CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the dark night, with fog filling the air, my sister and I traveled through our small town to our local theater, our bodies pulsing with excitement for what we were about to experience. We pulled into a crowded parking lot, filled with many of our peers dressed in black. Dressed in capes. Dressed in masks.
We briskly walked through the theater doors, gave our ticket to the attendant and sat in a room filled with darkness, excitement and close to 100 other people. Then, as the lights dimmed, we looked upon the screen and saw the words we were waiting for: "The Dark Knight Rises."
I was excited to see this movie. Thrilled. Overjoyed. But after sitting through more than two hours of it, I found myself disappointed. The finale to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is good, but that's all. Just good.
The movie begins eight years after the end of "The Dark Knight," when Batman took the blame for the death of the not-so-great Harvey Dent, and his beloved Rachel died. The notorious Batman has disappeared, and when Gotham City truly needs him, he is not so willing to return.
He rises to the occasion, but did Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) really believe that after eight years of sulking in his mansion he could go out and pick up where he left off? Apparently so.
Batman attempts to fight his obviously stronger opponent, Bane (Tom Hardy), who proves to be the better of the two and puts Batman to shame. It's almost painful to watch as Bane practically breaks the beloved superhero in half.
Once Batman is out of the picture and locked up far away, Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Detective John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lead others in Gotham against Bane while he does pretty much whatever he pleases.
The recently promoted Blake is more than able to take care of himself in all of this. Early in the movie, he confides in Bruce that they have the same anger built up inside them since his parents were also murdered. And like many characters in the Batman series, he has more to offer than we could have guessed.
Director Christopher Nolan usually focuses on the psychological repercussions the main characters experience as a result of the villains' actions, but here, he attempts to display the sociological effects as Bane gives power "back to the people." However, it is difficult to believe that the citizens of the now crime-free Gotham could be so easily pushed to such anarchy as what's seen, especially Bane's new "court-system" (run by a familiar face) where the rich have two options: death or exile.
However, there is one smile that shines through all the doom and gloom: Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle. The Catwoman (though she's never actually referred to as this) is an excellent contribution to the film with her stealth, fighting style and odd sense of humor. Unfortunately, her character is only featured periodically throughout the film.
Hathaway is breathtaking in the infamous leather catsuit, but she's not the only dame to potentially capture Bruce Wayne's heart. Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) is a board member for Wayne Enterprises who is eager to help Bruce pursue his father's humanitarian ventures. There's more to her, though, than he ever could have imagined.
Though the movie starts slow, the pace picks up in the last hour as Wayne regains not only his strength, but also his determination. The return of these attributes help Batman fight Bane for Gotham City's fate and allows us to see the Batman we grew accustomed to in the last film.
The ending had most people wanting to cry and smile simultaneously. I felt the overwhelming rush of emotions as much as the rest, but I was also asking myself, "Well, what is going to happen?" For a few worrisome minutes, there's a question of what will happen to the idolized superhero.
But the ending gives us something to look forward to, too. The last few minutes introduce a surprising cliffhanger that could potentially grow into a series of its own.Overall, I enjoyed the movie. The fighting scenes, dry comedy and pure darkness all packed into one movie pleased me. However, when you see it, don't make the same mistake I did by going in with extremely high expectations. This "Dark Knight" might not rise to the occasion.