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Movie Review

The Dark Knight Rises

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.

Reviewed by: Scott Brennan
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Crime Thriller Superhero Drama Sequel IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
July 20, 2012 (wide—4,375+ theaters)
DVD: December 4, 2012
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

terrorism

Is it right to take from the rich and give to the poor?

The villain Bane claims he is a necessary evil, providing a reckoning for Gotham.

justice of God

What do you think of the comment that if you want to save the world, you have to trust the world?

sin and the fall of man

justice

fugitive hero

vigilantism

escalation between criminals and police

bravery, courage, self-sacrifice

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring: Tom HardyBane
Liam NeesonRa’s Al Ghul
Christian BaleBruce Wayne/Batman
Anne HathawaySelina Kyle/Catwoman
Joseph Gordon-LevittJohn Blake
Gary OldmanJim Gordon
Juno TempleHolly Robinson
Morgan FreemanLucius Fox
Marion CotillardMiranda Tate
Ben Mendelsohn
Aidan Gillen … CIA Agent
Michael CaineAlfred
more »
Director: Christopher Nolan
Producer: Warner Bros. Pictures
DC Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“The legend ends”

July 20, 2012—A dark night did arise. The sadness felt by this reviewer for the families and loved ones of those killed or wounded in the deadly shootings early this morning upon the release of this film “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado—is not measurable. But surely, the thoughts and prayers of thousands are with them during this difficult time. This violent rampage perpetrated by a deranged 24 year old—allegedly acting as “the Joker” in the spirit of the villain by the same name in the second film of this trilogy by writer/director Christopher Nolan—will certainly be touted as support for the “watching violence—produces violence” argument. Unfortunately, that debate will probably only create more discord, not less. However, no matter what side of the argument anyone is on, a tragedy has taken place, and prayers are needed for all involved, especially from those who frequent this Web site and claim to follow the Christ of the Bible.

It is difficult to write a review in light of this calamity. But in full disclosure, I saw the film today, before I learned of the events that occurred just after midnight last night—at the opening of the film in Colorado—so my overall reaction to the film, and the notes that I took are prior to having heard of the human catastrophe—which I did—after leaving the theater this morning. Not surprisingly, as you will read below, some of my comments had already alluded to my concerns about the excessive violence in the movie—questioning the rating system of the industry, as I have done a number of times before in the reviews I have submitted for this Web site.

Background

One goal of the director (Christopher Nolan) in the first film, “Batman Begins” (2005) was to create a sense of “FEAR,” pure and unadulterated, grounding the film in its more original storyline. It was in that story that a child had witnessed his parents’ senseless murder, creating young Bruce Wayne’s need to “right the wrongs” which set the tone for overcoming that all pervasive fear. The second in the trilogy, “The Dark Knight” (2008) was designed to generate a palpable sense of “CHAOS” through a deranged fiend portrayed particularly well by the late Heath Ledger in his final performance as “the Joker” before exiting this world’s stage in his own real life tragedy. Finally, the raw emotion to be felt in this—the final story in Nolan’s trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) is obvious within the first few minutes of the nearly 3 hour film, “PAIN.” The entire film is a barrage of sequential vignettes, each more painful than the one before it—at times excruciating to watch. The last time I can recall seeing so many violent acts affect my psyche this way was during “The Terminator” series back in the 1990’s—which, in retrospect, seem almost tame compared to this film.

None of this is written to detract from the obvious talent that Nolan has in creating stand-out films. His recent success with the film “Inception”—an overly complicated plot—some complained—reached new heights as to what’s possible when it comes to merging special effects with what gets written on the human heart in terms of pure emotion. “A dream within a dream”, were just words without a picture, until Christopher Nolan came along. And, to his credit, he waited for the perfect script before embarking on this third film—in his opinion—to complete the trilogy, not wanting to merely press the “cash cow” for the sake of being the second man in Hollywood to have directed all three super hero films in a franchise of this magnitude. (The first was Sam Raimi for the Spider-Man trilogy.) Fearing he would be bored halfway through production if he found he had a film he deemed unnecessary, he looked for the right script. That screenplay finally emerged from his own creative energy—once again with the help of his brother Jonathan, to complete “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The Cast and Story Overview

Undoubtedly, many moviegoers will be attracted to this film simply by the name recognition of the cast: Christian Bale (Batman), Tom Hardy (Bane), Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle/Cat Burglar), Michael Caine (Alfred), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate), Liam Neeson (Ra’s al Ghul/Henri Ducard), Matthew Modine (Deputy Foley), all of whom portray their roles with convincing style, not too over-the-top, but with a slightly dark hue, in a DC Comic-come-to-life-sort of way. For the diehard fans that will see this film no matter what negative light I shed on it, they probably won’t be disappointed. The Hans Zimmer music is rich, textured, and paced what should have been an unbearably long film—to seem like only two hours instead of three.

