The Dark Knight Rises 4K UltraHD Blu-ray Review
It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: December 17, 2017
Run time: 165 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1/1.78:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD / 1 DVD
Christopher Nolan’s iteration of the Dark Knight began in 2005 with Batman Begins, redeeming the franchise after Joel Schumacher’s campy affair with Batman and Robin. The Dark Knight Rises is the third film of the series and serves as the finale, without a doubt it’s of the largest scale. A terrifying villain stirred with a militia against an altruistic hero despised by the city he yearns to save. Thousands of people trampling through war ravished streets, an aerially high jacking of a plane, the things of a blockbuster, but with soul. The film carefully caresses deeper plot points; viewers may find the emotional scenes left burning in their mind while explosions continue to spread on screen.
The Dark Knight Rises does not pick up right after the events of The Dark Knight, in fact, it has been eight years without The Batman and Gotham is doing just fine. Following the departure of Gotham’s White Knight Harvey Dent, the Dent act was established, coinciding a honorary holiday founded on a little white lie about his demise. Commissioner Gordon holds attendance at the event, painfully recollecting what happened that night eight years ago, debating whether or not it’s time to reveal the truth.
Seems detective Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has a hunch on what happened that night. Hot headed as he may be, his time on screen is not wasted, and he helps the audience get to the bottom of many character arcs. He is one of the few to still see Batman as an icon, a symbol of hope. This is a key point in the film as themes throughout deal with pain, false hope, and redemption.
Bruce Wayne is now a limping Hughes imbued figure that quickly permeates back to the social scene taking on his juggled persona of well Bruce Wayne “eccentric billionaire”. Christian Bale has received a lot of flak for his role as Batman, especially for the `voice’, but as Bruce he is pretty sympathetic. New comer Miranda Tate attempts to bring Bruce back to room temp, feeling he has become a recluse due to a failed project. In many ways this film stretches its history back to the first film of the trilogy while acknowledging what made the Dark Knight so enticing to watch.
Bruce is dealing with a dilemma, is Batman truly needed again? This not the same energetic Bruce, he dons a Ra’s Al Ghul like beard, and only sparks to the Batcave when personal interest is at foot. He contemplates folding, he is brash, and as Alfred, Bruce’s butler and all in one family, believes any attempts to wear the cape and cowl are an excuse, a far cry for help, and a death wish. Their complex relationship while briefly touched upon in this film is still deeply felt. Michael Caine could not have made for a better Alfred, displaying real concern, the wisdom of a father, and the sympathy of mother.
On the other side, better yet, the underside of Gotham resides Bane. Bane is menacing, bronze only bested by hi wit. His hulking physique would have one misidentify his voice and choice of words with a tooth pick scholar, creating a unique villain. Nolan’s Bane is not a grunting leather suited goober; Nolan’s Bane is a terrorist who leads mercenaries that are willing to take a punch for him before even thinking about punching off the clock. Tom Hardy nailed his performance, Bane’s face may be shrouded in mystery due to the metallic contraption on his face, but what little you can see, especially the intensity in his eyes, let you know doom waits.
Anne Hathaway’s slinky stature as Selina Kyle is mesmerizing. No she is not Catwoman per say but the idea is addressed in fashion, literally goggles that when pulled up resemble cat ears. Hathaway is seductive, quick to respond…and is also a jewel thief. Her role is vital in the beginning and is then seen less and less, as if her charm was too potent, and the cast elsewhere needed to be shown. Her chemistry with Christian Bale may be a hit or miss with some audience, I for one wanted to see more. A hurt and numbed Bruce talking to a callous and careful Selina had me reeling. Selina Kyle has her own agenda and perceives Bruce to be a typical playboy, which is fair considering he too plays into it for the media.
Batman now has a pet bat, one that weighs a few tons and seats two. Thank Luscious Fox and his team for always inventing the latest gadgetry. The military outfitted tumbler can be seen with a new paint job, and the batpod looks as though it was made for Selina. An emp like device makes its way into the film and one new device that would be too much of a plot device to reveal in a review.
The films audio is outstanding. Hans Zimmer’s percussive elements really bring out the flare of the fire starting, the chanting inside the pit, echo and raise with such intensity the tempo increases, everything increases one might even pass out… and at times the pulse stops after the barbaric beats. Batmans theme is still epic, motivating, and triumphant. Banes voice was dubbed to be clearer, it’s infectious, expect to walk out and perform a Bane impersonation or two, no worries it subsides. Cop ambiance is absorbed by the Bat taking off with its frighteningly loud entrance. Gun shots heat cold midnight air, rounds clang and rattle. Banes punches provide a impact and the audio is there to pick up the remains.
All coolness aside, the film is truly about Bruce rising, about the people of Gotham rising, about the ascendancy needed to live in a world without the need for a constant savior. The movie is not a full throttle action film, but it has enough action to pass as one. When Bane and Batman meet, it is both disturbing and alarming. This is the end game for Nolan’s trilogy and it literally goes out with a bang.
Movie Content: 10/10
The print is presented in 2160p with a shifting aspect ratio between 2.41:1 and 1.78:1 (IMAX Presentation). Yet another beautiful looking transfer on 4K UHD BD that just continues to improve upon the previous two releases. The film was taped with the use of several different cameras so the film could also be used for an IMAX presentation. I was rather worried that the shifting aspect ratios were going to hinder my enjoyment of the film. Actually the shifting aspect ratio added much more to the atmosphere of the film. The image quality is absolutely stunning and probably the best image quality on Blu-ray.
Colors are strong bringing the world of Gotham City to life. The color palette is also vibrant bringing out the comic book presentation of the film. Blacks are deep looking like the ink came right off the pages of a ‘Batman’ comic book. The blacks are some of the best that I have seen on a high definition format. Details are also very good with some very accurate looking Fleshtones. Yet again I was stunned with the sheer amount of details in this print from the faces to even some of the darker scenes. Some people do not like the shifting aspect ratios but to me they are not an issue at all and give these films a different dimension.
Dark scenes are well lighted with excellent depth where you never have a hard time viewing the ongoing action. There are hardly any issues for this print, except for a few scenes where there is some noise in darker scenes, but hardly noticeable.
Video Quality: 10/10
Audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. The audio is excellent receiving receives demo worthy praise. The score here in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is bombastic and even sounds better than ‘TDK’. The sound design is taken up a notch from ‘TDK’ which really makes this an amazing film to listen to in high definition. Bass is just perfect with the score as it gives you that very unpredictable feeling. The soundfield is engaging at all times pulling me in making this a very atmospheric experience. The rears encompass nice directional movement from speaker to speaker. Dialogue is very clean and crisp through the center channel. This is a well balanced mix without having to adjust the volume to hear the dialogue.
Audio Quality: 10/10
- Second Screen Experience [HD]
- Characters [HD]
- Reflections [HD]
- The Batmobile [HD]
- Trailer Archive [HD]
Special Features: 5/10
The Final Word
As far as the movie goes, it was a great ending to the trilogy. It doesn’t match Dark Knight in terms of overall quality, but that would have been nearly impossible. It stands up well on its own and I look forward to watching all three films back to back. My only disappointment so far is that the special features this time around are on the lighter side.
Overall Rating: 9/10