That aside, and those aspects don’t take up very much of the film, Rises features some great action sequences. Though the film is possibly overlong at 165 minutes, it still manages to zip by at a quick pace. Having Bruce Wayne reduced to nothing—physically, mentally, and financially—gives the audience something to root for. We want to see him conquer his demons and we want to see Batman triumphant. Bale does a good job of portraying both sides of the character. He successfully conveys a man who has been beaten but refuses to give up. His series-best performance is backed with engaging performances from Oldman, Hathaway, Freeman, and Gordon-Levitt, all combining to give this film a lot of heart. Hathaway brings a touch fun to her role in an otherwise very serious film.
The visual and audio presentation of this Blu-ray is excellent. The video is presented in a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer with an aspect ratio that alternates between 1.78:1 (for scenes filmed in IMAX) and 2.40:1. The detail is exceptionally strong, with a sharp image. City streets look grimy and realistic. The Dark Knight Rises is not about bright colors, with the exception of the bright yellow shirts and jerseys worn during the football game, but there is a rich fullness to the dark tones that is well represented here. The gray buildings, drab prison, and dank city underground all have realistic textures that enhance the viewing experience. Even in the dimly lit sequences (of which there are many), the definition is good and action easy to see.
As good as the picture looks, the sound is truly outstanding. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track creates a truly immersive aural experience. The opening sequence in the airplane sets things off with a thunderous jolt. The power of the engines can be felt as they rumble through the rear speakers and subwoofer. The bomb detonation scene during the football game fills the speakers with an awesome roar. If anything, the startling strong bass is occasionally overwhelming. Luckily, the quieter moments also shine through, with even hushed tones and quiet background noises easy to hear. Hans Zimmer’s lush score is boldly supportive throughout the mix.
The two-disc Blu-ray set has a good amount of special features, though I was not bowled over by them. Presented in 12 segments (for a total of about 68 minutes), the “Production” section provides information on all aspects of creating the film. The segments detail specific sequences of the film, costumes, weapons, sets, and characters. Another nearly 30-minute section (in three parts) focuses on the characters of Batman, Selina Kyle, and Bane. This provides some interesting information on adapting the comic book character of Bane to Nolan’s vision for the film. Bane was a character Nolan did not initially see as fitting into the more realistic tone of his Dark Knight series.