Movie Review | The Dark Knight Rises
When British director Christopher Nolan took on the reigns to give his own authoritative take on the Batman series with Batman Begins, then follow it up with the equally anticipated sequel The Dark Knight, who knew Nolan would follow those classics with the definitive swan song, The Dark Knight Rises. Sequels rarely surpass the original but the third in the trilogy has proven to be the most thrilling, hard-nosed, exhausting and undoubtedly brilliant follow-up to one of the best superhero sagas ever put on film.
From the opening scene, Nolan sets the tone with a thrilling, James Bond-inspired escape set-piece which introduces us to Bane (Tom Hardy), a mercenary who has arrived in Gotham with the intention of razing it literally and economically. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), 8 years after his self-imposed exile of Batman, is a shell of his former self; reclusive and rarely catching the eye of anyone but his butler Alfred. As Wayne ponders coming out of retirement, a local thief, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), provides a link to Gotham’s new foe.
Following Heath Ledger’s Joker is a thankless task, yet Hardy throws down the gauntlet with gusto. Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle, never referred to as Catwoman incidentally, plays her character with both the sexy playfulness and frenetic athleticism that has made her at times Batman’s foe and his ally. Surprisingly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake, an idealistic young beat cop who believes in the process of justice, is an impressive physical specimen despite his small stature.
Morgan Freeman’s Lucious Fox is as reliable as ever and Gary Oldman as the beleaguered Commisioner Gordon, is at his most complex and conflicted. However, Michael Caine’s Alfred and Bale are easily the most praiseworthy, for their chemistry as performers.
The Dark Knight Rises is a thematically rich crime saga the likes of which are rarely seen. Christopher Nolan has crafted a dense, dizzying spectacle; he again takes the comic book in another direction here, to a much darker place. There are no easy answers to Gotham’s problem, and much is left up in the air once it’s all said and done, but importantly, Nolan gives us the best ending that could have been imagined. The Dark Knight Rises is easily the film to watch in the summer of 2012!