Finally, the script was artfully written, and there are few (if any, at all) unanswered questions—due to one of the more tightly sewn up final acts in recent memory. (No jacks left spinning in the final scene.) And even where the viewer had to suspend disbelief for a ridiculous amount of time—for feats beyond capability—even for these humans—Nolan was able to nuance the scenes with both subtle and stark reminders that this is only a comic book come to life, albeit a serious one.

This final chapter of Nolan’s trilogy integrates plot elements and events from the first two films in a way that suggests years of planning. Fear brings revenge, which breeds new villains creating chaos, which leads to the death of a lover, years of reclusive living until—at long last—the agonizing pain of Bruce Wayne, both internal and external, forces Batman out from hiding one final time. The conclusion is not forgone, and the twists in the plot define suspense in the truest sense of the word.

Objections

My comments here are mostly about the violence. And I don’t just pick on Christopher Nolan here. I believe the industry went over the brink years ago and, sadly, has created an appetite in the “world audience” for more and more violence to be realized on film—just for the sake of the violence itself. Nolan might argue that he needed it for his goals and to fulfill his storyline of “PAIN,” but I would counter that much more could have been implied rather than shown—although to his credit—it could have been much worse. It is not bloody or overly graphic like a “B” slasher-film, but the depth of the darkness and pain is deep—in a terrifying way—far too much for children, in this reviewer’s opinion. The crashes, the shootings, the bombs and the implied deaths are intense and repetitive—even a live football team on the field is swallowed up in an explosion in front of thousands. How they obtained a PG-13 is past my understanding.

In addition, there are the usual cleavage shots, a tight Cat Woman outfit and some scenes with Christian Bale without his shirt. One of them is when he has just finished having sex (implied one night stand) with Miranda (Marion Cotillard)—something seemingly out of character for a billionaire who spent half his fortune trying to save Gotham from the sins and evils that plagued it—be they small or great. There are other kissing scenes, including others with Batman, which also reflect on the moral character of all those involved. There is some light drinking throughout the film, along with some light obscenities which included 2 uses of “son of a bit_h”, 7 hells, and 3 damns (amounting to about 4 obscenities per hour) and a couple of profane uses of the name Jesus—moderate compared to most films today.

Final Thoughts

While I won’t reveal the ending, and I will acknowledge that the character of another protagonist—played by a subordinate street cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is very refreshing to the story; I still believe that, overall, it isn’t enough to give this film a recommendation. Even the redemptive nature of Batman’s willingness to give all for the sake of his love for Gotham, like God giving his all by sending his Son, isn’t enough to resurrect this plot… mired in the miasma of relativism. For this reviewer, the world of Bruce Wayne, with his personal angst, his inner demons, and the way he overcomes them, leaves one feeling like he does it all on his own—with his own inner moral compass—one we can’t see, but are asked to believe is true and just.

At the end of the day, my heart goes out to parents raising children in our world today. The nature of the “imitative behavior potential,” due to a diet of films and video games streaming excessive violence 24/7, must be difficult to combat, and, no doubt, it cannot be good for the human race. Common sense says so. Of course, most children and adults won’t take such actions in real life, but there are always those few that do. And they stand out with tragic results—whether it’s the death of 7 year old Heaven Sutton this past Wednesday, July 18th, 2012, with Chicago’s 251st homicide since January of this year (in a city with strict gun control) or the violent shootings in Aurora last night. One can only wonder how much the perpetrators may have been influenced by what they had seen and heard over their lifetimes. Just ask any cereal company or Madison Avenue about the power of suggestion. Repetition pays dividends. We will reap what we sow.

Watching “The Dark Knight Rises” is a perilous descent into a maelstrom to catch the few rays of light that might be found there—too dangerous for children or immature teens. Enter at your own risk is my final word.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate—“Jesus” (2), possible G-damn / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Reviews of other Batman movies

Prequel: “Batman Begins” (2005)

Prequel: “The Dark Knight” (2008)

Batman and Robin” (1997)

