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Dark Knight Sizes

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Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 10:16 UK time, Friday, 3 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises has been open for a couple of weeks now and breaking box office records all over... But what I want to know is which is the best format to see it in - Imax, 35mm or digital?

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  • Comment number 1.

    his worst effort yet - an hour too long - awfully predictable ending - i will admit bane was amusing that was it - he needs a new formula and new actors

    and to give it a 9.0 rating saying it's more important then the star wars trilogy is insane but nolan fans are like bieber fans its crazy

    memento and inception were good films - inception would of beaten avatar if it was 3d - the dark knight was only good cos of the great heath ledger and his death buzz - prestige was a one view - face it he is the new ridley scott he has done 2 good films now he will probably just keep doing robin hoods for the next 10 years - i am happy to be proved wrong tho

  • Comment number 2.

    Saw it 3 times with both imax and standard prints and didn't notice any significant difference between them. both looked greatand i thought the movie was a solid 4 / 5. As for bane, I don't get why people are finding him hard to understand. His voice has been digitally enahanced so it's actually louder than everyone elses and has perfect clarity. Whether you see it on imax or 35, bane is no harder to understand than darth vader.

  • Comment number 3.

    Mark - having seen it both ways (or rather, in normal digital projection and in the Glasgow IMAX) I thought it worked well and looked great in a standard cinema, but the IMAX sequences blew me away.

    However, there's something here you need to address, because very few critics are talking about it. Something terrible has happened to IMAX. There are 4 or 5 proper IMAX cinemas across Britain. There are now dozens of multiplexes which have converted one of their screens to 'IMAX.' But THEY'RE NOT IMAX - and what's worst is that the IMAX company has made no distinction, and most people don't realise there's a difference. I paid £13.20 to go to see Spider-Man in the 'IMAX' in Edinburgh. The first thing I noticed was that the screen wasn't the right size: it was roughly 1.85:1 rather than the 1.44:1 of a standard IMAX. So, seen in those screens, the full-frame IMAX sequences from TDKR will be cropped at the top and bottom. The next thing I noticed was the size - the screen was barely half the size of the old-school IMAX in Glasgow. The projection is digital, using two 2K projectors (not even the best available technology) projected onto the screen. With the best will in the world, digital projection isn't up to the image quality of 70mm IMAX film yet (I suspect that if shown on the huge IMAX screens the digital image would start to look crap). I later saw TDKR in the Glasgow IMAX on a screen twice the size, in the right ratio, and projected on the best film stock in the world, and it cost me less than a tenner.

    There's nothing wrong with offering people a better cinema experience, and the pseudo-IMAXs do give you a better experience than your average multiplex screen. It's bigger and brighter and offers better sound. Great. But don't call it IMAX, and don't charge me an extra £4.50 on top of the usual price to see it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Here, incidentally, is the list of IMAXs in the UK - the ones that say (15/70mm) are 'proper' IMAXs. A lot of people who say that they didn't think there was a huge difference will be saying it because they saw it in one of the IMAX-lites (I've heard them referred to as 'Lie-MAX' a few times). If people enjoyed the movie I urge them to go see it in one of those IMAXs; the image during the scenes shot with IMAX cameras will blow you away.

  • Comment number 5.

    Whilst I was watching the film (in IMAX) I thought it was enjoyable enough though flawed but the more I thought about it after I left the cinema the more I realised how many problems it has.

    Overall I found it to suffer from the worst problems of The Dark Knight (overlong, convoluted plot) without any of that film's payoff (interesting villain with an excellent performance, dark underlying themes about morality and the nature of people). So much of it seems rushed such that I end up feeling very little for the character involved. I didn't even care about the twist at the end, I just accepted it and moved on.

    I was disappointed you didn't pick it apart more Dr K! What problems do you think it has, if any? I think the deification of Nolan may have made a few critics a bit blind to its flaws!

    I won't be going back to the cinema to see it again, so will never know if the 35mm print is superior. Interestingly, a friend of mine says she can't watch films in IMAX because of her tendency to get migraines and headaches. Do you or anybody else know of any other reports of this kind of thing? I'd heard about it for 3D but not IMAX...

  • Comment number 6.

    God I wish people would stop shooting sequences in IMAX, just choose a format and stick with it. All this multiple aspect ratio nonsense is just annoying, I mean which ratio are the shots composed for - 2.35:1 or 1.33:1? I'm assuming Nolan frames predominantly for the Scope ratio because that's how most people will see the film, which reduces the IMAX presentation to nothing more than a compromised gimmick. Thank God I can just mask my Blu-ray of The Dark Knight and watch the whole film at 2.35:1, the ratio that it was obviously composed for. Having said all that, I agree with Mark about Wally Pfister's cinematography, it was stunning.

  • Comment number 7.

    The Dark Knight Rises is by no means a great film, a good one yes, but great? No. The pace was plodding and the dialogue was woeful on occasions. From what I have seen this is Nolan’s worst film (I have yet to see The Following).

    I saw it in digital with a bunch of, and I hate to xenophobic, foreign students who would not shut the help up. They had to be told regularly, in quite colourful language, by other cinemagoers to stop their yapping. Perhaps they ruined the experience somewhat, I don’t have much desire to pay to see it again as I would very much rather watch Nostalgia for the Light (which I can see on August 16th - Can't wait).

    On the matter concerning Bane, it was only on occasions where I needed subtitles to appear at the bottom of the screen. Wasn't as bad as some are suggesting, but he was not totally comprehensible.

  • Comment number 8.

    In response to the first comment by 'ed' - I don't think nolan is the kind of guy to make 'robin hood' films. He's an intellectual film maker and every film he's made outside of Batman has been guided by a particular concept: dreams, magic, memory loss, etc. and each of these concepts has shaped the way each movie has scenographically been told. Obviously a guy who puts much thought into his ideas.

    Is he the best film maker in the world? no. But he knows how to capture 'epic' in a profound way and I was very satisfied with his trilogy.

  • Comment number 9.

    I went with a group of friends and saw a digital screening (it is all that's on offer in my local cinema) and the quality of picture and sound was very good. There was only one line we couldn't make out and it was from Batman not Bane - we think it was an attempt at a joke so not important plotwise! We all really enjoyed it but felt that half an hour could easily have been cut without causing any problems to the story. There was a lot of staring out in the distance and pondering time. Though none of us minded too much as it all looked amazing.

    I wouldn't have chosen to see IMAX as it triggers a migraine - I don't think I'm the only one to find this, and 3D has the same effect.

  • Comment number 10.

    @stevejwithers - other than Nolan and Pfister, very few people are. You make a perfectly valid point about the ratio though. Pfister, as you say a great photographer, loves working with IMAX, and it's clear to me that the sequences in 1.44:1 are specifically framed for both scope and full-frame versions. This is because of the difficulty in filming the whole film in that format (which Nolan and Pfister would have done were it practical). I'm willing to have the ratio shift so I can see 70mm IMAX film, because it's the best image quality I've ever seen. I vividly remember going to see The Dark Knight in IMAX four years ago, and hearing the genuine gasps in the audience when the film started.

  • Comment number 11.

    My general thoughts on the film are: it was good, big, and fun. Just a bit too dependent on Batman Begins as the story was virtually the same thing. Found it hard to justify the characters of Blake & Catwoman and thought Bane was good until his back story is completely revealed as I felt he lost his impact then.
    It was a good conclusion, just not as epic as it was hyped up to be.
    I didn't see it in IMAX but the 35mm was more than satisfying for me. It was very pleasing to watch.

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry to kick the comment section off on a negative footing but I have to say the third and final Batman installment left me disappointed on the whole! Cinematically speaking it was a fine film, with many of the visual effects standing out (though the best of which is spoiled in the trailer anyway) however I couldn't help but feel that there were just one too many cliched lines of dialogue/instances, that in terms of 'darkness' it missed its mark, and, probably most crucially, that Hathaway's 'Catwoman' (whilst an excellent performance) seemed overall redundant and thrown in simply for the sake of having Catwoman.

    Perhaps I was drawing too many comparisons with 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight' - both of which I love and have since rewatched - but after months of hype Nolan's latest definitely let me down (a first, I might add!) That being said, I saw the film in a normal multiplex in digital format, and whilst that didn't affect my appreciation of the cinematography and visual effects, I definitely intend to see it in Imax before its run is over.

    Just a note on Bane's dialogue - my only quarrel is that it was about 20 decibels louder than anyone elses in the movie! That didn't make it harder to understand so much as jarring because at times it broke the fluidity and illusion of the film, if only momentarily!

  • Comment number 13.

    Regarding Bane's dialogue - I saw the film at the Manchester IMAX, and while the vast majority of his lines were easily understandable, the problem I had was more with the fact that it was clearly added on in post-production using ADR. His dialogue boomed out of the speakers significantly louder than any of the other characters, and sometimes it was quite distracting.

