An atomic threat, A flying missile-firing vehicle, the president calling for calm.
This is superhero movie on steriods- one of the villains literally is on steroids. A film with the grandest scale, but also possibly some of the most intimate moments featured in a film about a guy who wears a bat suit.
The Dark Knight Rises is a briilliant conclusion to a game-changing trilogy, if -at times- a bit unsure of which point it is trying to make.
It’s been 8 years since Batman (Christian Bale) has been seen in Gotham. After the events of ‘The Dark Knight’ he is ostrasiced and wanted for a murder he didn’t commit (as the age old cliché goes). Bruce Wayne, the man behind the mask- now without his mask- is lacking drive, pulling a Howard Hughes and retreating hermit-like to his palatial manor.
Events conspire to prevent him from keeping this level of solitude up for much longer and suffice to say with some pulling, and a lot of pushing, The Caped Crusader returns. However, not straight away. It is a long time into the film (half an hour at my timing, roughly) before we see Batman in action. This could be seen as dragging, but it builds anticipation quite nicely, and when he’s revealed for the first time, its hard for the fan-boy within not too shiver with excitement.
The villains are almost too numerous to mention, indeed to mention them all would be spoil-sporting on my behalf. Bane (Tom Hardy) is the standout headliner, driving the films plot along. Terrorising, mesmorising and- for me- oddly charming; What Hardy can do with his eyes many actors couldn’t convey with their entire body. At times his motives seemed blurred, but at the resolution be assured, all is clear.
The heart and soul of the film rests on the performances of Michael Caine as Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred and Anne Hathaway as ‘Cat Burgular’ Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. I don’t want to delve to much here as these performances speak for themselves on screen; but I can safely say Hathaway’s ‘Cat’ is a new incarnation altogether and Caine’s Alfred reaches emotional heights never seen in a superhero film.
This is a film ripped from todays headlines, it’s not subtle and it doesn’t have to be- this reality calls for the obtuse. Many people are going to debate what exactly this film is trying to say about society, especially politically, but for me it’s not trying to say anything about one side more than the other. It merely presents the extremes from every aspect. Extremes can’t co-exisit, yet we don’t (currently) live in world where the only views are extreme. Please forgive me for this amateur analysis.
Technically, every ascpect is exemplary. Christopher Nolan’s Direction is habitually impeccable. The stand-outs are the Cinematography and the Score. Cinematographer Wally Pfister has created a Gotham that is eerie, beautiful and a character in it’s own right. Hans Zimmer’s score is an instant cinematic icon and sets the tone perfectly.
The conclusion is best kept completely secret but I do have a few comments to make. This is the only part of the film that slightly fell apart to me. It set a few pointless things up and moved just that little bit too quickly (yes even after almost three hours). Ulimately these critiques do not take away from the film as a whole as there are things I really loved about the ending.
The Dark Knight Rises attempts to achieve many goals, a social commentary, a fitting conclusion to a beloved trilogy and (most inportantly) all the while still be an entertaining action movie. It achieves nintey-nine percent of it’s objectives, and the other one percent, well, you know what? There’s enough ‘one percent’ bashing in the film itself for me to forgive this one.
Rating: Five stars
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