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Wow. What an incredible film. My friends and I decided to go to the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” (being avid fans of the Batman movies), and boy did we enjoy the movie. The special effects were top notch. The acting was incredibly well done (although with Christopher Nolan behind the wheel of the film there’s a reason this film was so well done). It was a nice way to wrap up the famous Batman Trilogy. I can’t wait to see what Christopher Nolan produces in the future!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—I saw “The Dark Knight Rises” today, and it surpassed even my expectations, which were very high, having longed for this film since I saw “The Dark Knight” sometime in 2009. The film should definitely be seen in IMAX, as an hour of footage was shot using IMAX cameras. With a minor quibble about some of the dialog being hard to understand-though I’m sure multiple viewings will make it easier to discern what is being said-I highly recommend this movie. Christopher Nolan has provided an excellent and thrilling conclusion to the Batman saga, born in “Batman Begins,” continued in “The Dark Knight” and ending with “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The acting is terrific, not just from the returning cast (Academy Award winners Christian Bale, Sir Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman and Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman), but also from the new players (Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway, Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard, The Take’s Tom Hardy, Angels In The Outfield’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt and “Full Metal Jacket” trainee and “Cutthroat Island” pirate Matthew Modine). The score by Hans Zimmer is very well-tailored to the film. The script is very well-written. There are so many twists and turns here that seeing this movie more than once-either in theaters or on DVD and Blu-Ray, when it’s released-is necessary in order to understand everything. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—D, age 26 (USA)
Positive—Although I did not think this movie was as good as “The Dark Knight,” I thought it was an adequate finale to the series. The only reason I did not give it a five star rating was Bane’s masked voice. The guy looked frightening… but the voice just came out sounding comical, to me. Half the time I couldn’t tell what he was saying, and the other half I was laughing at it. Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were both excellent in their roles, and Michael Caine seriously needs an Oscar nomination for this movie! In every one of the few scenes he was in, his performance brought tears to my eyes. The idea of a new Batman reboot already in the works is just sad on so many levels.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kadie Jo, age 20 (USA)
Positive—Wow! After seeing the 3rd installment of this series it seems the second film was not even needed with the over glorification of the super villain named “the Joker”. I will say that the Harvey Dent story did add a lot to the “The Dark Knight Rises,” other than that, “Batman Begins” and DKR fit so well together in light of their story telling. This film brings the spot light back to the true hero of the series, Batman.

In a day and age when movie goers have seen it all, when it comes to twist and turns in a movie, Christopher Nolan continues to keep the curtain closed till he chooses to reveal to the audience the truth. I don’t think anyone in the theater saw that ending coming. We need more directors like him who change the rules and are not afraid to try new things. He may even be a modern day Hitchcock. I said maybe. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Vinnie, age 27 (USA)
Positive—This film is a MASTERPIECE. It features marvelous acting, masterful direction, skillful cinematography, and the best story of all the Batman films. It’s simply a classic good vs. evil story, and in the end (spoiler?) good wins. It’s violent, but not gratuitously so. Is it for kids? No, and it shouldn’t be marketed for kids… but the content also does not warrant a R rating, in my humble opinion. I can’t wait to watch it again… and again… and again! Also, if you haven’t seen the film, I don’t think it’s fair to give it a negative review.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Michael, age 33 (USA)
Positive—Without crawling into the varied nuances of this particular film’s writing, acting, and message. I would like to point out the high mark and the low mark, along with an observation. First, the low mark: Quite simply, Nolan is just too preachy. He is trying to put on display what he feels is the moral bankruptcy found in our culture today. He correctly points out that our base human element is fractured, if not fully broken. But without a Christ-centered world view, his message becomes muddled.

The highlight of the film is its incredibly moving performances by a stand out cast. Tom Hardy is his usual stellar self. Bale, no longer straddled by insanely long dialog, is wonderful as the maligned and defeated hero. I could go on, but the acting was top flight. The movie is very ominous and has very dark overtones, but I see no reason a grounded upper teen should not see it. Granted, many of the teen boys looking for three hours of action and glam will be disappointed, as Nolan delves more into the minds of the plethora of characters. And as a Christian filmmaker and writer, I fail to understand why my fellow Christians belabor every work in film as excessively violent or disturbing. (Though clearly many are.) more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Darren Deloach, age 43 (USA)
Positive—I liked this movie a lot! On a scale of 1-10 I’d give this an 8. That probably doesn’t seem like much, but I liked “Hunger Games” and gave that a 7. …Anyway, this movie was pretty good. But unfortunately “good” in Hollywood doesn’t usually go without fault. This movie is for entertainment, and I was entertained, but felt that they needn’t to inject it with influential fault. For example: (1) 2 misuses of Jesus” name, (2) Bruce Wayne sleeps with Miranda Tate (for us to understand that they had a relationship wouldn’t be hard to understand, if they just kissed for several seconds tops. That’s the farthest they should’ve gone.) (3) The merciless murders, too numerous to count. But then again, that is displayed for us to understand how truly evil Bane and villains are. And because people enjoy watching violence, like myself. But not displayed with much brutality, even though all murder is brutal.

Villains are usually my favorite characters, but in Dark Knight Rises Bane wasn’t my favorite. I thought he was really evil and merciless. But that also means that Tom Hardy played his part fairly good. But I still rate this offensive, because of some immorality. I wouldn’t let anyone under 13-14 watch this. But it still sends several good messages on sacrifice, mercy, and changing your heart for the better. God bless you all. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Paulina, age 18 (USA)
Positive—…It is agressive and violent, but a fantastic story. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Scott, age 38 (USA)
Positive—Loved it, not as highly as “The Dark Knight,” but loved it, nonetheless. The PG-13 is well merited, but it’s more the mood than anything else. No blood or gore. Also, the little ones will be bored in the first forty minutes or so. I actually saw a positive message of sacrifice and unselfishness in all this. Also, redemption seeking, in the case of Catwoman. Perseverance and doing the right thing and keeping true to oneself. As for the negative comment that God is sending us a message with Heath Ledger’s death in 2 and the Aurora shootout in 3, I find this thought offensive. We can explore violence in society and discuss these tragedies, but this thought of God killing us for seeing a movie is repulsive.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—John, age 51 (USA)
Positive—After reading the comments here, I feel like this is “The Hunger Games” conversation all over again. The existence of violence in a movie does not, in and of itself, glorify violence. Whichever commenter above pointed out the existence of exactly such things in scripture is absolutely correct. In fact, one might argue that voting for a man who seems to be fully supportive of starting yet another war in the Middle East may be a far more effective promotion of violence than anything Hollywood could ever come up with. I would argue than anyone who watches this film and comes away believing that it encourages people to be violent, simply missed the point entirely.

Which leads me to my next point: the shootings in Aurora, while horrifying and deserving of our sympathy, prayer and concern, are not the product of this or any other movie. They are the actions of one dangerously imbalanced man who acted of his own accord. As many of you who are anti-gun control rightly point out, guns don’t kill people. People kill people. The same is to be said for movies. Any connection to the style or pattern of any movie is not necessarily causal. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Adam, age 31 (USA)
Positive—This is a movie for the times. Though I agree with the main reviewer, in general, these are times which call for extreme measures. At the beginning of the movie, good is being called bad, and bad is good. The hero has been broken by the weight of the damage—the loss of the love of his life, his reputation and his livelihood. Is this not America today. And yet, when a nemesis appears capable of destroying everything Bruce Wayne has fought to protect, he finds the strength and willingness to sacrifice to save his city. Is this not the message we, as a nation, need now more than ever? Will we find the strength to climb out of our pit to save our country? And what does the Lord teach us? “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Will we be Solomon, who led his nation into apostasy, or David who fought for the kingdom? I hope that if someone says to me, “You have given all you can,” that I can respond, “No, not everything.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Henry Skinner-larsen, age 60 (USA)
Positive—After viewing this film, I was in shock for at least five minutes. Christopher Nolan has indeed outdone himself and created a superhero movie like no other, except perhaps for the Avengers. Besides the obvious Christ-like aspects of Batman’s character, the movie shines in exposing the Occupy Wall Street movement for what it really is. TDKR is a strong proponent of that which is true and just. There are those who say that the movie is ultra violent and totally offensive. I have found that the most vehemently negative reviews are from those who know nothing whatsoever about the movie, evidenced by their nonviewer status.

As far as violence is concerned, we live in a world where there are evil people. The fighting shown in this film was not there simply for violence’s sake, but for the purpose of showing the strong and heroic defending the people of Gotham from the twisted and evil. The one and only drawback in this movie is the inclusion of implied fornication, which was quite disappointing for me. Nonetheless, I would totally recommend it for mature viewers.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—David, age 18 (USA)
Positive—The violence was very heavy, but nothing short of a form of reality in several dimensions of our planet. This may be an action film, and a form of entertainment, and the director may be just spending money to make money for our entertainment, but does he realize the message that he conveyed to us of truth? Vietnam, “World” War II, “World” War I. It’s all about the world that’s at war that no one seems to get, this is what’s happening, whether we’re turning down the volume to put words in the actors mouths, or just attempting to decipher what message this is. It was an excellent movie for entertainment, but a great one for a cold gush of reality. Believe it or not, it’s happening.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Margaret Ivory, age 25 (United Kingdom)
Positive—“The Dark Knight Rises” was an excellent finish to a good trilogy. Christopher Nolan did a great job with all three movies. “The Dark Knight Rises” has a deep, compelling plot that will make you think and demand your attention. The script is so beautifully written, the acting is magnificent, and the action was impressive. The movie is pretty violent. Nothing bloody or gory, but it is violent. Bane is a merciless, cruel villain. He shows no mercy to any of his victims.