    As for IMAX vs standard experience - IMAX is not essential. If that was the case then buying the home video version would be pointless as the additional screen space in the IMAX scenes is nowhere near the aspect ratio of the full 70mm frame. IMAX is simply a bonus; a way to view the movie on a bigger screen and with louder sound, and if the movie happens to have scenes shot using IMAX cameras then the experience is amplified yet further.

    It is not essential to understand the themes and ideas of the movie, nor appreciate the writing, performances or indeed any of the multitude of artistic and technical elements that combined to produce the film.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well I was originally going to see it in Imax as I had seen the opening sequence in imax before a screening of Mission Impossible IV and was impressed. However I got a free ticket to a regular session and I enjoyed it just fine. I may see it again on imax, not sure yet. I thought it was consistently entertaining film and I far preferred it to The Dark Knight which I thought was a mess. I am not sure if I like it more than Batman Begins yet. I will compare them on blu ray later this year for that.

  • Comment number 15.

    @Jgowds i didn't think ridley scott would make bad films either - nolans signature flashback format is getting boring now and using the cast of inception in the dark knight rises was extra boring seeing them not in inception 2 or something

  • Comment number 16.

    Due to not being in London over July and August I am nowhere near an IMAX screen. But the Vue cinema does have one of their much hyped Vue Extreme screens, so we made the decision to go on an Orange Wednesday and pay the extra for this supposed super experience.

    The screen was slightly bigger, but I did not notice any significant improvement in film quality, that is not to say that it looked bad by any means though. The only major difference was the sound, which was louder (great for the score), but also clearer. Whilst Bane was still a bit difficult to hear (I think that was on purpose by Nolan so that you paid attention to what he said) I was still able to understand the majority of what was said.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I think The Dark Knight Rises is the best film in the trilogy. Was it as wildly original as Batman Begins? No. Was it as haunting as The Dark Knight? No. What it has in its favor is true emotional engagement, something I found somewhat lacking in the previous two films. The first movie in the trilogy to have me tearing up. Not once, but twice! I cant say its the best, but its definitely my favorite.
    As for issue of Banes voice, I'm sure its mostly a matter of where you seen it. I've seen the movie in the cinema twice now, and both times had problems understanding what Bane was saying. The third time I seen the movie, (I'm sorry to say), was on the internet, and I could here absolutely everything Bane was saying, despite the fact that I was watching the movie filtered through someones camcorder.
    As for the format I think is best, I've only seen it in digital. Perfectly fine, except some scenes which were a tad too dark. Luckily most of the movie is set during the daytime. I have yet to see it in IMAX, but I plan to before it leaves cinemas.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nolan has NEVER made a bad film, every film I have seen of his, including Dark Knight Rises, blew my mind! And I'm fully aware that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I'm really getting fed up with all these so-called "Hipsters" who say it's his worst film or that Nolan's overrated. They seriously don't realise just how lucky we are to have a director who doesn't treat audiences like money-bags.

    I don't care if this is making me sound like a Nolan Disciple or something, I'm saying it because it's right and I'm glad I'm being backed Mark's competent authority.

    In regards to your question, Dr K. I saw TDKR in IMAX, there were moments when Bane was talking where I thought "Sorry, what?" but because Tom Hardy's performance is mostly physical you usually get the gist of what he's saying. Mostly I could hear him just fine, but having said that, what would you expect from someone who was wearing a mask because his face was mutilated.

    In terms of the projection, personally I'm not really sure I noticed the difference, I was too busy enjoying the film.

  • Comment number 19.

    Can it please be argued now that Christopher Nolan, with his love of decent film making, intellectual storylines, gorgeous photography, fantastic acting from supreme talent (Pacino's arguably last great performance in "Insomnia", Ledger in "The Dark Knight", Bale in "The Prestige", Hathaway in "The Dark Knight Rises" - yes, you read that right)...

    Please can we finally say that Nolan is the greatest film maker working today?He has nearly every single film he has made in the IMDb top 250. If that's not anything to even begin your argument, I don't know what is!

  • Comment number 20.

    I have seen The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX twice now and once in standard digital. I would definitely say that IMAX is superior, helping to draw you into the action sequences especially, enhancing the spectacle and all round cinema environment.
    However the jump between scenes shot in IMAX is distracting, as the picture literally halves in size and clarity. Thus reminding me that I was sitting in a cinema watching a film. Instead of flying round Gotham with Batman, because in the end, we all want to believe Batman actually exists.

  • Comment number 21.

    I saw it in IMAX at the BFI when it first came out, and I saw it again last week on a digital print. For me IMAX is vastly superior; the screen was brighter, the sound was clearer, but most of all the sheer size and clarity of the image made the film much more immersive.

    Not sure if someone has mentioned this yet, but the way to tell if a film is being projected in true IMAX (70mm) is the film title will be listed as "The IMAX Experience".

  • Comment number 22.

    A great ending to a great trilogy. sure, some people may find problems with it but great classic films always divide opinion (look at Stanley Kubrick's films for example: loads of people don't like those). The acting was strong (especially if you were clever enough to watch Tom Hardy's eyes as opposed to his metal mouth), the cinematography astonishing and the intellectual ambition made even an old cynic like me optimistic about modern cinema. There were small inconsitencies but I only noticed them because the film came out a week later here and because I had read most of the reviews (even the spoilery ones). Had I not read about them I would not even have noticed them. The fact that the film still managed to blow me away (Anne Hathaway is one of my favourite actresses now) just goes to show what a great film this was.

    I saw it in 35mm and it looked absolutely stunning. I incidentally had no problem with Bane's voice whatsoever. Unfortunately, I live it in a city that does not have cinemas with IMAX screens so I won't be able to see it in that format and therefore I won't be able to make comparisons between formats either but i am anxiously awaiting your comparison. 3D is falling, let IMAX rise.

  • Comment number 23.

    @Adam Whyte took the words right out of my mouth. I booked tickets for TDKR weeks before it opened, and since Birmingham's IMAX have lost or failed to renew their license, I had to book for London, and did so for the Odeon in Kingston since the BFI was packed full. So it took me a 200+mile round trip to find out about these dreadful mini-IMAXes. They're about a 5th the size of a real IMAX and it feels like watching a crudely panned-and-scanned version of the full-sized IMAX. If anything, the mini-IMAX (IMAX Sonics, they call it) detracts from the scale of the film in a way in which the 2.35 version doesn't. Real IMAX should make you float in front of the screen, it should intimidate you with its quality and size. Mini-IMAX is pretending it knows what size is. The 35/65mm scenes looked blown up and cropped, the IMAX scenes looked as if they were bordered by a thick picture-frame, like they'd had the outside third chopped off. It's frustrating to be sat in a so-called IMAX, to know when the IMAX scenes are being shown - it's noticeable from the quality of the image, the focus and so on - and to feel short-changed.

    I've seen it twice more in 2.35 and even considering how much I like the film, I still feel I've not quite seen it in full yet. The good thing at least is that it'll certainly be showing at the BFI throughout August, so at some point that screen should stop being filled-up.

    When a film has been shot in IMAX, go see it in IMAX. Why wouldn't you? The issue for debate would never be "don't see a film in its suggested format", it's surely whether or not that suggested format is one you feel is appropriate to the film. In other words; to avoid TDKR in IMAX when it was shot in IMAX is akin to saying no to the director's structure or dialogue. Of course, Nolan has to take into account that not all cinemas are IMAX. But some people will care more than others. What's necessary is for people who care even a little to make SURE they see the film in IMAX. It's how it was designed, and the more you fill those screens up the more IMAXes are likely to arrive. And that's only a good thing.

    And the film's great, my favourite of the three. Those who decried Bane's voice are fools, particularly those who complained after the preview footage last December. It was perfectly understandable, and the re-dubbed version of that scene, the one showing everywhere now, is a little distracting. The performance just isn't as good. Hopefully it'll be changed back for home video.

  • Comment number 24.

    Was there a likkle bit of CGI in this? Yawn. And I'm bored with grainy-voiced geezers.

  • Comment number 25.

    Saw this a few days ago, thought it was excellent, one my top 5 favourites of the year. Thought Tom Hardy's Bane actually quite a moving performance, no problems with the speech in IMAX.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'd also like to add, concerning Bane's voice - the issue isn't how clear he is in 35mm or IMAX or wherever, I found it's the fact of how loud his voice is, of how many and which speakers it's coming through. This is partly the issue with the opening scene: his voice appears to be coming from the speakers in the cinema moreso than the mouth of the character onscreen. This doesn't always work perfectly for my taste, particularly when the "crashing this plane" line comes up, which hasn't been changed since last December. It sounds completely different, and the mix is different.

    This is one occasion when it feels like Nolan's arm might've been twisted to ensure the audience be happy. Hey, maybe it was his choice to listen to them. I don't know. But it's a minor niggle I have with the film.

    A great film, by the way.

  • Comment number 27.

    Being a lifelong Batman fan I have now seen it four times, soon to be five.
    Once IMAX, twice digital, and once 35mm.

