THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012)
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
STARRING: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levvitt, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard
GENRE: Drama, Action, Superhero movie
Now to one of THE most anticipated movies of the year, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. And film fans, it has been worth the wait. Get ready for a movie that finishes off one of the best superhero series we have seen in recent years.
Our film begins eight years to the day, since the tragic events that were the end of The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, hiding in Wayne Manor while nursing a broken heart and damaged body.
Gotham seems to be at peace, with the violent criminals locked away with no chance of parole due to the Harvey Dent Act that was introduced. Everyone is at ease… Well almost everyone. Commissioner Jim Gordon is still having to live the lie that Dent was a hero and every year he stands and gives his speech, praising Dent while vilifying Batman. You can see it is taking its toll on him..
But to quote Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle:-
There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.
And boy, when this storm hits in the form of the mercenary Bane, it hits hard. The norm of Gotham city is turned on its head. The rich are stripped of their riches and thrown out on the streets or paraded in front of a judge to be given sentence for the lavish lifestyles. The sheer brutality of watching as people are ripped from their homes, their possessions scattered in the wind is hard to watch, but you can’t take your eyes off the screen. You are hooked by the depravity of it all.
People live in fear as the criminals that were once behind bars are free to roam the streets as the armed forces of Bane. The city now cut off from the outside world, except for one single route that allows food to come in.
And all this time, Batman/Bruce Wayne has been beaten by Bane. Exiled in a far off place after being paralysed by him, only able to watch as his city is brought to its knees. Yet, still he builds himself back up to his former self, not through hope but through anger. Anger that he has allowed himself to become a shadow of what he was. He gets himself out of his prison and back to Gotham. (This is a minor plot hole, but one you accept because he is Bruce Wayne).
When he returns to his city, he prepares for the fight of his life. The chips are stacked against him. Bane has proven to be a more than worthy advesry, yet Wayne still vows to fight for his city, his people. Now this isn’t the big old smack down we saw in The Avengers. It’s a battle of whit and will. Watching the final act is like watching the final battle of some big war. There are numerous casualties. Yet you are still drawn to Batman and Bane. You see the power behind Bane with every punch. He seems unstoppable, till Batman uses his one weakness to overpower him. You think that’s it, game over. No, there is a final twist that fans or those with a decent knowledge would have seen coming. I had a vague idea, but even I thought that Nolan has switched things up a bit. Still the betrayal and shock of who has double-crossed Batman is plain to see in the eyes of our Caped Crusader.
Of course Batman does save the day, after taking the nuclear bomb that Bane was using to hold the city as hostage out to sea….but at a high price. The fact that this is the final film in this trilogy should give you a hint at what the price is. The ending is indeed sad, but even though there is still hope. Hope in the form of….. well go and see the movie to see what I mean.
Though the plotline is sweeping and epic, it would be nothing without the actors who play their respective character so well. They are a credit to Nolan’s writing and more than make up for the errors in previous movies before the Nolan Trilogy.
Christian Bale manages to bring Batman and Bruce full circle. He is an excellent actor and brings out an intensity to both sides of the same man. I was never a huge fan of Bale, though his work has been varied. Yet, I think he will be the actor that all other performances of this character will be held up to. He manages to portray both the man and the myth with such ease that he COULD BE Bruce Wayne.
Watching as both Bale and Michael Cane, as Alfred, on screen is awe-inspiring. Both seem to know how to get the best out of each other. You believe that Alfred is fearful of what will become of the man he thinks of as his son. At the end of the movie, I had a lump in my throat at Caine’s monolog. He has been an excellent Alfred.
Anne Hathaway manages to wash away the sour taste that was left behind after Halle Berry’s turn as Catwoman. She is fantastic in this film; you never know what is going on inside her mind. Nolan has decided to make Selina Kyle the cat burgler from the comics (don’t ask me which age, all I know is that this is one storyline from the comics). What I really liked about this portrayal is the fact you get no backstory. You are given all you need to know about her. She is cat burglar who has a rap sheet as long as your arm. Selina Kyle (who is never mentioned as Catwoman throughout the film) is a survivor, using each and every person in her path to her advantage. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a soul or some sort of regret about her actions, but she does what she has to survive.
It was a great take on the character and Hathaway more than steps up to the plate. While some of the lines could have come across cheesy, Hathaway pulls them off with a dry sarcastic whit. Here’s hoping she gets a spin-off!!!
And now finally onto our main villain of the piece. Bane. Now, it is difficult to top Heath Ledgers portrayal of The Joker. Bane comes slightly close to it. This is partly due to Tom Hardy. He has these intense eyes that seem to burn through the soul. His menacing presence is felt on screen. I do like this actor. There is something about the subtlety in his actions that just chills to the bones. The character of Bane is well suited to him. The restriction of having the ventilator over the lower part of his face means that every emotion has to be through body language and little subtle changes in the eyes. He wants organised chaos. It’s not about creating terror, it is about trying to bring his own order to a city drunk on excess. Yet, we still see a more gentle humane side to Bane at the end of the film. His actions may be flawed, his ideals tainted, but you could see why he did these things. It shows something about this character that is very un-expected.
For a film that is nearly three hours long, it is fantastic. Every scene has purpose, every line is necessary. I came out of the film and was desperate to go back and watch the first two as I wanted to see where it all began. I urge anyone who has seen the first two to go see this movie. You will not be disappointed! It is left to see whether this film will top the success that The Avengers had. In my opinion it has a pretty good shot at it. You know how much of a fan-girl I am with regards to Whedon, but if it does top it, I wouldn’t be upset.