I watched the movie a second time tonight at the theaters with my Dad and sister. When we got to the theater, a couple brought their young son to see the movie. He was around the age of seven. My first thought was, “Really? Are you serious?” I’m often sad that people bring their young children to see PG-13 movies. I say this with the deepest respect… PG-13 movies are rated this for a REASON. Do NOT bring young, impressible children to see this movie, or any PG-13 movie. They may hear or see something on the screen you never wanted them to see. Please use wisdom and discernment before you take young children to see a movie. If a movie is PG-13, it’s a safe bet that it’s not for them. And it’s okay to pray over a movie and ask God if this is a good decision for your child to see! I think God cares very much about the movies we allow our kids to see. “The Dark Knight Rises” would indeed frighten young kids who went to go see it. I feel sorry for that seven year old boy whose parents took him to see this movie tonight.

On a moral level, the movie is pretty violent (as I previously said). The movie is more dark than anything. There are a few cuss words, but not many. There is one scene where Bruce Wayne is lying in bed with a woman. I do recommend this movie if you are a Batman fan and eager to finish the trilogy series you’ve watched since “Batman Begins” comes out. But, use caution and discernment before taking little kids to see it. Pay attention to the PG-13 rating… it’s rated that for a reason!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 22 (USA)
Positive—The best movie of the summer, enjoyed every minute of it. The music and effects were very spectacular, and Christopher Nolan is a filmmaking genius. The movie proves the meaning of humbling yourself. When Bruce is in the pit, someone points out to him that the child who escaped was born in poverty, not in privilege, like Bruce Wayne was. The fact that he makes the effort that gets himself out of Bane’s prison, shows how humility is a gift from God. Selina Kyle shows the beginnings of a real Christian when she desires a “clean slate” to start fresh in life. She also shows remorse for working with Bane and even saves Batman from him after she gets her “clean slate”. Another instance of her regret is when she sees someone’s home destroyed, when looking at said family’s photo.

The best part is, Batman said she did not HAVE to help him in the final conflicts, yet she goes to help him and presumably develops the relationship Rachel Dawes could not have given him. Alfred also shows regret for lying to Bruce about Rachel’s last note in the previous film. This part reminds me of the verse “Strong are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy,” and how lying to a close friend can severely damage a relationship. The part where Bruce and Miranda were implied to have had sex was uncalled for, but it is only implied, not seen and lasts a couple of minutes. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Positive—I’m writing this review more as a commentary on the way others have reviewed this move—whether positive, negative or neutral. As an introduction, I have seen all 3 of Nolan’s Batman films, and I have liked them all, and I have found Biblically compatible redemptive themes in all 3. Having said that, I must immediately state that I utterly disagree with the negative reviews which argue that no Christian should be exposed to the type of violence in this movie, not even if that violence is presented as immoral and undesirable. That is pure foolishness, and it begs the question of what a 21st century film based upon the Bible would contain if it were realistic to the Biblical record.

To those who would not watch such a movie, I would suggest that they stop reading God’s Word, for it portrays a violent world full of immorality. I am a believer in Jesus, and understand that the Bible also presents Jesus Christ as the only One Who can make things right, but I would argue that in Nolan’s Batman films, there is someone who bears the burden of “pushing back” the darkness, sometimes at the expense of his own reputation, and possibly even his life. Sound familiar? more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rick Ludwig, age 60 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I wasn’t really eager to see this movie after hearing news of the Colorado incident and the death of Heath Ledger from the cause and role of the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” But I saw it anyway, for my sister, but let me tell you, I felt like I had to be on the lookout for a serial killer in the theater. The movie wasn’t as dark as “The Dark Knight,” but it was good. I didn’t agree with some of parts of the film, like Bruce Wayne’s one night stand with his coworker, Miranda Tate, or the heavy violence and darkness. I basically went to see the film just for my sister and to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acting (which was really good).

I wasn’t a fan of Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman, but after seeing it, I can see why they choose her for the part. The costume of Batman looked like a Halloween costume prototype, the “Batman Begins” costume was better.

The movie was definitely intriguing and pumping—and good vs. evil theme to it. But if Heath Ledger never played the Joker, he might have lived. And if the serial killer in Colorado never saw “The Dark Knight,” he wouldn’t have done what he did. We must be careful and cautious not to have evil and darkness sneak it’s way into our brains thinking it’s right. I would rate this film positive, if I could, but after some incidents and the film, I choose neutral. I suggest only teens 14 and up to see this. Parents, watch over your kids.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Anna, age 20 (USA)
Neutral—I cannot comment on this movie as a whole, due to the fact that I only saw the first 20 minutes. I went with my son (13 years old) and my wife. The opening scenes were not only extremely violent… but a scary, dark violence that left me a bit shaken. Ten minutes into it, I was tempted to ask my son if he wanted to leave, and 20 minutes into it, he turned to me and said “dad can we go”. I have no idea how this film got a PG-13 rating. The violence wasn’t comparable to Avengers or action movies of this nature… it was different. It was extremely dark and disturbing. For older folks, this might be an excellent movie… I may even see it later, myself. I would highly recommend giving some deep thought to whether your children are ready for this film though.
—Michael Brisco, age 43 (USA)
Neutral—Although this film displays acts of heroism and self sacrifice, I really can’t recommend it… for young audiences, anyway. I felt that the darkness wasn’t nearly as intense as the previous two films, and that the audience could really relate more to the characters, as well. We got a good look at what anarchy and terrorism really look like. I also felt that the language was a lot milder than the previous films, and the violence wasn’t quite as intense; even though there was still plenty of bone crunching violence. Thankfully, most of it was implied, or the camera quickly cut away before a man was pummeled or had his neck broken. Although I felt that “The Dark Knight” was slightly better than Rises, it was a great finish to an epic trilogy. I don’t recommend this film for anyone under the age of 15, though, due to the violence and one scene of implied sex (not graphic, but was unnecessary, in my opinion). This film did have some great morals and definitely had the best redeeming values of the other films. Kudos to Christopher Nolan for an astounding trilogy.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Curtis, age 20 (USA)
Negative
Negative—This is my first viewing of a “Batman” genre film. As early as 1997, I have chosen to stay away from Batman genre films because of their sinister overlay, often conveyed by the previews, posters or media inspired by them. I chose to see this one because my son was interested—however my general sentiments gave rise to the same feelings of the film being both dark and sinister in its underlying approach. My feelings were confirmed and although tempted to walk out as soon as the overpowering drums began beating with the opening scenes, I chose to stay should there be any redemptive qualities left.

What I discovered was that, Hollywood in their attempts to communicate to the masses, have refined their skills so much that they have learned to communicate both negative and positive images and adjust the “volume” on each so that the moviegoer is essentially captive to their message—in this case, one of violence and despair. In spite of the very quick redemptive ending punctuated again by the ominous percussive chanting of the drum staccato, the viewers, in my opinion, exited the movie in a daze better described as emotional confusion. This was, in my opinion, the obvious result of the fear, pain and hopelessness that the first two hours of the movie stamped into peoples” minds through the continual message announced mostly through the speaker (the masked Bane) and his actions—random, senseless killing based on class generated hatred. This was not a kid’s “comic” portrayal, as much as it was a product of a very disturbed writer.

I would hope that people choose to stay away from this film or at best steer their teenagers clear of it, as much as possible. This type of film shows that films, although “whitewashed” from most overtly immoral offensive images (bloodshed, overt sexuality, profanity,) can have an equal impact by communicating extremely dark overtures through other means. The Dark Night has succeeded in this aspect, if indeed that is success.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Mike Hause, age 60 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—Eight years have passed since the final events of 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” and Batman has been missing that long… and so has Bruce Wayne. Cooped up in Wayne Manor for eight years, Wayne has developed health problems, along with psychological problems. Gotham has been ridden of organized crime since Harvey Dent died, which Batman is still blamed for. But now a new evil rises. As Selina Kyle puts it: “There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.” And the storm comes in the form of Bane, a hulking brute of a man, 80% of his face covered with a mask that provides him with something, but I won’t spoil it. Bane comes to Gotham with plans of destruction and terror, and Batman decides he must “rise” and become Batman again. But… could Batman finally have met a foe that he is unable to beat. Will Bane essentially break the bat? That’s what it all comes down to in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Christopher Nolan’s masterful conclusion to the best comic book movie trilogy of all time.

After viewing “The Dark Knight” multiple times (and by multiple I mean over 20 times, literally), the bar of greatness was raised so high I didn’t possibly think the third film could exceed, or even reach it. What made “The Dark Knight” a hit was the presence of the great, late Heath Ledger as The Joker, a character so psychologically disturbed, yet captivating, he practically declared the movie his own. All the other aspects of the movie were great, but it was Ledger’s performance that made it a classic. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ben Lane, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I watched this movie with great anticipation. I can truthfully say that it lived up to the hype. It was a bit disappointing seeing Jesus” name used twice (though not in the coarse way, but still in a vain way). I know that many others object to the violence, and all the negative things in it, but I guess for me, this movie stirred inside me, especially the following scene: Catwoman: “You've already given them everything.” Batman: “Not everything, not yet.” (paraphrased)