    The scale of the framing in IMAX is spectacular, the blacks are black, and the sheer scale of the city was incredible.
    Having seen it in 4 different cinema's of varying size I can say that the dialogue is perfectly fine. I do not accept that people cannot understand is being said, this to me means that people are really not paying attention.
    If anything there is muffled dialogue from some of the supporting cast, not Tom Hardy.

    I was immensely satisfied with the film and all of my expectations were met.

    See it in IMAX if you can

    An interesting point regarding the box office is that TDKR actually sold more tickets than Marvels (The) Avengers (Assemble), however in calculation it took more money due to additional charge for 3D.

  • Comment number 28.

    And ditto Mark Nurdin...Al Pacino's fabulous performance in Insomnia.
    Two really interesting films - that and Following.
    Proper act-ing.

  • Comment number 29.

    Absoloutely loved the film. I'm not sure if it tops the dark knight as Heath Ledgers performance in that was incredible but overall this was a fitting end to what could be the best trilogy of all time. I wish Wally Phister a long and succesful career as a director but his cinematic brilliance behind a camera will be sorely missed.

    I saw it in Imax and it looked stunning, i haven't seen it in a regular 35mm print like Mark so i can't draw comparisons but the image was clear,sharp the clarity of the image incredible. I did initially have a problem with Bane's dialogue at the start with the scene on the plane but as there was so much extranious noise in that scene coupled with the extremley loud sound of the Imax projection then that could have played a part?, once we got to Gotham i didn't notice any dialogue problems at all.

  • Comment number 30.

    Yes, the movie was terrific. Seen it two times already, both in usual 35 mm. Second time was way better than the 1st one, which means the movie is full of details and subtleties in the characters to which I couldn't connect really during my first viewing.

    I don't have a chance, unfortunately, to see it in IMAX, but my friend sdid and they say it was fantastic. But isn't it obvious& I mean the screen is so much bigger :D

  • Comment number 31.

    almost forgot, Bane's voice was perfectly fine in 35

  • Comment number 32.

    I saw The Dark Knight Rises in both IMAX and 35mm, and I have to say IMAX is the one to go for. It was so incredibly immersive and powerful you could feel every blow that was rained down on Batman. In fact, when I saw it in 35mm the second time, I was surprised by how much less violent it was than I had remembered it. The IMAX experience took me so far into the movie I almost felt like I going to suffer a few a bruises myself.

    Overall, the whole film is an astonishing experience. Yes, it may have some clunky dialogue - but I challenge any other director / writer out there to put so much on screen without the odd concession narrative description.

    I would also say that as a man of 28, I can't think of another film in recent memory that spoke to the kid inside me so clearly. If you didn't feel an incredible swell of joy/pride/exhilaration when Batman returns for the first time, then you are taking life entirely too seriously and need to get back to a period when you could truly believe in heroes.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have yet to see the film in I-max, but as I am currently in the U.A.E., only 2 I-max theatres are available and only one of them projects 70 mm film and I don't even know if they actually do movies, maybe just documentaries. I do encourage people to see it in 70mm I-max, not because it will make the story seem alot better or anything, but I think once you experience the scope and get into the story, you may actually feel like you are in the movie at times because of the extraordinary canvas and the use of sound in the theatre; "Hugo" managed to succeed using 3-D (for once), because of one personal moment I had with the film: Towards the end when Georges Melles is giving his speech to the audience before all his films are being played, the 3-D actually projects him forward and almost out of the screen, reaching out to us. His speech was cleverly utilized within the 3-d Experience because Scorsese has somehow managed to bring the legacy of the first true filmmaker in the world much more closer to us (the audience), and his words would continually inspire us from beyond the grave. I know it sounds very corny, but I did get that feeling when I saw that scene in cinemas, and its something I never ever got from "Avatar" (to be fair, James Cameron praised "Hugo" and said that the 3-d was better utilized there than it was in "Avatar".

    OH, and "The Dark Knight Rises" was great,except for a few flaws here and there in the storytelling (I did not like Blake's first encounter with Wayne at his home, and I can't believe Chris and Jonathan Nolan wrote that in, it just didn't work very well). Still, a great film, and it works very well on a thematic/symbolic level, and does have excellent writing over all, especially with the way it ties in to the previous two films. I only had a few issues with Bane's voice, but that was because I had seen it from a digital projection (sorry but I had no choice), and I think it may have something to do with the use of sound in digital projection, where sound effects and music seem to be enhanced like hell as opposed to making sure the dialogue is clear and concise. I think seeing it on either 35mm or 70mm would be much better, because you may get a more pure experience.

  • Comment number 34.

    I saw it in Imax on opening day (on the biggest screen in Ireland, no less) and I absolutely loved the movie. TDKR is the perfect final act of this story arc and I was hooked to the screen from start to finish. Once again Nolan demonstrates his prowess at dealing with big spectacle and intricate characterisation and narrative at the same time. In a short featurette on the film I watched online, Nolan said he look to works of classic silent cinema like Metropolis in order to work out how visual storytelling and use of huge sets and lots of extras can be done and his research seems to have paid off in spades. While there were some nitpicks here and there, and also the fact that Bane definitely was hard to understand, I couldn't have been happier with this film.

  • Comment number 35.

    I watched it in IMAX. Now I would love to watch it in 35mm. However I can say IMAX is an excellent way to see the film. I think it looks wonderful and I like the story as it wasa great end to to a great trilogy. I think this could be the best live action trilogy ever. Certainly the best comic book trilogy ever.

  • Comment number 36.

    First of all I really like the film. I thought it was slick, well paced and a more than fitting conclusion to an excellent series. I didn't see the film in IMAX and whilst watching the film i didn't experience any 'this would be better in IMAX ' moments looking back at it i do think some of the big action scenes, in particular the first fight between Batman and Bane, felt slightly visually underwhelming and may have been more impressive in the alternative format. Having only seen Batman Begins and The Dark Knight on dvd and Inception and now Rises in a cinema I feel that Nolan's style is far more superior on a big screen and perhaps IMAX would compliment it even more.

  • Comment number 37.

    I hope it is better on IMAX, because if it's seen as the best format by the industry (and god knows they need to up their game), more IMAX cinemas will be built. My nearest IMAX is over 60 miles away. Sorry, but I can't afford to splurge that much money on a movie, and my local multiscreens no longer have 35mm projectors.

    So, I'm lumbered with what everybody seems to agree is an inferior viewing experience. Waiting for DVD doesn't help as it's a crude, dying format. I might have to wait for a distant future where IMAX is local and affordable and they show a Nolan retrospective. That's a long time to avoid spoilers.

  • Comment number 38.

    I waited and waited and waited and FINALLY...the Dark Knight Rises arrived in cinemas and i bloody loved it! I've seen it 3 times and it just got better. The true sequel to the great Batman Begins. I honestly think it is a far superior film to The Dark Knight which i felt was actually a bit boring in parts. Ledger was good but not great imo. You want to see Oscar material? Watch Nicholson in About Schmidt.
    Regarding Bane, i thought Tom Hardy did a superb job and as long as you tune your ears to him properly you really should not have any problems understanding him. Quite a few people have commented on the way he exited the film, i too was a little surprised at the nature of his departure from the film but after seeing it a third time i realised that his story had ended to the point that it didnt really matter how his character left the movie.
    I live in Cork and we dont have any IMAX cinemas but none of that really matters to me.
    Bottom line, The Dark Knight Rises is the best film of 2012 and the first film in a long time to live up to such hype. Glad you loved it too Mark.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Mark,

    I saw TDKR in a digital print and I felt that is was very clear. The Bain issue is something that will continue to arouse much heated debate but I felt that after you heard the Bain character speak for a few scenes it eventually became much easier to understand his dialogue. I did feel that during the ending when the bridges leading in to Gotham were being blown up these images were lost in the greater city-scape shot that Nolan employed. I found myself searching for what I was supposed to be looking at. This wasn't a digital projection issue, it was more a Chris Nolan issue of style.

    I don't like the fact that Nolan specially designed certain scenes so that they could be shot using the IMAX camera. I feel that this pattern, if followed by other directors, could further take away from the story-telling aspect to all good films. I'm loath to criticise Nolan too much but specially designing a scene for a piece of technology is something about which to be wary.

  • Comment number 40.

    By the way, to everyone who loved this movie, i mean REALLY loved it, please stay away from the movie's IMDB message board, its full of bitter people who have absolutely nothing good to say about it and those that do are shot down. The Dark Knight Rises holds a 9.0 rating o the site but it might aswell be a 1.0 the way these cretins are carrying on.

  • Comment number 41.

    Saw it first in IMAX, and I hated it. Why? Not because the movie or the IMAX sequences were bad, no they were in fact quite mesmerising. I didn't enjoy because the BFI IMAX at Southbank has one major flaw, the seating is just terrible. Small and uncomfortable, if you're a tall chap than be prepared to have a cramp in your leg.

    Saw it again in the digital format at the Odeon in Leicester Square, sat in the front row of the balcony circle and I enjoyed it far more. The film was projected perfectly, the sound was sensational, Bane's voice sounded like Jeeves in the midst of suffering a cold, and the seating was so comfortable, in other words it was perfect.

