Director Christopher Nolan releases his conclusion to the Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises. But can this offering possibly be worth the long-running hype and attention that this movie has garnered, or is this just another comic book movie that is a near miss? In this case, ‘the storm’ has arrived.
Our story opens to the mayor and Commissioner Gordon, the latter played again by Gary Oldman, celebrating the newly dubbed “Harvey Dent Day.” Eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight, and Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale, has effectively resigned the mantle of the bat and become a recluse. As a result of the Dent Act, nearly all remnants of organized crime have been taken off the streets of Gotham, leaving a town at peace. Enter Bane.
Having engineered a daring kidnapping of a nuclear physicist from the CIA, he makes his way to Gotham where he immediately creates a formidable army out of mercenaries and some unemployed and orphaned residents of the city. As a result, the movie takes on a distinct motif of class warfare as literally the underground of society rises up in revolution to overthrow the existing regime with firearms and even a kangaroo court; with Bane pulling the strings.
Nolan took great care to ensure that Bane’s character, portrayed almost unrecognizably by Tom Hardy, makes for a more chilling and powerful presence than the virtually mute incarnation in the Batman and Robin film. However, the voice modification that comes as a result of his faceplate is completely grating. At times, he has an accent and others he doesn’t, and with a high-pitched Darth Vader quality echo, it can become at times irritating. Aside from Bane’s speech impediments, each and every character in the movie gave a completely riveting performance.
Hardy takes center stage every time he comes on screen as a physically overbearing criminal mastermind. Anne Hathaway does an amazing job as the feisty and sultry yet still physically formidable cat burglar known as Selena Kyle. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s first soiree into the trilogy is well received as he played the street wise and capable cop John Drake. However, Michael Caine steals the movie as Alfred Pennyworth. The Wayne family’s loyal butler delivers some of the most memorable lines of dialogue in the film before making an untimely and unanticipated departure.
The music in the film is completely superb. Hans Zimmer does a fantastic job of creating a perfect amount of tension and storytelling. Each song builds upon the scenes perfectly. There was little improvement that could have been made over The Dark Knight for its score, but he did just that.
Visually speaking, the film took some giant leaps forward for Nolan. Up until this point, a majority of the franchise has used virtually no computer generated images or any significant special effects. However, with the grand scale, he seamlessly pieces together all of the different cities to make them look like one grand set. The scene in the football stadium is done particularly well as the power hungry soon to be warlord of Gotham gives his address shortly after the entire field is swallowed into the Earth. The street battle scenes are very well done as Batman’s aircraft hovers effortlessly and seamlessly through the skyscrapers of the city, taking out and dodging bad guys at will.
The Dark Knight Rises is a completely fitting ending to Christopher Nolan’s powerhouse trilogy. The entire time that he has been at the helm, Nolan has been sure to keep this as the story of Bruce Wayne and his relationships with the characters around him. Here we follow Batman come out of retirement, face his single greatest defeat at the hands of Bane, and his redemption as he will do whatever is necessary to save the people of Gotham; becoming the hero that the city so sorely deserves.
And, although there aren’t going to be any definitive spoilers here, rest assured that once the credits roll, there will be little doubt that this indeed is the conclusion. It is an amazing ride that will be sure to please both fans of the comic books and the franchise thus far alike. Moreover, with a PG-13 rating, there is no need to hide the kids!