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Is The Dark Knight Rises Right for Your Grandkids?

A Hero’sBattle: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

By:  Ranny Levy – Founder and President of Kids First!

“The true test of a hero is to be able to face your darkest fears and rise above,” says KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Julianna Noone, age 12, in a very perceptive opening to her review of The Dark Knight Rises. This thought underlies much of the storyline of this final film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, and may sustain it in real life as it moves past the undeniably tragic occurrence that marked its opening weekend. We at KIDS FIRST! extend heartfelt condolences to all the families touched by the shooting inAurora. As much as it gives one pause before stepping inside a theater with our grandchild, we realize that this type of random act of violence is just that. It’s unlikely that we will ever understand the motivation behind such an act and, as much as we are all horrified, I hope it won’t affect your ability to enjoy public spaces.

As an artistic accomplishment, The Dark Knight Rises offers some highly entertaining treats of its predecessors (such as Michael Caine’s, Alfred) and new delights, such as “Bat,” a gadget Julianna describes in her review below.


KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Raven Devanney, age 15, shares her review on video as well.(See her full review on video.)


The Dark Knight Rises
Reviewed by Julianna Noone
(See her full review on video.)

The true test of a hero is to be able to face your darkest fears and rise above. Christopher Nolan’s film, The Dark Knight Rises, begins eight years after the last film, with Batman hiding from the police and Bruce Wayne hiding from life. Christian Bale continues in the dual role as Bruce Wayne/Batman and does a tremendous job in the role.

In this last film of Nolan’s trilogy,GothamCity’s rich are prospering in the post-Harvey Dent era. Little does anyone realize that a storm is coming, in the form of the ruthless terrorist Bane, played brilliantly by Tom Hardy. Throw in a beautiful cat burglar, Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman), played by Anne Hathaway, a modern-day, female Robin Hood who steals from the rich to give to the poor, and soon enough, darkness falls overGothamCity. The question is, will Batman return to saveGotham? And better yet, if he does, is there any chance he can stop Bane, the physically superior and heartless monster who unleashes his fury uponGotham?

There is a great ensemble cast in this film, starting with Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as rookie policeman Officer Blake, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred, amongst others. My favorite character is Selina Kyle/Catwoman because, though she is a cat burglar, she only steals from the rich who can spare to give up some of their wealth. She also is very capable of taking care of herself and isn’t afraid of anyone.

My favorite scene in The Dark Knight Rises is one of the climactic scenes in the film, where Catwoman tells Batman that she will help him open the tunnel to allow the City’s residents to escape but that she is not staying to help further and believes he shouldn’t either. She shows her true colors by coming back to save Batman from Bane, and helps him fight to save the city.

The cinematography is fantastic, from the opening scene where Bane hijacks a plane and escapes in mid-air to the fight scenes that were shot on Wall Street in downtown NYC. The CGI is amazing. How they made the football stadium field implode and the shots of the bridges being blown — they are so realistic it is a bit frightening. In all three films, they have had the best gadgets for Batman to use, and in this film, they didn’t let us down. They created a cross between a car, a helicopter and a plane that could basically do anything. They call it “Bat.” It’s a great addition to Batman’s gadgets. The musical score by Hans Zimmer is so well done, it adds to the intensity of the critical moments of the film.

Overall, I rate The Dark Knight Rises 4 out of 5 stars, as there are many new characters that spread out the storyline and make the film a bit long. Plus terrorist threats, which are eerily similar to many real-life threats today, make for a chilling storyline. Don’t get me wrong, though — I love this film. The violence makes the film appropriate for ages 13 to adult. It’s a great ending to a great trilogy … or is it?

Look for The Dark Knight Rises in theaters and IMAX everywhere. And remember, it doesn’t matter who you are, a true hero can be anyone … it starts with a simple act of kindness.

KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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