    Although screen format is important, surely at the end of the day the most important factor that sometimes gets overlooked is seating. I believe to enjoy a film at the cinema, you have to be comfortable. As Dr. K mentioned the Empire in Leicester Square is one of the best auditoriums because not only is the sound and projection spot on, but because also the seating plan is well thought out.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ Respond to Paul's comment.

    Thanks for the advice. Personally I haven't logged onto IMDB in months, these cretins really put me off when it comes to expressing one's opinion.

  • Comment number 43.

    I've actually seen it in both I-Max and standard. There wasn't much difference to the picture, but the the sound in I-Max was far superior. I liked it but it was far too long; and just like many people I found the dialogue hard to hear, especially over the incessant sound track. Bane's strange voice was also difficult to keep up with.
    I definitely prefer the the first two movies. I found parts of the plot here illogical (if Bane is going to destroy Gotham anyway then why all the anarchy? Any why does he wait for months before trying to do it? And where were the guards in the prison where Bruce Wayne was being held?)
    The last half hour was terrific. The action was brilliant and non-stop. But what a long film!

  • Comment number 44.

    I saw it in digital - how was I sure? Because the opening minute or so of the film played with only audio on a loop for about twenty minutes and no one 'behind the scenes' seemed to do anything to fix it until a mass group stormed the front desk.

    Aside from the technical issues I loved it, no sound issues at all, in fact I found Bane's voice was one of those great eccentricities characteristic of Nolan's films. Glad to finally have a blockbuster worth seeing over and over again.

  • Comment number 45.

    I went to see Dark Knight Rises in an "IMAX" in Edinburgh and it was truly awful. I was near the front row, had a sore neck, loud unclear noises and a far too dark and curved view that if it weren't for the fantastic immersive qualities of the story I think I would have walked out. It's apparently one of those adapted IMAX screens that don't give you true IMAX but give these chain cinemas a chance to get a 3D-like payment out of your wallet. Went the next day to a bog standard cinema showing and absolutely enjoyed it.

    As for the Bane voice, I loved it the first time I heard it and was against changing it. It's such a wonderful creation that I was willing to mishear a few lines of dialogue (especially in the knowledge that I would watch it several times) than have it changed because it is so wonderfully creepy and enigmatic at the same time.

  • Comment number 46.

    @Denis. I think this is a little unfair. I don't know that scenes were designed around the use of IMAX cameras. What suggests to you that they were designed around, and catered for the IMAX any differently than to a 35mm camera? I'm loath to think that someone would or could design a scene around this idea, as it seems at most to mean that what, a set would need to be built taller to accommodate the larger frame and still look realistic.

    In the case of TDKR, the IMAX scenes - those I particularly remember being in IMAX, despite the fact I'm yet to see the IMAX - are those in which the scale of the frame both implies a sense of thematic scale, and just allows for more realistic scale. After all, fitting 1100 extras in frame for real is surely better than implying it?

  • Comment number 47.

    I have to say, after booking my tickets two months in advance, I was slightly let down when the whole crowd was kicked out of the Waterloo BFI IMAX screening due to projector failure. End up watching the film in the science museum IMAX theatre.
    But the IMAX footage of the film is certainly impressive. There is something about the format and the dimension of the screen that makes the experience a bit more engaging and epic to say the least.
    However with half the film filmed in IMAX and other half in 35mm, the switchover between the two format during scenes is noticable, especially due to the higher definition and clearer pictures the IMAX format offers. It is a bit like switching between DVD and Blueray constantly. But nonetheless I agree IMAX is the way forward instead of 3D.

  • Comment number 48.

    firstly... David Fincher >>>>>>>>> Chris Nolan (and I think Nolan is great)

    Anyhow... I though "Dark Knight Rises" was great even though the plot holes were huge and compared to the other big summer film "Prometheus", it seems much more rushed and the plot holes are much bigger... he gets back to Gotham somehow and you just have to shrug and say.... "well he is Batman".

    I saw it in digital and it was pretty spellbinding, would like to see it in IMAX but i probably won't get the chance.

  • Comment number 49.

    The Dark Knight Rises was superb but I'm not going along with your opinion Mr Kermode about the ending. I saw it digitally projected with screen ratios adhered to by a projectionist in the booth (B'ham Cineworld). I also understood every single word that Tom Hardy uttered from behind the mask. I think the whole 'it sounds clearer in Imax' is a marketing ploy.
    As a side note the Imax screen at Millennium Point closed last September but the cinema I mentioned above are getting one installed in time for Skyfall.

  • Comment number 50.

    I saw it in the Sydney IMAX, and it was astonishing. Sitting only three rows from the front, nearly my entire vision was filled by the screen, and it was truly a spectacular experience; the bike chase in particular genuinely felt like a roller-coaster ride. So for that experience I'd recommend to everyone to see it at least once in the format.

    However, as great an experience as it was, I know I definitely want to see the 35mm print next time. I think IMAX is great once and a while - for the first viewing of a film of this calibre, for example - but it's not a format that I want to watch every film on all the time. While it is spectacular, I don't need it in order to enjoy a film any more.

  • Comment number 51.

    We saw TDKR at the BFI IMAX in Waterloo. We tried to get tickets as far back as we could, but it would still made for difficult viewing in places due to the sheer size of the projection and our proximity towards it. Regarding comments made further up, they would be framing the shots for 2:35 (or at least allowing themselves the option of a pan & scan later) as this is the more prevalent aspect ratio for post production and final delivery to DCP. Apart from a few pieces of dust in the projection and our proximity, over all the image quality was most excellent.

    That said, one of the shortcomings of IMAX is the accuracy of focus. This is because the IMAX frame is so large compared with conventional 35mm, that the depth of field is much shallower. It's very noticeable in an IMAX projection, especially when there is a lot of movement towards/away from the camera, and it can make the action quite painful to follow at times. You have to feel sorry for the focus puller/camera assistant...

    It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the IMAX vs 3D debate. IMAX is obviously extremely expensive, and the camera unit is enormous - making it suitable for films like TDKR, but little else. For the majority of releases, 3D and otherwise, the future is digital. Cameras like the ARRI Alexa and Red Epic have stormed ahead in terms of image quality. Even the great Roger Deakins has adopted the former for the new Bond release, and he has no intention of looking back.

    Digital workflows are quicker and cheaper than film workflows, and the image from a camera such as the Alexa - to the untrained eye - is practically indistinguishable. This is a *good* thing, as lower production and distribution costs make it possible for films such as Senna to make such a big splash - duplicating and posting hard drive is far cheaper than running off a 35mm film print.

  • Comment number 52.

    Dr Kermode. You have often stated on your blog that Toy Story is the best trilogy ever made. Being better than the Godfather, Lord of the Rings and even Back to the Future. But have Batman and Nolan beaten Woody and Buzz for the title of best film trilogy?

  • Comment number 53.

    I saw TDKR in both digital 35mm format and Imax and found the Imax version a lot more emotionally engaging and Bane's dialogue indeed seemed much clearer. I noticed there were shots that had lost their scope in the 35mm because they had been topped and tailed to fit the aspect ratio (the shot where the police march to the city hall was beautifully composed with the men going into the distance and the buildings rising around them, something lost in the "normal" cropped print. I also found the interior of the aeroplane sequence made a lot more visual sense in Imax).
    However I did have 2 thoughts on the Imax. Considering it will get almost all of its mileage from the 35mm frame size in digital cinemas and huge domestic viewing in wide-screen, was it really worth all the effort and time it took to mechanically manoeuvre the huge 70mm camera?
    It seems very strange choice in some ways to have shot the film in this format as Imax is 4:3 when televisions and cinema screens are 16:9. After it leaves the Imax, who is going to be able to see such a rich full image again? A cropped 4:3 on a 16:9 screen will look less impressive than the wide-screen version.
    I also found it incredibly distracting to be going back and forth between (35mm) 16:9 and (Imax) 4:3 almost constantly in the Imax screening. Also the resolution of a 35mm print blown up on an Imax is not very good up close. Suddenly the Imax would return and pop out of the screen. But to be honest these are tiny quibbles, I was in awe of the talents of all involved, particuarly Wally Pfister, and thought it was Nolan's most impressive work to date.

  • Comment number 54.

    Absolutely agree with Adam Whyte people should go see it at a proper 70mm IMAX print like the one i saw at the BFI IMAX. Biggest IMAX screen in the UK would highly recommend this cinema in particular.

  • Comment number 55.

    I saw it in Imax at the Odeon Wimbledon and the first thing that struck me when i walked in was the size of the screen not much bigger than a normal screen. The picture was quite murky during some of film but that may have been due external light reflecting on the screen or the fact that i was sitting quite close, Bane's voice however was perfectly clear.

