Batman: The Dark Knight rises Review

Christopher Nolan signs off on his Batman trilogy with some style, leaving the franchise in good shape to continue and not committing the cardinal sin of previous directors by running the enterprise into the ground and in need of a re-imagining.

Having a capable cast is always a bonus. Christian Bale puts in another competent turn as the tortured and traumatized caped crusader, Michael Caine is in superb form and wily turns from Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman further improve the script,  acting as a great counterbalance to the action and effects. Nolan brings in his other heavyweights from Inception; Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Tom Hardy playing the villain Bane. Anne Hathaway also provides a thoughtful Catwoman, without loading the film with far too many heroes and costumed bad guys as previous versions have done.
Dark Knight Rises starts with an action-packed mid-air sky-jacking to introduce the audience to Bane, a sequence that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Bond film showing that Nolan has lost none of his eye for the epic and spectacular. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce is living as a recluse; the physical punishment of his vigilante activities finally taking its toll on his body, and the anguish of losing his love interest in the last film prompting his withdrawal from Gotham society.

Meanwhile, the politicians are basking in the reduced crime rate, and maneuvering to depose Commissioner Gordon, who is wrestling with his conscience over the manhunt for Batman and the cover-up concerning Harvey Dent. With the smarmy Matthew Modine declaring “crime is at an all-time low” you just know something bad is about to happen. Soon the city is rocked by Bane’s quasi-revolutionary tactics, Wayne is lured out of retirement after Catwoman helps herself to his mothers’ jewels at a charity event and the anticipated show-down with Bane and Batman ends with Bruce, physically shattered, left in a subterranean prison to rot whilst bane turns Gotham into a prison island.
Much of the action and the theme of redemption will be familiar to those who’ve seen or played the “Batman: Arkham City”  the game, with Gotham isolated with a nuclear threat and run by criminals and gangs. Nolan ties up the last film with the first in the arc, Bane’s motivations being borne of his association with the League of Assassins and their intention to destroy the wicked and corrupt Gotham, and its self-avowed protector.

At a seat-numbing two and a half hours, the film doesn’t drag, unlike the previous one which got a little too self-absorbed in places and probably suffered in the editing process from Heath Ledger’s untimely demise.  Although it’s rated as a 12A, it does contain a great deal of violence and I was a little nervous watching this with a 13-year-old niece who was physically wincing at some of the fight scenes. Although some post-production work was done with Hardy (whose character, Bane, wears a gas mask throughout the film), much of his dialogue is still incomprehensible against the pounding Zimmer soundtrack and having his face obscured also negates much of his Berkoff-Esque characterization.

There are twists a-plenty, and audiences will need to be sharp to pick up on all of the little foreshadowings that are dropped along the way, but Nolan manages to put both the characters and audience through the emotional wringer and still manage to tick off the in-joke nods to the series without compromising the integrity of the film. It’s a serious investment in time for a film, but a good way to complete the series and a satisfying conclusion to the Dark Knight’s story.

And, of course, lays open the possibility for another set of films to be made. He’d never have been allowed back into Hollywood if he’d left that part out.

Bruce Wayne shows that being a superhero clearly isn’t for everyone, but if you want to fight crime or simply recreate some of the costumes looks, why not try out one of the superhero fancy dress costumes at Ace?
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