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Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review

It's taken what seems like forever, but the The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga, is finally here. Does it amount to all the hype? Is it the great ending we all hoped for in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy? Read On!

----------------------------Spoiler's Alert!----------------------------------

It's been eight years since Harvey Dent died, and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) hasn't wore the cape and cowl ever since he took the fall for Harvey "Two-Face" Dent's crimes. Here, Nolan shows us an older Bruce, who has retreated into Wayne Manor, now a recluse who needs a cane due to all his injuries sustained as Batman.

However, two people will draw Batman out of his retirement: cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Tom Hardy), a masked terrorist with a brutal plan for punishing Gotham City, and anyone who dares to stand in his way.
The lessons Bruce must learn in TDKR mirror those he faced in Begins (“Why do we fall, Bruce?”), but he’s not a vengeful young man anymore, he’s approaching middle age and, as Alfred (Michael Caine) reminds him, he isn’t living his life. He’s simply alive. He’s not moving on from the pain he’s experienced.

Alfred reminds him how lovely Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) is, hoping that romance and perhaps even a family of his own someday could help him become the man his parents would have wanted rather than the terrifying symbol that his scared the crooks of Gotham.

Bale gives his finest performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman in TDKR, and it's a honour to watch him bring to life the most fully-formed, multifarious screen superhero to date. Returning to help both Bruce Wayne and Batman are Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), with Alfred being a particularly sincere and poignant fixture this time out, with some truly heartbreaking scenes.

Again playing a somewhat understated performance as the character, Gary Oldman’s Gordon is a man reaching the up-most breaking points of living with the secret truth about Harvey
Dent, but he finds in Gordon-Levitt’s Officer Blake the sort of hopeful and honest cop he probably used to be himself. As Blake, Gordon-Levitt is carefully crafted and well played, but not everyone may buy his inconsistent East Coast accent and tough, streetwise manner, but Levvit does a good job overall, with Nolan delivering an interesting twist surrounding Blake.

The first question many will ask, is if TDKR is better than Batman Begins and/or The Dark Knight. Truthfully, it's a mixture of both. Those of you who prefer Batman Begins to TDK will find much to love about TDKR, whilst, even though Tom Hardy is terrific as Bane (more to follow), Bane as a character just isn't as interesting as The Joker, so those who loved TDK will feel a little disheartened. But that's not to say you wont love TDKR, because no matter what; you will.

As stated above, Hardy's interpretation as Bane is phenomenal. As a figure, he's utterly menacing. A massive brute of a man, Hardy gained 30 pounds (14 kg) for the role, increasing his weight to 198 pounds (90 kg), and it shows. Bane is known for his sheer size, and Hardy has done the character proud. But it's not just the size of his muscles that impress, forced to wear the mask throughout the film, Hardy is only really able to act with his eyes and hands, and he does a stellar job. Piercing glares and anger shine through his eyes, whilst his arm movements, even ones as simple as clutching his coat whilst he talks act more than some actors do with their whole body. The voice he uses (which include a mixture of English, Caribbean heritage, and Bartley Gorman) is deliciously scary, whilst also bringing an element of sophistication to the character. Casting aside the obvious changes to the comic book version of Bane, this is a villain the Batman has never seen the likes of before. And it works.

Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) is a welcome edition to the series, and Hathaway does a good job of mixing sly humor, the sexiness and the fighting prowess of the much loved comic character. Although neither Hardy or Hathaway give the same level of performance of that of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker in TDK, both characters are impressively portrayed in their own right.

For a nearly three-hour-long movie, The Dark Knight Rises clips along at a reasonable pace although sometimes it might have been nice for the film to pause long enough to let a few important dramatic moments have that extra beat to resonate.

The film does have several exciting action set-pieces, many of which utilize the new aerial vehicle The Bat, but none of which provoke the kind of jaw-dropping reaction that the truck flip did in The Dark Knight. Whilst the fight scenes between Batman and Bane are excellent, really showing the kind of foe Bane is to Batman; almost unstoppable.

Christopher Nolan and his team have delivered the grandest and most emotional chapter in their Batman saga with The Dark Knight Rises, and it is a fitting emotional and narrative conclusion to this particular interpretation of the legend of Batman, I just wish it wasn't ending.

  • Release Date:
  • US (wide): July 20, 2012
  • Genre: Super-Hero,  Action, Adventure
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Production Company: Legendary Pictures
  • Language: English
For more on Batman: The Dark Knight, KAPOW! this this link right here. 

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