Now Playing: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Soars

I believe in Christopher Nolan. For me, there was never any doubt that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ would be a worthy finale to his Batman trilogy. I went in with expectations even higher than ‘The Dark Knight’, and I’m proud to say that, once again, Nolan has surpassed them.

Batman Begins‘ took everyone by surprise in 2005. After Joel Schumacher wrecked the franchise, I doubt that anyone expected anything good from a Batman movie ever again. But Christopher Nolan took the Dark Knight and told his tale in an engaging way that had never been portrayed on screen. Expectations were extremely high for the follow-up, ‘The Dark Knight‘. Nolan not only managed to meet those expectations, but exceed them.

When Heath Ledger died, it seemed like the series was in limbo. Would Nolan do another Batman film, or wouldn’t he? Did his plan for the series go out the window with Ledger’s passing? Who knows? I remember reading an interview given during the promotion of ‘Inception’, where Nolan was quoted saying that he wouldn’t do another Batman film unless he could write one better than ‘The Dark Knight’.

Fear not as you read on, I refuse to spoil a single detail about ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Little has been revealed about the actual story. We’ve only been shown some amazing images. Rumors have flown over the last two years. Supposed spoilers have been leaked, there’s a ton of speculation out there. No matter what you’ve heard, what you’ve read or what you may think, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is phenomenal.

Eight years have passed since Harvey Dent’s death and the transition of Bruce Wayne’s secret side character from protector to “dark knight.” The first half of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ sets up what has happened to Gotham and our central characters in that time. We learn a little about Bane and his presence. The second hour is when things get real. If you thought that ‘The Dark Knight’ was bleak, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This is the darkest hour. “Grim” doesn’t even begin to describe how bad things get. The final 45 minutes deliver a huge climax and a final resolution for the trilogy.

As the credits began to roll, I was overwhelmed and speechless. Nolan did it. He took a series, brought it full circle and gave it a huge, fitting grand finale. Mind you, this wasn’t planned as a trilogy from the beginning. But if you didn’t know that, you’d believe this was written from the get-go. Nolan ties all three movies into one, awesomely-wrapped perfect package.

I also walked away feeling exhausted – not just because of the nearly three-hour runtime, but due to the constantly changing range of emotions that I experienced throughout. I wanted to cheer (in fact, I think I actually did a few times), I was tensed up so badly that I caught myself holding my breath and tightening all my muscles, and I even wanted to cry at times. Had I not been surrounded by friends, I probably would’ve let out a tear or two. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ contains everything that you expect from a movie.

I cannot express enough love for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. I loved, loved, loved it. The story takes on an ever bigger scale. The action is even better. The emotions are even more present. It’s better than 99% of dramas out there, and it’s an absolutely perfect bow for one of the best movie trilogies of all time. Here’s to hoping that the Academy finally throws something Nolan’s way come Oscar season.

As much as I love you, suck on that, Marvel!

Rating: ★★★★★


    • Luke Hickman

      Yes, I saw it on IMAX and it definitely added to the experience.

      Just like I did with The Dark Knight, I plan on seeing Rises on a standard screen within the next week just to see how much of a difference it makes.

    • I thought it added to the film, although truthfully the IMAX we saw it on is a smaller IMAX. There aren’t any true 70mm IMAX screens in Utah unfortunately.

  1. Drew


    Will you please clarify if you saw it in real 70mm IMAX with the 1.44:1 aspect ratio, or digital IMAX with a 2:1 AR?

    • Luke Hickman

      Mine was the 2.1 IMAX. There’s another IMAX nearby that used to have the 70mm print, but I believe that they moved to digital when they put in the 3D screen. I didn’t realize the digital change until I saw Prometheus on it.

  2. Bryan

    There aren’t any 70mm IMAX screens in Utah, unfortunately. I have a friend there who’s planning to drive to Denver to see it in 1.44:1 IMAX (though I think the one in Boise would be a shorter trip).

  3. Drew


    I don’t believe that’s true. My in-laws live in UT. When visiting, we went to a true 70mm 1.44:1 IMAX, just a few years ago. Did they get rid of it? I would highly doubt that.

    Luke, what type of IMAX did you see it in? 70mm 1.44:1 or digital 2:1?

    • Here’s a list of theaters playing the movie in IMAX 15/70:

      None in Utah. IMAX has been actively converting its old film-based theaters to digital over the past several years. The only film theaters that remain are those with screens too large to be illuminated by the current digital projectors. Those will be converted as soon as IMAX’s new laser projectors are ready.

