Aug 152012

The Dark Knight Rises


Becca dons her cape to cover the latest release in what has become the summer of the superhero…

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy comes to an end (of sorts!) in this epic conclusion.

Eight years have passed since the pivotal escapades of The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has gone into hiding, nursing a limp and a broken heart, after the untimely death of his beloved, Rachel in the previous film. Gotham isn’t missing Batman, however. The police still believe him to be the bad guy, after taking the blame for kidnapping Commissioner Gordon’s son, and not Two-Face. This in turn made Dent look like the real hero, as he went on to help the police hunt down and imprison all of Gotham’s worst criminals, before he too was killed.

Except he didn’t quite catch all of the criminals. Bane, an intelligent, mutilated terrorist with incredible strength, is threatening to overwhelm Gotham city, and it looks like only the Batman and his ridiculous voice can save it. However, he is not alone. Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway), an acclaimed cat burglar with all the killer one-liners is on hand to help…but only if there is something in it for her if she does.

Bruce Wayne is a broken man, something which Bale portrays quietly and delicately. There is a particular moment (that I will go into more detail in a minute) between him and his long-suffering butler, Alfred where he truly shows his pain over Rachel. He does not shout, and he does not cry, but in no more than a mumble do you see the full extent of his heart ache.

Meanwhile, Hathaway’s performance blows Michelle Pfeiffer’s (from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns) completely out of the water. That leather outfit has been exchanged for something a little more demure, but nonetheless, still sexy enough to catch male attention. I say she has all the great one-liners, but in conversation with Bruce, it looks like she’s has met her match.

“My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men,” she murmurs, unknowingly buckling up for a ride in Batman’s new helicopter.

“This isn’t a car,” he smiles.

Hathaway’s character enjoys toying with men, playing with their apparently built-in instinct to be chivalrous, which often leaves them wishing they hadn’t, or completely unaware that she was the one behind the trouble, while she plays the pitiful damsel in distress. To the police, she is a criminal, but to the audience, we see her as one of the good guys (despite stealing Wayne’s mother’s pearl necklace), and you actually find yourself missing her presence when she is not on screen.

The same also applies to Bane, in a strange way. When he speaks, there is an intelligence there which goes against his brute strength and impossible size, compared to the Bane seen in – dare I say it – Batman and Robin (shudder). Unlike the Joker, there is more of a method to his madness than simply provoking the Batman into unmasking himself. Heck, if Bane wanted to do that, he’d just beat him to pulp. And he does, whilst fighting against the greed of the rich people in Gotham, the police…and the American obsession with their football.

Tom Hardy has come along way from playing the supporting actor from Nolan’s enigma of a film, