The Dark Knight Rises to mixed reviews as critics miss Ledger

Jul 17, 2012

The final Batman instalment is long, confused, and lacks a Joker, but it’s still a blockbuster

ONE OF the most anticipated movie releases of the year, The Dark Knight Rises, premiered in New York last night to mixed reviews, with critics sorely missing Heath Ledger, who died in 2008 from an accidental drugs overdose after playing the Joker in The Dark Knight.  

Christopher Nolan’s conclusion to the Batman saga, starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy, conjures a 9/11 feel with Manhattan under attack from Hardy’s evil Bane, and Batman in retirement. It is filled with spectacular car chases and explosions, but the epic 160 minutes running time, along with a host of new characters and subplots, frustrated some critics.
The Dark Knight Rises is due to premiere in London tomorrow and open in UK cinemas on Friday, but critics have already sharpened their pens. Christy Lemire of Associated Press called the film an "epic letdown" - plot-heavy, laden with expository dialogue and flashbacks and "just flat-out boring at times".

In The Independent, Geoffrey McNab says the film "suffers from a profound identity crisis", and cannot decide whether it is "a brooding, nuanced character study or a rip-roaring matinee adventure". The result is that the film "simply doesn’t gel".

Screen Daily’s Tim Grierson says the film suffers from "a glut of new characters - none of whom are as indelible as Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight". Grierson praises the film’s emotional resonance, but says there’s a "sense of disappointment that this sequel can’t match the heights of the first two films".

Others critics have been more generous. Empire’s Nev Pierce applauds The Dark Knight Rises as "superhero film-making on an unprecedented scale" and "a fitting epitaph for the hero Gotham deserves".

Time Out’s Tom Huddleston calls this Dark Knight instalment "a sprawling, epic feast of a movie, stuffed to the gills with side characters, subplots and diversions."

However, Huddleston also admits that the film suffers from the absence of Heath Ledger. "There’s nothing here to match the intensity of Heath Ledger’s Joker, and the movie feels weaker for it," says Huddleston. "But that was a one-off, and the show must go on."

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy says the Batman conclusion ranks as the best of Nolan's trio, "even if it lacks - how could it not? - an element as unique as Heath Ledger's immortal turn in The Dark Knight." Nevertheless, McCarthy adds " it's a blockbuster by any standard."

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This is really silly, Most other news sites are saying that"The Dark Knight Rises wins praise from critics", and this site is saying there are mixed reviews. Yes, there are one of two critical reviews (as there are for any given film) but the reviews for TDKR have been overwhelmingly positive.

"Manhattan" under attack?? Not Gotham City then? I'm just checking that the journalist isn't a complete moron. Not that they ever are of course.

Mixed reviews my @r$e. Self important journos justifying their sad existence.

Really sick of all the comments about how disappointing the film is. I am quite sure if there were only one film this year worth watching, TDKR would be the one. People have been saying they miss the Joker and want some flashes in TDKR. Some even want some new joker scenes featuring Heath in TDKR not from TDK, otherwise they won't even watch the film, which doesn't make any sense on any level. Bane and the joker are two different kinds of villain, bane is more physical and joker is more mental. this diversity shows Christopher Nolan is capable of doing every type and manage to make it good.Each of his film is rated above 7 at least on IMDB. The joker is gone and will be missed as a classic, But you cannot expect every film to be like that.
Although the disappointing part of the film is the soundtrack i gotta say. I am a big fan of Hans Zimmer, but this time I do think he lost it a little bit. The first and second soundtracks are amazing. But this time they James Newton Howard decided to leave the team and let the sparks between ZImmer and Nolan dance around. But I had a chance to stream the album online, didnt feel anything new or as good as the 1st and 2nd one.

What I don't understand is how upset people seem to get when someone thinks that this might not be the great movie you all seem to think it is. Why does that upset you? You all sound like fundamental christians defending creationism (in tone, not actually as if you were spouting nonsense); there is a real religious fervor surrounding the pro TDKR camp; I mean, TDKR is the best film of the year? Really? I think The Master will be the must see film of the year.

But, come on, seriously, surely you see the glaring plot holes; the bad dialogue; the hammy acting?