The only other objectionable content I could think of is Bruce Wayne’s fling with Miranda, and that wasn’t a massive concern to me. The only real objection I had, is about the use of Jesus” name. Otherwise, a terrific conclusion to the Dark Knight. And some very powerful themes twisted away inside it. Definitely would see it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joses Tirtabudi, age 17 (Australia)
Positive—…First of all, a couple of things you need to know before you see it. 1. To understand anything in the movie, you have to watch at least one of the previous two movies in the series. I watched “Batman Begins” and not “The Dark Knight,” and I understood most of the movie. It would help to look up a synopsis of each movie, if you haven’t watched them yet. 2. Take the PG-13 rating seriously. No scary images, but lots of brutal violence, and the villain is really evil and dark. This isn’t “The Avengers”… Also, some language and one somewhat sensual scene.

Now on to the review. I can’t really think of enough words to describe this movie. On the one hand dark, gritty, violent, but also thought-provoking, smart, and relevant to today’s current events, “The Dark Knight Rises” is one of the most amazing films I’ve ever seen. I was blown away by the special effects and soundtrack, but this film is much more than CGI eye candy. The plot is complex and smart, and the acting is amazing, with Thomas Hardy as the villain Bane leading the charge.

Earlier this year, I mentioned in a review of “The Avengers” that it possibly had the most action in a film I had ever seen. Well, “The Dark Knight Rises” might have topped that. For 2 hours and 40 minutes, moviegoers are treated to amazing explosions and epic battles. In conclusion, I had previously thought that “The Avengers” was my favorite comic movie of all time, but “The Dark Knight Rises” far and away exceeds it, by a mile, because it actually made me think after it was done. Overall, I would give “The Dark Knight Rises” 9½ out of 10 stars.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ben, age 17 (USA)
Positive—This movie was absolutley incredible. It couldn’t have possibly been better. The script, the acting (especially from Tom Hardy, Anne Hatheway, and Christian Bale) was outstanding! The music is inspiring and really moving. I really wish I could borrow just a peice of Chris Nolan’s brain, cause this man is a GENIUS! Saw it twice already and can’t wait to see it again!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Aliya Mcreynolds, age 15 (USA)
Positive—This film was an amazing masterpiece, as others have pointed out. The writing, acting, and filmmaking qualities were superb, as is always with a Christopher Nolan film. There are many Christian themes throughout his trilogy, and at the end of this one (spoiler) Bruce Wayne/Batman’s will states his mansion will go to the Christian home for orphaned boys! Now, in this day and age, it is shocking to see that in a big budget Hollywood blockbuster! Many people criticize Bruce’s one night stand with his coworker, but, in the end, we see where that mistake leads. I’ll leave it at that. Also, I liked how the “green” fusion core reactor was used as a nuclear bomb! That, depending on how you see it, is sort of like a hidden message against green energy.

The violence is medium to high, but sort of like what you’d see in a PG-13 Chuck Norris movie. Most of the scenes (including the football stadium) were used with minimal to no CGI, which I find awesome! It was very tragic what happened in Colorado, but I believe it is in no way related to these movies that promote good morals. There is always a sick psychopath wanting to pull a sick “prank”. Saying the movie caused those deaths is like saying the architect of the World Trade Center was guilty of 9/11. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Bob, age 17 (USA)
Positive—When I went to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” I had never seen any of the Batman movies. When I got out of the theater, it made me want to go see the rest. There was a lot of violence, but I was surprised about how little language there was. The actors and actresses did a great job. I was very impressed with how Anne Hathaway did, just because she normally does “nice girl” stuff. I would definitely recommend this movie, even if have never seen the other 2 movies (just go with someone who has).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sarah, age 11 (USA)
Positive—…I don’t understand why people say this movie is dark and like a horror movie. It’s not. This movie has positive morals. Catwomen and Batman are talking, and she says “You don’t owe these people anymore. You’ve given them everything” then Batman says, “Not everything. Not yet” It shows that he will always fight to save Gotham, and he believes in good. There are other people in the comments from people who haven’t seen the movie say it’s all bad and Batman has no morals, why don’t you watch the movie first before you say its terrible.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tyler, age 13 (USA)
Positive—It’s really not a violent movie—a lot of fist fights and people get killed by guns, yes, but no unnecessary blood. Again, the fighting is necessary, and between good and evil. The only real troublesome scene is the one that implies that Bruce committed fornication with Talia. This is unnecessary and just thrown in by Hollywood. As long as you can look the other way and understand this is not a Christian movie (very few Hollywood movies are) then you will be fine.

