Dark Knight Rises - joining forces? 
The Dark Knight Rises  - the ultimate in Aerobatics!

The Dark Knight Rises - running as it his life depended on it - it did.
The Dark Knight Rises  - Hathaway is the catalyst that gives The Dark Knight its rise!
The Dark Knight Rises - High Flying action you have not seen anywhere before.
The Dark Knight Rises - With the mothballs removed from his cape, Batman surveys Gotham. 
I have been a Batman fan for as many years as they've been showing up on TV and film. Some have been exceptional while most have been marginal, at best. However, The Dark Knight Rises has elevated the Batman series to new heights, not only contending for the best Batman story every told, but a remarkable piece of film making all around - Academy Award bound for sure.

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