Long RuntimeTDKR clocks in at two hours and forty-five minutes. In other words, it's a long film. Both of its predecessors clocked in at over two hours, but this one nearly clocks in at three. Of course, the film has multiple objectives that prolong its running time. The film seeks to wrap up the trilogy in a satisfying fashion and introduce several new characters that play vital roles in the story. Aside from the villain Bane (Tom Hardy), the film introduces us to several major characters like Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). With all of that in mind, viewers should be aware that when they take their seats, they will likely be sitting in the theater for over three hours, so people should take their bathroom break before it begins (no pun)...
ExpectationsOf course, expectations are extraordinary for this third film. Not only is it the end of a series, it serves as the sequel to The Dark Knight (TDK), which is considered one of the best superhero movies ever made. Without reviewing the new movie, it's important to recognize that TDK was one of a kind. Everything - the script, the cast, and especially the highly-anticipated performance of Heath Ledger - seemed to work together to make that film the classic that it became in 2008. There have been great superhero movies before - including Spider-Man 2 and Superman 2 - but those movies were followed by sequels that fell far short of their predecessors. With that in mind, viewers should - if possible - attempt to manage their expectations before walking into TDKR.
Background ResearchAs we can see in the image on the left, some of the characters from Batman Begins and TDK will be mentioned - and some may even appear - in this third story. Therefore, screening both of those earlier films prior to seeing the latest installment could prove invaluable to understanding the new story and the characters. TDKR attempts to wrap up the trilogy and does address many of the story beats and ideas presented in its predecessors. It also develops many of the characters that were previously introduced. Since the series is set up as a trilogy, knowing where it started is pivotal in appreciating how it ends.
Proper ViewingAccordingly to early reports, TDKR features 100 minutes of action sequences and much of the movie was shot using IMAX cameras. With that in mind, the best way to view the film is most likely on a 70 mm IMAX screen. As Screen Rant's Kofi Outlaw previously explained, "you aren’t really getting 'the full' IMAX experience – especially the one Chris Nolan intended – without that 70mm IMAX theater. 70mm is the only way you will be able to see everything that Nolan shot on IMAX cams." So even if it's out of your way, driving to see the movie the way that it was intended to be screened would be preferable to seeing it on a digital IMAX screen (or a regular one).
ToneThis year, we have been treated to several big-budget superhero films like The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man. Both of those movies sought to honor their source material in a fun and entertaining fashion. The Batman films are a completely different type of film. They are dramatic, high-minded affairs. From the A-list cast (including Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman) to the emphasis on Bruce Wayne's complex personality, to the depth of each villain's monstrosity, these movies have sought (and often succeeded) in becoming serious Oscar-caliber films. That doesn't mean that these films are any less entertaining than the other superhero films we've seen this year, but they are a different breed of superhero movie, so viewers should remember that before going in.
Emotional ImpactIn TDKR, Batman faces off against his most serious threat yet. Bane is a psychopath who can physically take on and overwhelm the Caped Crusader. And since this is the last part of the trilogy, some speculation about the film has focused on whether or not Batman will make it out alive. Without spoiling the film, it should be noted that even the actors recognize that the movie has an emotional depth that its fans should be prepared for. Gary Oldman has even publicly said that the movie "packs an emotional punch." This film is easily the most emotional one in the trilogy, and if you are so inclined, you might want to bring tissues to the theater in preparation for how this final chapter ends.
Bane's VoiceSeveral months ago, much of the talk about the new movie revolved around Bane's muffled and nearly-inaudible voice. After the trailer came out, many viewers complained that they couldn't understand what he was saying at all - a fact that likely put the filmmakers in a tail spin. After seeing the film, I can attest to the fact that most of Bane's dialogue is understandable. There are a few quick lines that were hard to decipher, but for the most part, the voice has been cleared up enough to allow viewers the opportunity to actually hear what the villain is saying...
PremiseAs TDK ended, Batman became a fugitive from the law. Commissioner Gordon and Batman had just witnessed the transformation of statesmen and public hero District Attorney Harvey Dent into the evil and demented Two-Face. Two-Face died at the end of the movie, but in a bid to create a hero for the people of Gotham to look up to, Gordon and Batman decided to create a martyr out of the corrupted lawnman. TDKR picks up eight years after the conclusion of its predecessor, with the truth about Dent still unknown and Batman still hiding from the law. Much has happened in the ensuing eight years, but the legend of Dent and Batman's bad reputation remain.
This is THE ENDDespite insistent speculation that the franchise could continue, director Christopher Nolan has been equally insistent in his statement that this will be his final Batman film. Although many fans would love the Inception director to continue with the story, Nolan seems eager to move on after spending years focused on the Batman mythology and bringing the story to life. Even Nolan's brother, Jonathan - who wrote the screenplays with him - has affirmed that this is the last movie in the series. He stated in an interview that TDKR is "the right way to end it..." Of course, there will always be hope that Nolan will sign on to do a new film, but the filmmaker has said repeatedly that this is the end of the saga for him.
No Post-Credit ScenesThe Avengers was a long movie and many fans left the theater when the credits began to roll. Much to their dismay, however, it was later reported that there were two additional scenes at the end of the film. There was one scene mid-credits revealing a new threat to the superhero alliance, and there was another comical scene after the credits. TDKR, however, offers no additional scenes after the film has ended, so once the credits start to roll, the complete story has been told. Feel free to leave the theater and then go back to see the movie once again. There may be nothing after the credits, but there's always something to be gained from seeing a Christopher Nolan film more than once. Enjoy!
RecapThe Dark Knight Rises will likely be one of the biggest movies of the year and surely qualifies as one of the most anticipated movies of 2012. But before you go into the theater, here again is our list of 10 things you need to know before you see the film:
- Bathroom Prep: The Dark Knight Rises is long. Really long.
- Expectations: The Dark Knight was one of a kind.
- Background: Seeing Batman Begins and The Dark Knight beforehand is invaluable
- Viewing: See the movie in a 70 mm IMAX Theater if you can.
- Seriousness: Nolan's Batman Films are Serious Affairs.
- Emotional: Bring Tissues.
- Bane: Tom Hardy's voice can be understood...most of the time.
- Premise: The movie picks up a eight years after TDK ended.
- Endings: Nolan considers this a true conclusion to his series.
- Post-Credits: No Avengers scene here.