Overall, phenomenal acting, brilliant cinematography, and a beautiful depiction of the battle between good and evil. A movie for teens and adults to watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Handel, age 16 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Neutral—My husband and I were going to take our 10 year old to this film. Our son usually accompanies my husband at the superhero movies of all sorts. I was curious what this site had to say about it. I read the review, but kept in mind that what one persons finds objectionable, another may not. So I looked to comments from young viewers. I want to thank “Ben” for his comment that drove it home for my husband and I. This young man wrote “This isn’t the Avengers.” And that was when it struck me… superhero or not, this was not a movie for our young son. It’s our job to guard his mind, what he takes in. Thank you to this site and thank you “Ben” for your comments. I still plan to see the movie with my husband, but the comments on this site helped me to realize my son could wait to see it when he is older.
—Andrea, age 39 (USA)
Negative—I can not help to think that darkness begets darkness. The second film of this trilogy was related to the death of Heath Ledger, and this one is related to the death of 13 people in a cinema. Just a coincidence? I do not think so, the Lord is very clear, if your eye is evil… whatever you behold, etc.
—Nazarene, age 51 (USA)
Negative—Though I also haven’t seen this movie, I agree very much with Nazarene’s comment above. My thoughts are “Wake up America!” I remember a few lines from a song written by a friend long ago: “Rise up America! Get down on your knees… The Lord is waiting America…”
—Hope, age 57 (USA)
Negative—First off, I have not seen the film. However, I have seen the precursor to it, “The Dark Night”. That was the most violent film I have ever seen. And I’m not alone in my assessment. That was the general assessment of quite a few people. I could not watch some parts of that movie, but had to turn my eyes away. It was too violent. This is now the follow-up to that film. I have not seen it, but I am concerned. I want everyone to think hard about who they are serving, as they watch this movie. It could well be that you are a Christian. I do not condemn you. However, what do you find pleasing? Do you enjoy watching the parts that glorify sin? Be careful. In that case, you are losing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. So, as you watch it, think about your sensitivities, and what is happening in your heart. Are you liking this movie a little bit “too much”… and not really interested in sharing the love of Christ with others, or in serving Christ? That would be a bad sign. How is your relationship with God? Are you regularly reading His word and loving it? Do you pray to Him? Do you share Jesus with people around you, and are you concerned for their eternal salvation? This is critical.

If you answered “no” to these questions, it would be cause for concern. The Lord desires that all know Him, and there is a heaven and a hell. These things are very real. Ultimately, we all have to make our own choices. Choose well which movies you want to see, and why —but most of all, keep your heart pure, because that’s where life flows from—and, in the end, that’s what’s going to matter the most, and will also determine the quality of your walk with God (Proverbs 4:23). For anyone seeing this movie, remember to listen to God very carefully as you do so and to obey Him every step of the way. Keep your conscience and do not let it be erased by what’s popular. The Lord is looking down from heaven, and wondering, “Who can I trust and who will listen to me?” Are you that person? Do you want to honor the Lord? Be of a humble disposition.

I would not recommend seeing this movie, in light of what I saw in “The Dark Night.” However, if you do decide to see it, remember—the Lord first in all things. Listen to Him. Already a dozen people have died, because of a man who claimed to be “the Joker”. Where did he get that idea from? Are the producers of this film completely innocent? No, they are not. They are producing this stuff—and that is where this man got his idea from. Remember, the Lord first—because, in the end, it really won’t matter what movies you have seen. What will matter will be your relationship with God. And that’s something you do not want to jeopardize.
—Daniel, age 50 (Canada)
Negative—I won’t be seeing this film as I didn’t see the last one either. The fact that Heath Ledger was on such strong medications for anxiety made me not want to see his pain on screen. And I don’t want to subject my mind and heart to endless pain and violence, 4½ stars or not. We do need to wake up to the fact that films this violent should not be seen by anyone, let alone children. I wish there weren’t so many Christians watching movies like this, as it sends the message to Hollywood, we’re okay with what’s being produced. I am not perfect, and I have watched movies in the past that I knew the Holy Spirit was convicting me not to watch, so I don’t comment based on being judgmental or legalistic, but when we know something is permissible and not beneficial, why straddle the fence?
—Nikki, age 39 (Australia)
Negative—I have not seen the movie, nor do I intend to. Many who come to this Web site to read the reviews and comments do so to determine whether they, as a professed believer in Jesus Christ, should see a particular movie or not. Regarding this movie, Psalms 11:5 immediately comes to mind. “The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (NKJV). I cannot fathom desiring to do something or love something that the Lord hates, much less risk the chance that I might become an object of His “hate” as one who loves the violence portrayed in this movie and movies in general. “Pursue… holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14, NKJV).
—Frank S., age 52 (USA)
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