The Dark Knight Rises Review

The Plot

8 Years after Batman took the blame for the crimes of ‘Two-face’ Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne is a broken man, in reclusive retirement from costume clad crime fighting. The threat of a deadly new foe, the muscle-bound terrorist Bane, forces him to once again become the caped crusader and fight to save Gotham City. As always he has the support of loyal butler Alfred, gadget master Lucius Fox and Police Commissioner Gordon. The third and final instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga also introduces idealistic young detective John  Blake and Selina Kyle – Batman’s morally ambiguous adversary/ally Catwoman.

The Good

The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting end to Director Christopher Nolan’s remarkable Batman saga, which has given on of the oldest and most iconic comicbook heroes an astonishing rejuvenation. Once again the film broods with well-crafted dark tones, propelled by yet another magnificent soundtrack from genius composer Hans Zimmer.

The film’s opening aerial sequence is a breath-taking statement of intent that easily matches the brilliance of The Dark Knight’s daring bank heist opening. Nolan was determined to push practical effects to the limit to ensure that The Dark Knight Rises was consistently and satisfyingly spectacular. Adding the infamous flying bat-mobile ‘The Bat’ to Batman’s arsenal of new gadgets certainly helped him achieve that aim.

New villain Bane has a powerfully imposing presence thanks to Tom Hardy’s impressively sinister physical performance. Bane provides a brutally violent threat unlike anything Christian Bale’s Batman has faced in his previous adventures. Hardy’s hulking physique is complemented well by a mask clad vocal performance that sounds like a creepy cross between Sean Connery and Darth Vader.

In sharp contrast, Anne Hathaway’s smoldering performance as cat burglar Selina Kyle is far more pleasing on both the ears and eyes. Fan concerns about whether the young actress could handle the iconic role seem to have melted away the instant she emerged on screen in knife-edged heels and a skin tight catsuit.

Christian Bale puts in another solid performance as a world weary Bruce Wayne, while Joseph Gordon Levitt manages to keep his earnest young character likeable thanks to all his usual charms. His performance was always going to attract fan scrutiny amid rumors he might play a bigger role in any future Batman films. Thankfully he stands up pretty well to the inevitable attention.

As always Nolan’s supporting cast littered with the likes of Gary Oldman, Sire Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman ensures that whatever the plot or dialogue is it’s always handled with a certain air of class.

The Bad

Living up to the unprecedented burden of hype and expectation was an inevitably impossible task for the final chapter of Nolan’s Batman saga. The Dark Knight set such an intimidatingly high standard, thanks in large part to an instantly iconic performance by Heath Ledger as Batman’s maniacal nemesis The Joker. The tragic loss of the Oscar winning young actor robbed The Dark knight Rises of its most tantalizing prospect, the Joker’s return.

Even avoiding unhelpful companies to its acclaimed predecessor The Dark knight Rises does fall short of the unquestionable perfection fan optimistically expected. After an explosive start the film proceeds at a fairly casual pace, leading to a lengthy run time approaching three hours. By the time the film reaches it action packed conclusion audiences might be busy fighting fatigue.

While all the new characters and elements successful entertain and add value to Nolan’s rich Gotham universe, sadly it is Batman himself who becomes the weakest link. Watching Bruce Wayne wallow in self-pity and battle apathy is a little less exhilarating than seeing him battling a clown faced psychopath. Though to be fair by the end both Bruce and the audiences have remembered why they love the caped crusader.

The Ugly Truth

The Dark Knight Rises stands alongside and towers above most summer blockbusters. Christopher Nolan delivers a fitting final chapter that draws a satisfying close to Bruce Wayne’s epic struggle to save Gotham; whilst leaving the door open to new adventures and a next generation of Batman films. It can’t surpass The Dark Knight, but it equals as much as any realistic fans could have ever expected it would

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