    As for the film itself, after the malevolent genius of The Dark 'nightmare' as i call it, i thought Christopher Nolan was taking the series into Wes Craven territory, but he produced a film that was disappointingly conventional. Tellingly both Al Murray and Kermode said Batman Begins was their favourite of the series and TDKR is closer to that in tone than The Dark 'nightmare' which now looks like the square peg in the series. I liked TDKR, but i wanted to love it and it may well feature in Kermode's top 10 of the year but at present it won't feature in mine. However this being a Christopher Nolan film he's more interested in characterisation and his films don't reveal all their pleasures on the first viewing, so i will see it again at the end of the month and see if i like it more.

  • Comment number 56.

    I saw TDKR as a standard digital presentation at Cineworld in Edinburgh and I thoroughly enjoyed it; whilst it is by no means perfect, it is easily the best of the series for me. TDK is in a close second place, mostly being let down by the relatively silly and rushed final act, whereas TDKR only really suffered in terms of its medical detail and Wayne's unlikely regenerative abilities. I should really re-watch Batman Begins at some point, but was quite disappointed with it at the time.

    I am tempted to watch TDKR again in IMAX, although Edinburgh only has the pseudo-IMAX experience readily available. I may investigate a trip through to Glasgow for the full effect though... Incidentally, whilst the Edinburgh Cineworld offering is an adpated IMAX, it used to be an Iwerks 'Extreme Screen' so is better suited to the job than a typical screen - the seating and screen remain as they were beforehand, but the projection and sound have been significantly upgraded, although I'm not entirely sure about its exact ratio - it seems far closer to 1.44:1 than 1.85:1 at least, but it still doesn't really justify the extra cost and branding.

  • Comment number 57.

    Loved "The Dark Knight Rises". Had no problems with Tom Hardy's voice - although it did sound like Darth Vader channeling Daniel Plainview. I saw the movie in the normal 35mm, and thought the image was extraordinary. Don't care too much for this whole IMAX experience - I just want to watch the darn thing! I tip my hat to the great, Wallyt Pfister, who doesn't depend on tacky gimmicks, such as 3-D, to project his visuals on screen.

    As you mentioned before, Dr.K - 3D is a fad, and will until it's demise. Studios will keep milking this so called "Next step in the movie-going experience" until we grow tired of it. I did soon as the credits rolled on "Avatar". It's just an excuse to add that extra dollar on ticket sales.

    What happened to going to the movies? Now it's turning into a circus.

  • Comment number 58.

    I saw 'The Dark Knight Rises' on a night screening at the Greenwich IMAX, and it was spectacularly magnificent. The visuals were stunning and the booming vibrating sound added to Christopher Nolan's climactic end to his trilogy, and enhanced the glorious sense of impending doom within the film.

    I had no problem understanding Bane's voice, but perhaps I was making a conscious effort to hear each word from behind that massive mask, once I had quickly attuned my ears to it.

  • Comment number 59.

    I have now seen the dark knight rises in both a digital projection and the IMAX format. I have to start by saying that the digital projection was certainly adequate, and 100% better than the projection of the buildup Batman double bill (begins and dark knight). I entered that screen looking forward to seeing a preview trailer of Rises only to have the pictures projected with Robbie William's "old before i die" playing over the top of the trailer audio - genuinely suicide inducing.
    Anyway, on seeing the new film in both formats I would have to say the IMAX format is far superior and improves in almost ever sense. The colours appear richer, particularly in the blue hued sections (eg batpod), and the sound clarity is indeed as Mark suggested better. I actually found Gary Oldman's voice more difficult to make out than Bane's, but both character's dialogue was much clearer with no straining required.
    I think though that the biggest difference between the two experiences, and one which brought through an entirely different emotional arc in the film for me, was the ability to really see Tom Hardy's facial expressions and particularly his eyes. The connection in the film switched from Batman to Bane for me and I was genuinely surprised by the emotional thud I felt in the gut when Bane lay on the floor, mask broken, wheezing in pain. I have seen films previously in both traditional and IMAX formats but normally the effect is just "wow thats bigger" rather than deeply changing and enriching the experience as with TDKR, Christopher Nolan should only be congratulated for sticking with this bold choice and if the academy overlook him again this year god help us all

  • Comment number 60.

    Director Christopher Nolan has made a point of not liking Digital Cinema. On the credits of The Dark Knight Rises it says this film was shot on film and edited on film.

    I was then interested to know what format Warner's would screen the film at the London premiere. The Odeon Leicester Square screened the film in 35mm for the premiere and then the following day press screening to me a shiny new 35mm printwill always be better than anything digital as it feel and looks more real.

  • Comment number 61.

    Ive seen it 3 times now; twice in the now standard digital projection and once in Imax. In both locations I had no problems with Banes dialogue. This was my first Imax experience bu I found no huge difference in projections unfortunately.
    Regardless though, I would have to say the Imax experience was the best for me as it was the second viewing which allowed me to just sit back and pick up on things I had possibly missed first time round and secondly this film is BIG. Quite simply it deserves to be seen BIG.

  • Comment number 62.

    I saw it at the Empire in Newcastle. I know it wasn't Imax, but I have no idea whether it was digital or film. How would I tell? It looked very good, but to me, it was a matter of cinematography, colour and lighting, art direction and mise-en-scene; there really wasn't much pure spectacle, or at least nothing that stood out.

    I'll admit I've not seen anything in Imax. I don't really want to - it's too big. I saw Magic Mike a couple of weeks back and due to the cinema being packed (I was one of I think only eight males in attendance; that was an odd feeling) I had to take what I could get and ended up with near-front row seats, which was just too big and oppressive for comfort. If I can't see the whole of the screen on a standard-sized print (again, might have been film, might have beed digital, no idea which), why pay even more to watch in Imax?

    Bane was easy to understand, for me. I was expecting something far more distorted; as it was, the postprocessing wasn't an issue at all. Is this an accent thing? I ask because I've heard many Americans have trouble with British accents. I have a very clear RP accent, but I met a pair of Americans in Japan who seriously thought I was German...

    As to what I thought of it, was good. I have a complicated attitude to Batman: I really like the idea of exploring the consequences of vigilantism, and the idea of someone who uses fear as a weapon, but the whole 'dressing as a bat' thing means it's really hard to take seriously. At the same time, Batman really wrote the book on these themes in fiction, so any attempt to explore them with another character would just look like a cheap imitation. Batman Begins was basically, for me, something that would be better titled An Excuse For Batman, even though without the Bat element it was superb. I had the same problem with Dark Knight, albeit less so. Here, it's just as silly a motif; it can't help blemishing an otherwise really good film. That said, it did threaten to turn into just another film about a stolen nuclear weapon at a few points. However it gave us an intelligent and audience-respecting blockbuster, and for that I laud Nolan and the rest of the creative crew.

    I have to say I don't understand people complaining about complicated plots or it being 'too long'. It, like most films, was as long as it needed to be to tell the story it set out to tell; none of it was really superfluous, all of it mattered. The complexity is something to celebrate, not criticise! For many years almost anything remotely action-heavy has suffered from simplistic plotting, acting and dialogue; films like this are beginning to change that, yet you complain? In my view that area is now thoroughly covered by 'cinematic' computer games; it's here, in the union of action with acting, where the cinema is uniquely gifted and strong. Please, give us longer, more complex films!

  • Comment number 63.

    In my opinion this is C. Nolan's weakest Batman flick. However, with the standard of the two previous films being so high, it is no wonder it wouldn't live up to some peoples' expectations.

    As we knew, Heath Ledge's dramatic and convincing performance as The Joker was a hard one to follow. Therefore, having the next villain who's face is mostly covered was no competition to the late actor. However, it left me wanting more and I felt C. Nolan had to compensate for this less dramatic role, by surrounding him and the story with boring and rushed characters.

    Rushed is a word that screamed out to me whilst watching this movie. The ending was a disaster, the fighting scenes were laughable, and the romance between Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul was ridiculous. And to top them all, when Bane breaks Batman's back, it really doesn't seem like a big deal......This was (in my eyes) one of the most important scenes. A scene which would show how human batman is. A point sadly missed.

    However, to answer your question Dr. I watched it in digital. It was nice enough :/

  • Comment number 64.

    The film:

    Certainly not disappointing. Inevitably suffering from threequelitis. Far from the revolting realms of The Phantom Menace and Indy 4. A good ending to a great trilogy...but deeply frustrating all the same. There's something strangely sloppy about the script and the way it's executed, which seems to make the plot holes stick out like a sore thumb. It somehow doesn't feel like the same team that made Begins and TDK. Kind of surprising for Nolan. Apparently, The Dark Knight is riddled with plot holes. I saw that 3 times at the cinema; I couldn't tell you how many times I've watched it since on DVD, but I've haven't spotted many at all. Same with Begins. This seemed to be loaded with them. I know most films have faults and that it's pure fiction but, for me, TDKR ones really niggled.

