Today! Because I was his friend. And it will be a very long time before someone inspires us the way he did. I believed in Harvey Dent –
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Directed by Christopher Nolan (x2)
Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman (x4), Michael Caine (x5), Morgan Freeman (x2), Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine, Ben Mendelsohn, Aidan Gillen, Liam Neeson (x3), Juno Temple, William Devane (x2), Cillian Murphy, Tom Conti, Alon Aboutboul, Nestor Carbonell, Thomas Lennon (x4), Joey King
I think it’s safe to say that, even with The Avengers that summer, The Dark Knight Rises was the most anticipated movie of 2012. Just go by the sheer numbers – there had never been a sequel to a movie that grossed as much as The Dark Knight at that point, so financially, expectations were all over the place. TDK had more than doubled Batman Begins at the box office, but upon Heath Ledger’s death whatever had been planned for TDKR went out the window. It was like season three of The Sopranos – everyone was excited to see where it would go, even if the original gameplan had to be scrapped on the fly. The first trailers were cool, and like TDK they premiered the opening IMAX sequences months early, before…Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol maybe? Something in the winter of 2011. And it was awesome, with all its “Tell me about Bane! Why does he where the mask?” coming from the man who would be Littlefinger.
But no, The Dark Knight Rises was no The Dark Knight. How could it have been? Take that straight comparison out of the equation, though, and you’re still left with the second best Batman film ever made – a grandiose epic that gave us another insanely memorable villain, with Tom Handy’s instantly iconic, endlessly imitate-able Bane, a terrific if-no-Michelle-Pfeiffer Catwoman from that year’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Anne Hathaway (okay, for a different movie, but still), and an utterly bonkers plot that somehow involved cutting Gotham off from the rest of the world by destroying the bridges and trapping the entire police force underground. But still, how fun was The Dark Knight Rises, huh?
Is it too long? Absolutely. Is it too much? By a damn sight! But it never drags, and never is really in danger of coming apart, thanks to the steady hand of Christopher Nolan, managing this giant, somewhat unwieldy story, with all its disparate threads, and so many accomplished, acclaimed actors that even the dude Bruce rehabs with in that pit-of-hell prison was played by an Oscar nominee – Tom Conti, of 1983’s Reuben, Reuben. And like, you knew in the end this wasn’t going to launch into a series of Joseph Gordon-Levitt Bat flicks, but given what we’ve had to suffer through instead, isn’t it time someone throws the whole pile of cash at Nolan and company and gets them back to superhero-ing? Are you telling me you don’t want to see what they’d do with the Penguin and the Riddler and King Tut trilogy?? Come on!
By the end of its run, The Dark Knight Rises was the seventh highest grossing movie of all-time, this in spite of the opening weekend shooting in Colorado that must’ve had some adverse reaction on film attendance (the movie opened almost exactly the same as The Dark Knight). It didn’t get the awards traction of the original either, and was somewhat overshadowed by The Avengers as far as superhero summer films were concerned (Avengers was only the third movie to top $600 million ever, at the time), so I feel like in a lot of ways TDKR gets overlooked, among the DC films and superhero movies in general. Hell, it’s not my second favorite Batman picture, despite proclaiming it the second best above. And I’ve gotta be honest, I don’t throw this one in to watch all that often either. Is it just an unquestionably admirable movie – and a pretty fun movie – but happened to land after the greatest comic book movie and at the same time as the Marvel Cinematic Universe really caught fire? That’s a tough spot to be in!
Hell yeah we’ve got Michael Caine on back-to-back days! He leads the surprisingly small group advancing – this being the first film on the list for a bunch of heavy hitters involved – with Caine joining the Five-Timers (#188 Muppet Christmas Carol, #180 Hannah and Her Sisters, #140 Noises Off, #220 Without a Clue, as Oldman (#350 Bram Stoker’s Dracula, #256 The Fifth Element, #357 JFK) and Thomas Lennon (#347 Memento, #290 Cedar Rapids, #377 I Love You, Man) to the Fours.
In lieu of another Michael Caine spotlight, here is the brilliant exchange of Caine impressions by Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip.