Batman Begins was – after the risible Batman Forever and Batman & Robin – a shot in the arm for the Batman movie franchise and the superhero film genre. Director Christopher Nolan together with writers Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer presented Batman in a more realistic and darker tone. Batman Begins was a critical and commercial success and paved the way for the even greater things to come.
The phenomenal success of The Dark Knight took almost everyone by surprise and grossed over $1 billion worldwide. Suddenly, this comic book superhero had gone supernova and much of this appeal drew from Nolan’s deliberate attempt to make Batman as realistic as possible. This (and the late Heath Ledger’s memorable performance as The Joker) resonated with audiences and expectations were naturally high for the final installment of the trilogy – The Dark Knight Rises.
With that much pressure exerted on Nolan and everyone else connected with the movie, would The Dark Knight Rises be able to meet such lofty expectations? I am glad to report that the answer is a resounding ‘YES’ and much more. Taking much of its cues from Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises is a story about redemption, a commentary on the state of the world (especially the Occupy movement) and a motivational tale about falling and rising again (and more).
Clocking in at a hefty 165 minutes, there is never a moment in the film where you feel its prolix length as Nolan paces the plot superbly and gives the characters time and space to breathe in. Christian Bale once again defines Batman/Bruce Wayne as the haunted, flawed (angry) protector of Gotham City. Aiding him for the third film running, we have reliable returning performances from Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Gary Oldman (James Gordon) whilst the newbies, Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Blake) pull their weight admirably.
And what about the villain of the piece – Bane (Tom Hardy)? Bane came across as a fearsome adversary but there were serious problems with that mask of his. One would expect Bane’s voice to be muffled but in the film, it was strangely amplified, which stretched credibility somewhat. At times, despite this it was difficult to make out what Bane was saying. Credit to Tom Hardy for emoting as best he could when all he had were his brow and eyes.
Suffice to say there are twists and turns along the way and I will not discuss them with you this time around for fear of spoiling your fun! Needless to say that The Dark Knight Rises is a must-watch movie and I will leave my comments on the spoiler-ish aspects when the Blu-Ray/DVD is released. I will say this – The Dark Knight Rises is the fitting ending for this awesome Batman trilogy and taken together is as good as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Surely, a Best Picture Oscar must be on the cards.