Review: The Dark Knight Rises Was The Finale That Gotham Deserved
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 July 2012 04:55 Written by JCWaitWat Friday, 20 July 2012 04:20
The build up to The Dark Knight Rises hailed it as an epic that could possibly dethrone The Avengers as this years top film, as well as this years top comicbook-to-film adaptation. The Dark Knight must return from his reclusive life in the halls of Wayne Manor to face an enemy that outdoes him in terms of both strength and intelligence- Bane. Batman must stop Bane from raising the city of Gotham while fighting his inner demons that have plagued him as well as dealing with his dark past, which has finally caught up with him. Does The Dark Knight Rises do justice for The Caped Crusader? Hit the break for the fullspoiler free review.
Christian Bale returns as Batman in what appears to the final instalment in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight, Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne has withdrawn from society leaving the running of Wayne Enterprises to the board. However events are set in motion that urgently warrant the return of the Caped Crusader- namely the arrival of Bane. Bale continues to play Batman and Bruce Wayne with the consistency that he has done for the last two films. However, the minor things such as the walking stick or slowed reactions remind us that Bruce Wayne is an older, weaker man making his upcoming challenge seem more suicidal than noble. Neverless Bale does continues to give an admirable performance of one of comic book’s most known heroes.
The Dark Knight Rises is the first of the Nolan trilogy to feature, what is in essence, a sidekick in the form Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. Played by Anne Hathaway, many were sceptical of this casting, but Hathaway went beyond any preconception I had of her as Catwoman. She was everything Catwoman needed to be- sassy, nimble and highly seductive. Hathaway’s Catwoman was highly reminiscent of the Catwoman that appeared in Batman: Arkham City, full of playfulness and the questionable romance between her and Batman. Undoubtedly the bar was not set very high after Halle Berry’s abysmal performance in the 2004 quasi-spin off Catwoman film, but Hathaway was definitely one of the many hidden gems of Nolan’s finale.
Given the superb portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight by Heath Ledger, any villain to follow in his footsteps would have to very large feet, but it seems that Tom Hardy as Bane fitted perfectly. Bane is a villain that Batman has never faced before, both stronger and intellectually superior. Bane’s face is mostly covered by a mask, the reason why it is worn is explained during the film, but despite the loss of ability to convey facial expression what Tom Hardy can do with his eyes is enough to make the hardest man quiver. Bane is brutal, calculated and ruthless but is not the only villain Batman faces during The Dark Knight Rises. There is one in the shadows, hiding in plain sight. The original complaints that Bane could not be understood have been rectified so that you can hear every terrifying thing Bane has to say.
However Batman would be nothing without his entourage of wisdom parting elderly men. First and foremost, Alfred ,as played by Michael Caine, who delivers several very emotional speeches that remind you that Batman isn’t all about the action and utility belt. His last, towards the end of the film, had many in theatre reaching for a tissue. As for Commissioner Jim Gordon, Gary Oldman features significantly more in the finale than he has in other films, taking centre stage when Gotham becomes ground zero for a revolution while the secret of Harvey Dent’s death eats away at him. And of course Morgan Freeman remains as Lucius Fox and while he does feature often in the film the impressive new additions to Batman’s arsenal make sure you’re glad he is still around. These three characters all ensure that this finale maintains the strong emotional engagement that has been present in the other Nolan Batman films.
One of the new characters to appear in The Dark Knight Rises is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Blake, a GCPD officer who still sees some good in Gotham City. Blake is promoted to detective by Gordon and aids him in trying to stop Bane. While his role is not particularly huge Blake nudges Wayne into returning as Batman. However the most exciting aspect about Blake’s character is his actual name which is revealed towards the end of the film.
The story as a whole features many references to the previous two films as well as nods to other DC characters (bonus points if you pick up on the Killer Croc reference and spot Scarecrow at court). This helps to tie up the trilogy, making sure it doesn’t feel like just-another-comic-book-film, with plenty of reminders of why Batman keeps on fighting. While the film has plenty of subtle hints and references, none are more surprising than the major plot twist which left myself and many other audience members open mouthed with a mixture of excitement and disbelief. If you can’t enjoy The Dark Knight Rises for its special effects or beautifully crafted score then at least see it for the twist.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has come to a roaring conclusion that ought to leave the majority of fans content with its clever but somewhat passive ending. While it is shame that Nolan seems to be hanging up the mask and cape, his finale is sure to set the bar high for any future comic book films or those who dare to try and raise the Batman again.