    The screening:

    Saw it twice, back-to-back screenings on opening day at the local all digital (sadly) multiplex. First screening was great. Presentation was fine. Would have preferred IMAX but hey-ho. Did get to see the prologue at the London IMAX before MI4, which was amazing. Bane's voice was dramatically improved since.
    Second screening was awaful because of the behaviour of the audience. Why aren't there members of staff monitoring the audience? You buy your £8 ticket; walk a few feet; someone tears the ticket and tells you which screening room you are in; another member of staff demands to see your ticket at the screening room door and makes you sit in your allocated seat (even when there is hardly anyone in there); then they clear off. Someone should be there to shine a torch on anyone yapping, checking their mobile phones, whistling or - as I experienced during the second screening - to stop them drumming their hands on their knees!

    Sigh, sorry to rant!

  • Comment number 65.

    I've seen both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises at the IMAX and in 35mm. I prefer the 35mm print for both movies. Don't get me wrong, the imax scenes looked amazing, but I found myself disconnecting from the film to admire its beauty. Both films looked great in 35mm, and I was hooked throughout.

  • Comment number 66.

    i saw dark knight rises once at my local multiplex, i assume the standard digital projection as i have no access to an imax.

    The problem is i am really unsure what to make of the film; while watching it i felt A) bored B) Disappointed C) confused. i dare dislike it, but the biggest problem i found was how it (near-)totally ignored the dark knight and key items of that film were summed up in the introduction. especially when it shares the title. Surely batman begins again.

    There was no problem with bane's voice. It was louder than everyone else and in the near opening sequence, (where his 'soft' speak was louder than when everyone else shouted as if bane himself was the auditorium.) i don't think there is much difference between what i heard and what can be heard in imax
    i suggest it maybe how the multiplex disburses the sound. I thought Nolan did a preview at the begining of the year, and due to comments reedited banes voice,

    thanks ,

  • Comment number 67.

    There's a lot that doesn't work in this. While the plot holes were forgiveable in Dark Knight, there's simply too many here, with a lot of rushed moments with one barely developed character (Talia Al Ghul) and another that doesn't fit and wrongly cast (Selina Kyle).I saw this in a normal cinema and again on IMAX and it's a staggering difference, especially with the opening action sequence, easily one of the best action moments this year, with the score roaring through your ears with that militant, aggressive ''Deshi Basara'' theme running through it. It's definitely worth it in IMAX. Also the ending still sucks.

  • Comment number 68.

    I saw the prologue at IMAX Bradford, and the film itself digitally at Vue Kirkstall Road in Leeds. Seeing the opening scene of the film made me wish that I'd waiting to get tickets at the IMAX, even though the seats are really uncomfortable and there's no leg room...

  • Comment number 69.

    The best format to see it in would be a pirated version, dubbed in another language, filmed on a phone camera from a screen in a cinema full of noisy teenagers, by someone suffering both from Parkinson's disease and whooping cough, the result then compressed into a 10MB file to be watched on a phone screen, while in the blazing sunlight at an outdoor techno rave. In a drunken stupor.

    Anyone who doesn't agree with me is a snob.

  • Comment number 70.

    I've seen it twice now, the first time in IMAX and the second in 35mm.

    I have to say, the first time I watched the film I was disappointed with it, and I absolutely LOATHED IMAX - yes, there is such a thing as "too big". The screen size was so huge the picture itself became really warped, and I could never finish reading the shot before we moved on to the next, and given Nolan's frantic style of editing and multiple storylines I found the last 40 minutes virtually incomprehensible. The constant back-and-forth frame change was also very bothersome.

    I also think that, with IMAX, you come to a point where you don't really feel a shot's frame, and I think that's a key aspect of what makes a shot cinematic. I came out of the screening with a headache.

    I watched it again in 35mm, though, and enjoyed it a lot more. Many of the aspects of the plot I had found inconsistent the first time around made more sense, the film as a whole felt more coherent and emotionally poignant, I felt the vertical composition of the film a lot more, overall it was simply a huge improvement.

    If Nolan wants to keep exploring the IMAX alternative, I hope he rethinks his editing style in order to give us a little more time to digest what we're seeing and make some sense out of it and not bombard us every two seconds with something new in a completely different location. As it stands, the IMAX version is a cluster-fruitcake, but the film in its classic 35mm form is really quite something.

  • Comment number 71.

    Also, I was sitting somewhere in the middle, not at the front rows.

  • Comment number 72.

    Definitely worth watching in IMAX. At one point I was looking down to see what was happening under the bridge as it felt so real. However IMAX or no IMAX, the problem with The Dark Knight Rises is that it feels twice as long as The Dark Knight and is not even half as good. So doesnt matter which screen size you are watching it in, it isnt worth the time. About the frame rate, yes Dr.K, it would have been better at 48 frames per second, provided the current version is used. Atleast that way it would take half as long and it is very likely that Bane would be better understood.

  • Comment number 73.

    After now seeing The Dark Knight Rises twice at my local IMAX cinema at Manchester, I was delighted to report that what I had seen could end up being my favourite film of 2012. After I had seen it for the first time on its opening day on July 20th and the lights came up after it had just finished, the packed house applauded in their masses and I was more than happy to clap along with them, and why wouldn’t you? With an intelligent script, outstanding performances and excellent cinematography by Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan and his team have crafted, and delivered the grandest and superheroic epitaph for the hero Gotham deserves. Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy has revolutionised comic book movies in a big way, creating a dark dystopian neo-noir world steeped in bleakness and nihilism, with characters that are flawed, damaged, or even psychopathic. I didn’t have a problem with understanding Bane’s dialogue, even though you do have to really tune your ear to it, but Tom Hardy’s deep, menacing, monotone voice just added to his equally menacing body movements, creating a truly nihilistic and monstrous character. Wally Pfister is my favourite cinematographer and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do as a director, and Chris Nolan is definitely one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. In terms of the IMAX format, after seeing it twice in IMAX, it just reinforced Nolan’s and Pfister’s theory that IMAX is the future of cinema and not 3D. In many ways, this is the immersive experience that was lacking in 3D. You do feel the depth, size and scale of this film coming at you and I was just taken aback by just how spectacular it is to behold in IMAX. It was really an artwork in itself, from the prologue to the massive final battle on Wall Street. While it may lack the surprise of Batman Begins and the anarchy of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises is nonetheless a fitting and emotional conclusion to The Dark Knight Trilogy, which with its two predecessors, will now go down in cinema history alongside Toy Story and Lord of the Rings as one of the best and flawless movie trilogies of all time.

  • Comment number 74.

    In answer to your first question of whether I found the film as rewarding as you did, I have to say that my first impression of complete ambivalence stands. It's the same feeling I had after seeing Prometheus. Please don't misunderstand me, I thought they were both absolutely brilliant films, but I'm not sure I would use the term "rewarding". I felt the DKR relied heavily on the threads from the first film and very very few of the second, to the extent that the second film seemed unnecessary and could easily have been left out of the story-arc all-together.

    Your second question about the best size of film to see it in. I have only seen the film at cineworld so I assume that that is digital? I honestly have no idea about film terminology. My boyfriend has seen it twice: once in IMAX and once at cineworld. He preferred IMAX because he said you got to completely immerse yourself in the movie.

  • Comment number 75.

    I saw it on digital and it looked great, I think Nolan and Pfister are brilliant at making every scene look its best but without distracting you from the story, it’s a shame they won’t work together again. Now for the film, I've been waiting for this for a long time, I don't think there will be another movie this anticipated for a long time. In the back of my mind I had a nagging doubt there is no way Nolan can pull off another masterpiece and all the way up till the end I though he had. At the point when they explain Bane's backstory in the pit I thought he pulled it off, I was so engrossed, how everything was fitting together, all it needed was that great ending but it never came, it needed an old school James Cameron multiple action sequence finish, we've had the story now the action but it couldn't deliver, it was average at best and it let the whole story down.

    More on the ending, there was one mistake after another, first the Talia reveal, we all knew it was coming, poorly hidden, if you were going to do that why hire a famous actress, get an unknown. A lot of people are saying this undermined Bane, I don't think it, what did it was his pathetic demise, such a build-up, such poor ending. Then Talia decided to explain her plot not once but twice, in a James Bond villain style, what is going on? Then the whole thing with a bomb, you know you’re in trouble when there is a bomb with a timer. The flying out sea bit was so predictable and silly. Then there was the whole his dead, I agree he shouldn’t die since such a big deal was made out of the whole ‘the stronger man is the man who wants to live, then the one who’s willing to die’, I dig that, but the whole faking the death? Not for me. The film had many great aspects, the reworking of Bane’s origin, the plain heist, the stock market ambush, the performances of Bale, Hathaway and JGL but the end just let it down.

    Also, I know this has been discussed to death, I didn’t like the whole political undercurrent, I believe him when Nolan says there was no references to the Wall Street occupation and that it’s got more in common with the Tale of Two Cities, it is fine to show the dark undercurrent of an underclass rising up but Dickens portrayed the suffering of the underclass before condemning their violent ways, there is no reference to the suffering of the Gotham underclass, they just come across as thugs and criminals taking what they haven’t earned. TDKR is still far better than The Avengers but it was always aiming for a higher goal, one it just missed due to poor judgement in regards to the end.

    I’ll still be waiting ticket in hand for Chris Nolan next film.

  • Comment number 76.

    Whenever the image stretch to the full IMAX, all I realised what that the man in the seat in front of me had a big head!!!
    Even in the back-row-centre of the BFI IMAX, you can't see the full screen because of BigHead! Yes I found that blood distracting!

    Otherwise, a great movie. I could understand Bane perfectly well. The ending was predictable, but that was fine.

    But as far as summer blockbusters go, I had more fun watching Avengers - more laughs.

  • Comment number 77.

    @1 - I was wondering ed, would you rather watch Dark Knight Rises Again or Batman and Robin?

    As someone who didn't understand why The Dark Knight was so popular until I saw it again on DVD, I enjoyed Dark Knight Rises from beginning to end. It is poetic, intelligent and epic film making at its best. As an epic film it has the one thing that is missing from all too many epic films and that is a brain and intelligent. I've now seen all of Chris Nolan's films since Memento and I do not think he is capable of making a bad movie.

    For those who claim it's politically left wing, I don't think it is. I think the film is genuinely apolitical because although it has the poor rising up against the rich, you get the impression that all political classes suffer under the dictatorship of Bain.

    And since Dr K asked, I saw Dark Knight Rises digitally projected.

  • Comment number 78.

    -- I would love to watch TDKR in IMAX, but unless I leave the country, there is no way! There is not a single cinema with a real IMAX projection here in Germany - or in most european countries. There's only fake IMAX all over (digitally enlarged 35mm projection). In fact the closest IMAX-cinema to my home in Berlin would be in Prague.
    I watched "Mutiny on the bounty (1962)" on a 70mm print some years ago and was impressed how good it looked so I'm pretty convinced that IMAX must be even more impressive.

    -- I enjoyed the film very much but I still think TDK was the best of the three films. I thought Banes voice was very well "designed" - I liked the accent and the echoe of it very much. Had some minor problems understanding but understood him well enough, though I'm no native English speaker.

    -- I don't know whether I watched a 35mm print or digital projection. There's no information on the cinemas website. The opening sequence and the aerial shots of Gotham (aka Manhattan) looked pretty good but I had the feeling it could have been more impressive.

  • Comment number 79.

    I'm sure I'll be Far too far down the list to ever get read by mark but going to contribute for the first time regardless.

    Trying to emotional engage in this film was like being asked to read keats off a herd of stampeding buffalo. It's certainly an entertaining and an awe inspiring event but ultimately it robs the raw material of any emotional impact! I caught just enough to know there are some beautiful moments in those rushes but Nolan seems so desperate to get to the end of the trilogy that he hurtles us out of each scene as soon as he can. As a result of this determination to just cram more and more into his films, they are beginning to feel like giddy montages of themselves rather than a coherent story that takes time to explore what it's actually about. What ever happened to atmosphere, apprehension and pathos? You know the things that are heightened by being aloud to hang in the air a little and generally happen in-between all the chases and fight sequences. So much happens in this film it makes 'Jurassic Park' look like an uneventful day at the zoo. It's great to champion Nolan because he's one of the few blockbuster directors doing anything interesting with the genre but Mark please, just because it's complicated doesn't mean it's intelligent!

    Look at something like 'Let the Right One In'; that's intelligent, beautiful and emotively powerful to boot. And that's essentially just a boy and a girl sitting around in the snow.....well admittedly one of them is kind of a vampire, but still.

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh and i should probably point out, that rant aside I generally did still enjoy the film and would say it's definitely worth a watch in I-MAX as that's used well by Wally.

    Oh OK one more thing seeing as I have the imaginary internet soap box (It's like an ordinary soap box but without anyone really paying attention.) I kind of feel people are now quite quick to dismiss the Burton films, ok they are a bit hammy in places compared to it's slick contemporary but I have to admit I have less gripes with them. Nolan seems to want his cake and eat it and goes to great lengths to show a more gritty real world he's created, that every now and again you get a shot of Bale and Hathaway standing there like a couple that's just enjoyed a weekend away from the kids and walked out the house forgetting to change out of their S&M kit , that it pulls me out of the story. You just want Oldman to turn around and just ask what the hell are they doing? But because in the Burton films the whole world is much more of a fairy tale, I never really got that problem.

  • Comment number 81.

    Bain: incomprehensible. Plot: Boring. Performances: Michael Caine owns the film, others OK, worst of Tom Hardy so far. My rating: Dark Knight (in my top ten) > Batman Begins (maybe a top 100) > Drshmsh Knshrmt Rshmshmsh (deeply flawed)

  • Comment number 82.

    I saw The Dark Knight Rises at the Midnight showing when it opened. I wanted to see it in IMAX, but they were sold out. I don't feel like I missed anything (although, I will still see it in IMAX in the next few days). I loved the movie, even if it was a bit more downbeat than the other two films. I gave them all 5 out of 5. Sure, they have flaws, but as far as superhero films go, there are very few that even get close to any one of these films (Only Robocop, Ang Lee's Hulk and maybe the original Chris Reeve Superman come close IMHO).

    And I never once had any problems understanding Bane, who was a pretty good villain for Nolan's last installment, even if there were other villains that I would have rather seen.

    I couldn't tell you which movie I enjoyed the most, though, but I lean towards the first installment. Batman's last response to Gordon in that one summed up the essence of the character. I do like that each sequel built on what was already there while still working as essentially stand alone movies. They each had something a little different to say and thankfully were more than just retreads of the original.

    Hopefully there will be more 'Nolan' than 'Schnieder' in the new Superman film(s).

  • Comment number 83.


  • Comment number 84.

    I saw it at the BFI IMAX and whilst the IMAX sequences were amazing to look at, I did notice and find the shifting aspect ratio slightly distracting. For one thing, it looked like the DMR 'upconversion' process applied to the 35mm stuff made it looked overly smooth and digitised, with lots of edge enhancement on a few occasions.

    I wouldn't mind if it changed to IMAX for whole sequences... but there were so many occasions where it changed to IMAX for like a 2 second scene, or part of a scene, and then went back to 2.35:1. It was like they filmed everything they could in IMAX (i.e. lots of outside scenes), and then they cut back to something inside in 2.35:1. I get that due to practical reasons they can't put the whole film into IMAX, but I feel like more thought could have been put into when they were going to change to IMAX and when to just stick with 35mm.

  • Comment number 85.

    @Catriona. Your point about the strength of the links to Batman Begins and fewer links to The Dark Knight isn't a flaw. I think the fact is, great a film as The Dark Knight is, it stands alone within the trilogy and 1 and 3 are the stronger sequels. I don't consider this a flaw really, it'd take a brilliant mind to rework the plots of all three films into a different series (of 4 probably) to rectify this. And like I say, the second film's great. But the third is better.


    The biggest reason for The Dark Knight standing alone while 1 and 3 are partners is down to The Joker. (Heresy as it is to apparently insult the character, and I've already had arguments with people about this, I will). Nolan's Bane, while a little underwritten in TDKR, remains a better and more richly rewarding villain than Nolan's Joker, because of his alignment with Batman. The Joker poses a relevant question - if Batman is about the imposition of a code, there must therefore be a total lack of, no? This threat can only go so far and only be so interesting. In the end, in an argument between order and emphatic disorder, people will choose the former.

    What's so interesting about Bane is that he takes Batman's code a little further. I'm saying nothing new here, these ideas have been present since Batman Begins. He's a terrific choice of villain for the conclusive Nolan film because his began with age-old, particularly Nietzschean ideas of the overman, one who is or attempts to be beyond good and evil, so on and so on. The League of Shadows take it upon themselves to do good by doing evil. (This isn't how they'd put it, considering themselves above the terms. More likely they're simply 'restoring balance'.)

    While a reason commonly stated for the lack of mentions of The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises is respect for Heath Ledger, it's nevertheless true that his Joker said his piece and isn't entirely relevant to the overarching thematic. Two-Face on the other hand is, once again being the more intriguing 'villain' - though in Nolan's film I'm wary to use that strong a term. He's about imposing order, but his is more deeply flawed than Batman's, based in part on chance, and clouded by personal judgement.

    I don't want to dissect the film at great length here. But the fact that I think I could is one of the highest compliments I can pay The Dark Knight Rises. It's the richest, most interesting, most complex and troubling (both in theme and quality) and most exciting film of the trilogy.

  • Comment number 86.

    The following is a comparison of my overall view on the film 35mm Vs IMAX


    1) Bane's dialogue 'was' difficult to understand in certain scenes

    2) The plane sequence with Bane was different to the prologue in that his voice was much louder and slightly different; too loud in my opinion. Oddly, i preferred his voice in the prologue even though it was harder to understand (more menacing)

    3) The film was very dark it its atmosphere, i.e. lack of humor, moments to smile at in enjoyment.

    4) My overall impression was that it was a good film but not as good as TDK, and regardless of Nolan's attempt at a more serious (adult) portrayal, the kid in me would still have liked to smile a bit more.