  4. Drew

    Josh, that’s sad. You’re telling me that any one of the many 15/70 IMAX theatres I’ve visited in various geographic locations over the years could now just be a giant 1.44:1 screen with digital projection being used on it?

    Why would IMAX do this? Does IMAX believe digital is superior? What’s the reasoning behind this?

    I just checked to make sure that my local 15/70 IMAX, that I have 4 showings already purchased for, is still a genuine film based IMAX. I’m elated to see that it is. I had no idea IMAX was converting genuine 1.44:1 auditoriums to digital. Please give me any insight you have as to why this is occurring.

    • IMAX wants out of the celluloid business. They’re in the digital business now. It’s much cheaper to ship digital hard drives to theaters than massive rolls of 70mm film. The company doesn’t want to support that old distribution model or the old equipment anymore. Digital is the direction that the people currently in charge of the company have mandated.

  5. Drew

    This must be why so many people were arguing that they do actually have a true 15/70 IMAX in their area, in the comment boards on the main site.

    There was an article that linked to all of the true 15/70 IMAX screens showing ‘TDKR’. Many people argued that theirs should have been included on the list.

  6. Drew

    Josh, do the digital auditoriums with a 1.44:1 screen still reap all of the benefits gained when a film is captured natively at 1.44:1, such as ‘TDKR’, or ‘M:I-GP’?

    Do the digital projectors project the entire 1.44:1 image, in these auditoriums?

    • IMAX’s digital projectors have a 1.9:1 image. The digital hard drives with the movies files on them are encoded at a 1.9:1 aspect ratio.

      In older theaters with 1.44:1 screens, either the image will appear letterboxed in the middle of the screen, or the theater may apply masking to cover the excess unused space. In many theaters, IMAX is replacing the screens.

      The only theaters that still project the whole 1.44:1 IMAX photographed image are the dwindling number of 15/70 film theaters.

  7. Drew

    Luke, the one you’re referring to must be the one I visited a few years back. It seems like it was called Jordan-something. Do you know if it still projects the full 1.44:1 image? Did you see ‘Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol’ on it?

    • Luke Hickman

      That’s right. Jordan Commons. I did not see Ghost Protocol there. I can’t say for certain, but I do not believe that it still projects at 1.44:1. It does not have the mobile curtains that change aspect ratio and Prometheus entirely filled the screen. I’m pretty sure it’s just a 2:1. I’m friends with the GM, so I just text her to find out for sure. I’ll let you know what she says.

  8. Thanks for the spoilerfree review, Luke. I’m looking forward to seeing “The Dark Knight Rises”. I’m pumped, I’m psyched, I’m ready. Did I just say that in Christian Bale’s gruff Batman voice?

  9. Drew

    Thanks to both Luke and Josh. Interesting information, although disappointing to be sure. It sounds like true 15/70 1.44:1 IMAX won’t exist anymore within about 5 years, or less.

    Luke, yes, please let me know what she says. I’m very intrigued. I wonder if they will try to use some type of zoom to display the full 1.44:1 image.

  10. After seeing it last night in 15/70 IMAX in Indy (and going again tomorrow night), I wouldn’t want to watch it theatrically any other way. Multiply the breathtaking immersion of MI:GP’s Dubai scene by 10, and that’s how amazing it is. It is a shame that IMAX is perverting / diluting its brand with its digital conversion jobs and abandoning the film projectors. Saw Amazing Spider-Man in a LIE-MAX, and the only difference was that it was louder.

  11. There were a few scenes that flash back and forth constantly from one aspect ratio to another – like conversations to flashbacks to conversations again – that I thought was distracting. The aspect was changing far too fast for my liking.

    • Mike Attebery

      I really don’t get why Nolan does that. Seems like IMAX for a full sequence would be good, but scene to scene or shot to shot is just annoying.

      • Yeah, Transformers 2 had a lot of rapid-fire aspect ratio changes that were frankly headache-inducing to watch. Of course, Michael Bay in general tends to have more spastic editing than Nolan, so hopefully it’s not as bad in this.

  12. Martin

    Sadly in Germany the movie doesn`t open before next thursday.
    But I was able to get tickets for the premier next wednesday. It´s not an IMAX-theatre, but at least i got the best seats in the house and it`s the original english version without subs.
    TDKR is my most anticipated movie of the year, right before Prometheus which opens here in august.

