Dark Knight Rises
If you’ve turned on a TV, opened a web browser or even spoken to anyone in the past year you’d be well aware that “A Storm is Coming”
As Selina Kyle (portrayed by Anne Hathaway) so rightly put it.
The Dark Knight Rises stands as the final bookend to what many are proclaiming is the definitive Dark Knight Trilogy. Although I have my dismays with the second film, we’ll leave that opinion to another day and agree that Christopher Nolan’s take on the caped crusader really is a definitive Dark Knight story, but that’s the problem, it’s not a Batman story it’s a trilogy of films surrounding the darker tales of Gotham City with a masked playboy billionaire thrown in for good measure.
To comment so rightly on the purpose of these movies I stand behind myself when I say that for a Batman Story you don’t really learn all that much about the protagonist vigilante. Nolan’s series focuses more on the villains of Gotham with his unique yet dark way of storytelling. From the psychopathic Scarecrow & vengeful Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins, to the sadistic Joker and now the fantastically obscure yet anarchic Bane, Nolan has perfectly crafted a modern universe full of some of Gotham’s more realistic foes.
Now this gets me back to my original point… The Dark Knight Rises, the films opens with an elaborate high scale aerial manoeuvre that really shows off the audacity of Gotham City’s newest masked villain named Bane (Tom Hardy) who wants to capture a nuclear power source designed by Bruce Wayne’s corporation to hold Gotham for ransom with his gang of brutal mercenaries. The Scene is a terrific throwback to the old James Bond style of over the top cinematography.
Many are going to compare Hardy’s performance to that of Heath Ledgers “questionably” iconic Joker and whilst Hardy probably isn’t going to win any Oscars I feel that his performance brings more weight to the DC Universe than Ledgers, I’m not hating on Ledger (I’ll do that privately) but Hardy’s performance as Bane who has the appearance of a heavyweight wrestler with a comic twist seems a more formidable enemy for a broken Bruce Wayne.
Now this is where my problems with the movie come in… I have some stirring issues with the way Bane and his gang of henchmen are introduced and treated in Gotham City, Did the police force of Gotham really believe that the decline in street crime resulted from the Dent Act… seriously street thugs and criminals dont turn over a new leaf overnight… i find it hard to believe such a magnitude of crime was sitting under Gotham City for so long and nobody noticed.
Not to mention the fact that an enormous battle between an army of well armed criminals and police turns into a lacklustre street brawl.
Without spoiling the movie, The mysterious twist (as i heard it called walking out of my session) was predictable to anyone with a slight level of Batman knowledge however im quite glad they’ve managed to keep references to a certain (believed to be minor) character out of the mainstream advertising, as it would have given the real plot away to any Batman fan in an instant.
My main problem however lies with the truly unnecessary link between our newest foe and his mentor as well as their unimaginative purpose in Gotham City to finish what the Legion of Shadows had started in the original film Batman Begins. The retelling of the backstory of the Legion makes the middle of the story seem like it drags throughout the near three hours the film takes to hit its Cinematic Prestige. Not to mention theres a few nitpicky things i hated but they’d give away major spoilers so i cant reveal that here.
Small non story ruining spoiler alert: (Liam Neeson even dials in a small performance at one point that was clearly only intended to pick up a pay check from Warner Bros)
To sum it up my negatives of this movie mostly lie within the new characters lack of heart, backstory and intention( Batman Begins had Ra’s Al Ghul wanting to destroy the rich and the Scarecrow wanting to feed his insanity, Dark Knight gave us the Joker who wanted anarchy and Two Face who wanted the world to see the good and the bad sides of the coin, What does DKR give us? Well we get a Selina Kyle (not Catwoman) with unclear intentions and Bane, who after the finale seems like just another Pawn in the Chess Game that is Gotham City. The biggest disappointment was the drag of the time when Gotham is under seige… i could tell alot of people in my screening were wiggling around and getting uncomfortable which is never a good thing.
The positives however were the acting, ( Taking away Christian Bale who once again dials in an underwhelming brood) I have to give props to Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, even though she doesn’t rightly take up the mantle place of Catwoman in this movie, her performance is a crown jewel, which not only rivals but even makes one forget Michelle Pfeiffers iconic take of Gotham’s notorious cat burglar in Batman Returns.
The other well deserving thumbs up goes to Michael Caine who forever is and always will be the perfect Alfred.
The film is full of typical Nolan charm which includes, as you’ve probably seen in the trailers, a few scenes of absolute destruction of Gotham City which are very similar to the most ingenious of Nolans other cinematic masterpiece “Inception.” If you’re a fan of cinematic blockbusters then you are going to love this film, Nolan knows how to make a good blockbuster and boy does he take advantage of that factor. I will say this flat out: fans of Batman Begins intricate details will love and adore this true sequel, those that prefer the Dark Knights steady flow will never be able to hold it up to the torch that was lit before it.
However in saying that every piece of cinematic greatness must come to an end ,even if it be it a difficult, controversial and even daring end. To quote one of Nolan’s own past works: That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.
When it’s all said and done Nolan has achieved in his final act of the Dark Knight Trilogy what many would dream, cinematic utopia. The Dark Knight Rises will see you laugh, maybe even cry and when the final curtain closes you’re going to be left with a lasting impression that will surely make you not forget this take on the Caped Crusader any time soon.
I Give the Dark Knight Rises 3.5/5 Lego Batmans
Post Credits Scene: None