    IMAX (1 week later)

    1) Bane's voice was MUCH clearer, very rarely did i not understand him.

    2) The plane sequence (as one example) was much better, in that Bane's voice was not too loud and fitted in with the other dialogue in terms of pitch.

    3) IMAX (given that 60-80 minutes were filmed by Nolan) greatly improved the action sequences to the extent that, although the film lacks humor and some light heartedness, these sequences in IMAX made up for this in my opinion.

    4) Having seen the film a second time i had a greater appreciation for the complexity and storytelling of Nolan, and with the enhanced features mentioned above, left the theatre with a much higher opinion and would rank it as another masterpiece from Nolan.

    I just want to make two additional points:

    1) I think Tom Hardy is a brilliant actor and like the fact that he has attempted something different with Bane, specifically his voice, and as a result i believe the character is much more interesting rather than a muscle bound brute with a deep voice as might be the easier option.

    2) Considering how hard it is to make the third installment in a trilogy, i think Nolan has done a fantastic job, and puts others to shame in the blockbuster movie making department (Michael Bay for instance). Hopefully his take on the Batman franchise will encourage others to take such a risk with a big budget movie.

    In closing, i will be going to see it one more time in IMAX and will definitely get it when it arrives on blue ray in November/December.

  • Comment number 87.

    I've only watched it on 35 but I was able to understand Bane without a problem, he sounded a bit like Sean Connery in my opinion.

    If I am to comment on the film, I was impressed at how different Bane was as I villain from the Joker. The Joker felt unpredictable, volatile, whereas Hardy portrayed Bane with a feeling of crushing inevitability. He dominated every scene he was in, not with Heath's charisma but with sheer presence.

  • Comment number 88.

    I live in Adelaide in Australia, and we have no IMAX screen here, so I saw it in plain old 35mm at a beautiful old theatre called the Capri.
    As far as the film goes, I liked it, but I thought it was the weakest of Nolan's Batman films. I thought The Dark Knight was *spectacular*, and I watched it again the day after I say Rises to see whether I felt the same and I did. I think it was the nature of The Joker, but I was scared all the time about what would happen next. Bane didn't scare me the same way. Blowing up the city was a cool stunt for a movie villain, but he never held me in suspense the way the Joker did. I could only understand about 50% of what he said, which was a major drawback.
    I thought the film was good, but it felt like just another just action movie. Compared to TDK, it was a disappointment.

  • Comment number 89.

    I've seen it in full 70/15 IMAX, 35mm and digital and they all looked beautiful but for sheer scale and experience the IMAX presentation blew me away. I queued for two hours and got the best seats in the screen (I even travelled 170 miles to Manchester to see it) and it was possibly the best cinematic experience of my adult life. I came out of the IMAX screening shaking with adrenaline while the friend I went with hated the film. He is no longer my friend.

  • Comment number 90.

    Clearly a much better film in IMAX, I've seen in both formats and I have to confess to liking the Cineworld (Strood, Screen 1) version, but I really did miss the scope the IMAX ver' lends to all its big scenes :)

  • Comment number 91.

    Anybody that missed seeing MI:Ghost Protocol at the IMAX missed something very special. The scene when Ethan Hunt walks to the edge of the window ledge in the Burj Khalifa, was in all my 48 years on this planet a true breath taking experience, when I then saw it again in boravision 35mm/70mm the scene was totally flat and almost lifeless. Batman was the same, forget the Olympicszzzzz and see this summers true visual experience..The Bfi IMAX Waterloo is without doubt THE best screen (Newly replaced) and sound in Team GB at present, and more importantly I've never in all my visits there been subjected to any of the 'Codes of Conduct' being broken.

  • Comment number 92.

    I saw the Dark Knight Rises in IMAX on the second day it was my first film I had ever seen in IMAX and what a film it was! I have been looking forward to this film for as long as I can remember and the IMAX screening just blow me away. The spectacular sequences genuinely left me breathless, with my jaw wide open for a good 5 minutes. I also went to see it 3 days later in a standard cinema...and I have to say I was fully aware that the IMAX version was considerably better.

    On the subject of Bane's dialogue...both screenings sounded pretty good to me, although there were a couple sentences that were hard to understand at first, but seeing it a second time I was able to decrypt his speech.

  • Comment number 93.

    I went to see on IMAX when it opened but was really disappointed. Having read the comments above about 'proper' IMAX this now makes sense.

    Went to see it again on 35mm and thought it was much better. Though obviously all the same plot/narrative problems hadn't changed. Also after a week or so had sorted out Bain's dialogue problems and he was crystal clear.

  • Comment number 94.

    I saw it in IMAX, Osaka, Japan. Thought it was great, especially when Batman showed up riding the Batpod, "black" was really black, and the scene at night was clear.

    Seeing Prometheus on 3D in pre-showing today(it hasn't come yet in Japan), I didn't enjoy 3D simply because my eyes got strain. My wife said it was dizzying, moreover, it was hard to see both image and subtitles at the same time, which I believe, all of you here would not have.

    I ran into a good piece of article on Dark knight rises and IMAX in NYT/IHT a few weeks ago. Good to see a comparison between IMAX and 35 mm.

  • Comment number 95.

    Loved the film as indeed I did the whole trilogy and this coming from someone who became thoroughly cheesed off with Hollywood flooding the market with endless comic book / super hero films. Saw it in 35mm, really loved it, heard Bane's dialogue fine, and easily the best film so far of 2012. Nolan is the best film maker working today - apparently it took him a YEAR to come up with the story - and therein lies the strength of the movie. Every great movie rests on an even greater script. Recently saw Memento as well for the first time on the strength of this - and underlines what I think of Nolan. Oh, and saw The Lorax last night at my local Odeon, and YOU COULD HEAR THE BATMAN MUSIC PLAYING FROM THE SCREEN NEXT DOOR!

  • Comment number 96.

    Here in Bogotá Colombia its been almost impossible to see the film since its sold out for weeks to come, but I managed to slip into a late night digital projection... I loved the film and the image quality was pretty good, but then I haven't seen the 35mm or imax to compare it... my only real complaint was the constant whirring of the ventilators for the digital projector which made it sound like there was a tropical storm raging outside the cinema... a slight irritation although I still could understand Bane without any problems...

    All in all a visual treat and after squinting uncomfortably all the way through Prometheus in 3D it was nice to see a good old fashioned 2D movie albeit with added rain sound effects.

  • Comment number 97.

    Batman vs. Darth Vader!?

    The image was pretty spectacular in a regular cinema and I had no problems understanding bane. Putting aside my Vader jab I thought Bane was pretty good, not a patch on the Joker though.

    I saw it a few days ago and haven't thought about it that much since. At the same level as Batman Begins I guess. In the future I expect I'll revisit the series by just watching the middle (much like I do with the Matrix by just watching the start). I am getting very annoyed with watching films that have 1950s levels of violence, I mean no blood whatsoever and people breaking each other necks (unshocking) as opposed to being shot (shocking). This makes Bane seem very tame, unlike Joker. Revenge of the Sith was more violent for goodness sake! Of course Lucas is clearly moving from a U to a 12 to rake in the cash (!?) but it would of course be pure cynisism to suggest such a motive for the mesiah Nolan.

    The plot was clever like the Sixth Sense was clever - leave out crucial plot points and then reintroduce them at the end. I got the Robin allusions pretty early on and enjoyed them until it was made tediously explicit.

    The "no rope" solution was so bleeding obvious that when it didn't happen earlier I thought that my summise "the kid didn't use a rope Bruce" may have actually been wrong, until it turned out that it wasn't.

    Thank god it wasn't in 3D because if it was, I probably wouldn't see until Christmas (I'm still looking forward to Prometheus).

  • Comment number 98.

    I saw TDKR in digital, and then IMAX. I preferred the digital. The picture was sharper and the sound clearer. I missed some dialogue in the first screening that I picked up in the second, but that's normal for me. What struck me was how many lines were less clear on second hearing in IMAX. My daughter, however, loved the IMAX scenes. I barely noticed the difference when the scenes went from widescreen to IMAX.

    Oh, and I really enjoyed the film. It was smart (many people I know complaining about plot holes just weren't paying attention) and entertaining. The standard Nolan combination.

  • Comment number 99.

    I've now seen the film six times, (5 times in digital, once in 35mm) and as such I'd like to think at some stage I've been able to full appreciate it, despite there being no IMAX screen near me. I don't see why (Save for it being a dodgy pirated version or something along those lines) the image quality would make that great a difference on what is otherwise the same, wonderfully crafted, experience.

    I had perhaps one scene in which I struggled to understand a Bane monologue first time but my ears tuned into him pretty quickly second time around and must say that I love his voice.

  • Comment number 100.

    35 mm so far. I would like to take the opportunity to say that there were a couple of "lets explain that for the audience" bits... However this, and some gaffer tape narrative can be forgiven.
    Personally I find the music possibly the most essential part of these movies and in many respects I listen more than I watch as it were...


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