Movie Reviews

The Dark Knight Rises At 10: 10 Things That Still Hold Up Today

Christian Bale recently returned to the comic book genre with his highly acclaimed role as Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. During the press tour, a few well-placed questions sparked rumors of a reunion with Christopher Nolan for a fourth Batman movie.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Nolan’s wildly satisfying Bat-finale, The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not a perfect movie like its predecessor – The Dark Knight Rises has an overstuffed plot, an overlong runtime, and a few stretches in logic – but it still holds up a decade later.

The opening sequence of Nolan’s third and final Batman movie had to rival the bank heist from The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises kicks off with an even bigger, bolder set-piece than its game-changing predecessor: an airborne airplane heist.

Bane and his goons descend upon a government plane, extract their target, and stage a crash. In true Nolan fashion, the film’s crew pulled it off for real with breathtaking practical stunt work. Captured with IMAX cameras, this sequence is just as thrilling today as it was 10 years ago when it first played in multiplexes.

In The Dark Knight trilogy, Christian Bale gave one of the most multidimensional Batman performances of all time. The final chapter of the trilogy takes place years after The Dark Knight and picks up with Bruce Wayne at the end of his road.

Bale’s performance in The Dark Knight Rises evokes the aging, grizzled Batman seen in The Dark Knight Returns. Throughout the film, this semi-retired Caped Crusader reluctantly springs back into action. The Dark Knight Rises brings Bale’s Bat-arc full circle as he finally hangs up the cowl and passes on the torch.

Arriving on the heels of his dream heist actioner Inception, The Dark Knight Rises emerged as one of Nolan’s most ambitious movies. The finale’s epic scale apes that of its two predecessors.

The Dark Knight Rises is the work of a filmmaker at the top of his game. The story jumps all over the place, but thanks to Nolan’s razor-sharp direction pulling everything together, the audience is never lost.

In The Dark Knight, the Joker posed a psychological threat to Batman. In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane sets himself apart by posing a physical threat. That threat is perfectly established when Bane breaks Batman’s back over his knee.

This scene recreates Bane’s most iconic moment from the comics. The back-breaking scene finally gave Bane the live-action incarnation he deserved after his disappointing depiction in Batman & Robin.

In The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan introduced Catwoman into his grounded Bat-verse. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is a classic cat burglar. She’s not as sympathetic as Zoë Kravitz’s take, but Hathaway still managed to humanize Selina Kyle.

She’s a femme fatale, just like she is in the comics, but she’s not a one-note archetype. She’s never even referred to as Catwoman; she’s just called “The Cat.” This Selina isn’t evil; she steals to get by.

Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Nolan’s superhero movies refused to follow a formula. His Batman films explored narrative frameworks that the comic book genre usually wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

His Dickensian trilogy closer, The Dark Knight Rises, is a loose retelling of A Tale of Two Cities that stages the French Revolution on the wartorn streets of Gotham City.

Hans Zimmer reunited with Nolan to compose the musical score for The Dark Knight Rises. As always, Zimmer’s score is a mesmerizing wall of sound that amps up the intensity of the action scenes.

There’s a recurring chant throughout The Dark Knight Rises that creates an ominous sense of cultism around Bane’s anarchist following. The incessantly repeating tones of the main theme beautifully symbolize Batman’s guilt and suffering.

When he was cast as the main villain in The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy was faced with the insurmountable task of following up Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the Joker. Hardy’s chilling performance as Bane is a lot hammier than Ledger’s work in The Dark Knight, but his turn is still iconic.

The Bane seen in The Dark Knight Rises is a surprisingly grounded take on a cartoonish supervillain character. It’s sometimes difficult to understand his voice under the mask, but he’s an undeniably menacing on-screen presence.

Like many superhero films, The Dark Knight Rises culminates in a humongous final battle. The scale of The Dark Knight Rises’ climactic battle sequence puts the rest of the genre to shame.

This battle spans the entirety of Gotham City as Bane’s goons take on the entire GCPD. The final battle in The Dark Knight threequel successfully tops all the spectacle that came before.

At the end of The Dark Knight Rises, after failing to disarm Bane’s bomb, Batman flies the device out into the ocean and seems to get caught up in the blast. In the aftermath, John “Robin” Blake inherits the Batcave and, likely, the mantle of Batman. Some time later, Alfred sees Bruce sitting in a café with Selina, mirroring a fantasy he described earlier in the movie.

This closing scene is another wonderfully ambiguous ending in the mold of Nolan’s previous mind-bending opus, Inception. Too many blockbusters spell out their narratives these days. Nolan concluded his Batman trilogy with a little bit of mystery. Fans are still discussing the meaning of The Dark Knight Rises’ ending to this day.

NEXT: The Dark Knight Rises & 9 Other Trilogy Closers That Faced Impossibly High Expectations

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