  13. Drew


    Did you ever hear back fro the GM?

    I’m interested to hear what she said. I’d like to know more about how these digital 1.44:1 auditoriums will be projecting this film.

  14. Drew

    I LOVE Fassbender! However, NOOOOOOOOOOOO! And that doesn’t even begin to cut it!

    More like, “Good God, NO!”

    How old of an actor are we looking for? Older or younger than Bale? I say we take off from where Nolan leaves us, and go with someone slightly older.

    Older: Matt Damon (He’s finally convinced me that he can do ANYTHING), Jon Hamm (My personal favorite for the next Batman), Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt.

    Younger: Chris Pine, Liam Hemsworth, Bradley Cooper.

    My pick for director would be Quentin Tarantino. I’ll settle for Brad Bird though. Hmm, J.J. Abrams?

  15. Drew


    Hmm, has it been that long? I’m trying to think about what movie I saw there. I’m almost certain it was ‘Transformers 2’ and I’m positive they were still screening via15/70 film.

    I’m pretty sure she’s wrong. I even had a discussion with the manager there the evening we went to see ‘T2’ and he told me it was a 15/70 IMAX at that time. The IMAX footage definitely filled the ENTIRE 1.44:1 screen as well.

    Anyway, if she shares any insight on how they project films like this, that contain 1.44:1 footage, I would be very interested in hearing what she says. Let me know.

  16. Ted S.

    I saw it last night at the only true IMAX theater here in MN that show Hollywood films. I agree with Luke, this film exceeded my expectations and then some. Those IMAX sequences were amazing, the screen size is about 6 stories tall so I was glad we got good seats high up.

  17. — Spoiler Alert. Kinda. Depending what you consider a spoiler. —

    My mind is blown by the reviews that have been coming out for this movie. I just didn’t find it to be the end-all be-all film that so many people say it is. It’s good, but I wouldn’t go too much farther than that. Without getting into too many specifics… (and I’ll try to be as general and spoiler-free as I can but there is a spoiler warning up top!)

    There were so many twists and misdirections in this movie that I stopped trusting it. By the end I just didn’t care anymore. I was tricked enough that I stopped investing myself – any chance of feeling emotion was gone because I knew I was being tricked. Lucy pulled the football away one too many times.

    Major characters completely undone by twists at the end. When a twist undoes everything we know about a certain character, then that character no longer matters.

    Like Spiderman 3, there are too many characters and not enough development. We learn about Bane, Catwoman, Bruce’s love interest (sort of), more about Bruce/Batman, and an additional character. Only so much time can be devoted to all of this so we’re left with underdeveloped characters. Too much background and development is told through expository dialogue and everything feels flat.

    Finally, and this is the kind of thing that bothers me and not everyone, the big ending action sequence seems to just plain ignore the laws of physics. The speed and timing and all that – it just doesn’t make sense. Even assuming the super amazing thing that happens does happen, there’s just so much more to take into account!

    Okay, I also felt the ending twist was a lazy cop-out.

    Now, I’m clearly in the minority about this. And for the record, I don’t think the movie was bad – I just don’t think it was great. It’s not a flick I’ll be watching again certainly. I just really don’t get it.

    • Luke Hickman

      Do you think that you went in with expectations raises too high from critical praise?

      • I actually invested very little time into the movie before going to see it. I saw the trailer a few times and read a bit about Tom Hardy playing Bane, but that’s about it. I didn’t read any reviews until after I saw the flick.

        I honestly didn’t go in expecting brilliance :p

    • Yeah I would say you are in the minority here, to me there were hardly any twists and misdirections, the movie played everything straight till the last hurrah so to speak, so I’m not sure where you got all these twists and turns that messed things up for you.

      I definitely agree with Luke on this one, my only gripe being Bane’s voice, some of it I had a hard time understanding, but other than that this movie was perfection all around, Nolan is just hands down the best writer and director going, I was in tears, I was at the edge of my seat and of course I was quietly cheering for shots of Pittsburgh 😉 But yeah I didnt want this to end and I would go right back and watch it again, spectacular film making!

  18. Ryan

    I just got back. Saw it in “fake” IMax, but it was still worth it. Amazing movie. I can’t understand of the negative reviews out there (like in AintItCool). I couldn’t be happier with this movie!

  19. I was underwhelmed by it as well. I still gave it 3 out of 5 stars in my review but I don’t think it was anywhere close to being as good as Batman Begins or The Dark Knight.