Release Date: 20th June 2012
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, lTom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard
Running time: 164mins
Since 2005 the cowl has been worn by Christian Bale who has brought to the screen a Batman who, unlike previous iterations, exists within the realms of realism – which was a breath of fresh air for fans who had grown tired of campy sidekicks, neon paint and…*shudders*…rubber nipples! Batman’s’ gadgets are ones that you could imagine actually working, practical use for a cape and Bruce’s own personal demons fleshed out with Bale’s throaty performances, ever clawing beneath the surface.
Previously Nolan has shown us Gotham rife with fear, pulled apart by it’s own duality and now it’s time to end it all, with perhaps the greatest sacrifice – but, has The Dark Knight Rises managed to cement itself as one of the greatest superhero films of all time? Or, will we be itching for a reboot?
Eight years after The Joker caused anarchy across the streets of Gotham, Bruce Wayne (Bale) continues the dark knight’s forced exile and has kept the cape and cowl locked away since the loss of Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent. But now, in a blow that devastates the peaceful city, terrorist Bane (Hardy) emerges with a simple plan: to destroy Gotham City.
Bruce Wayne realises he must return to the mantel, and despite his demolished reputation and now branded as a criminal, Bruce Wayne once again takes up the fight to save Gotham City. Bale returns as our hoarse hero, and gruffness aside Bales performance is the highlight of the trilogy.
Now an old man Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, hiding away in the shadows of his once decadent but now decaying manor, the death of his sweetheart in The Dark Knight has left him without purpose beyond the cowl, however the chime of destruction starts to ring again as skilled thief Selina Kyle (Hathaway) comes into his home to steal more then just his money or jewellery.
In this act she starts a chain reaction that allows the brutal mercenary Bane to strike at the very heart of Gotham, leaving only the caped crusader as the one who stands a chance of stopping him. He’s not alone though, with John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as a newly appointed detective, fighting the chaos unleashed by Bane, alongside Commissioner Gordon (Oldman) they serve as the heroes without gadgets, bat-armour or Tumblers. Blake plays a strong part in the film as an almost pseudo apprentice to both our dark knight and Commissioner Gordon, providing us with a much needed human element.
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman gives a performance that truly shocks! While Hathaway has certainly been able to pull off a set of heels in the past I had doubts about if she would land on her feet with the role. However, within moments of her debut my doubts were laid to rest, Selina Kyle is portrayed as an alluring thief, charming in her execution and clever in her deception. Hathaway manages to capture the essence of the Catwoman comicbook fans have grown to expect whilst adding her own signature to the role. It is truly one of her best performances, with such a complex character that can capture the hearts of the audience but also make the gents watching fearful…Hathaway’s portrayal of such an iconic femme fatal is certainly more of a tigress then a pussycat roaring her way into our heroes heart, but she is so well fleshed out and developed that it’s impossible not to adore her character in this story.
The villain this time is beefed up mercenary Bane (Hardy), and if one thing can be said about him more then anything else, it is that this guy is the most brutal enemy the dark knight has ever faced, yet boasts a charisma that echoes that of the late Heath Ledger’s Joker, words that strike the audience with such force and power that you can’t look away. This is especially true as the movie progresses and Hardy’s Bane faces off in a fist fight against the dark knight, what follows is a sequence of bone crunching punches, as Batman and all his tricks and gadgets fail to even stun Bane who towers over the broken hero as a masked brick house of power and intimidation. In short, Bane is scary, no scratch that terrifying.
After succumbing to a crippling disease in his youth, Bane is now forced to wear a mask that relieves him of crippling pain and an agonizing death. Grim huh? It’s not the super-powered fiend comic fans are used too, but Bane is no less threatening and if anything far more intimidating. Tom Hardy, though masked, steals the show from Bales throaty hero, after all a superhero is only as interesting as his enemies! Hardy’s well-spoken villain is eloquent throughout and whether threatening or complementing a small choir boy; this contrast between well-spoken and fiend is impossible to turn away from!
Free now from the ties of bad versions that have gone before, with awful cameos that were memorable for the wrong reasons, this trilogy will forever be known as a collection of amazing work by Christopher Nolan, but he couldn’t have done it without such a terrific cast that embody the world of Gotham.
This film is superb, from start to finish. This final chapter is long but doesn’t feel dragged out, with astounding performances given from the entire cast – I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but I will say this… The Dark Knight Rises is an amazing ride and shouldn’t be missed!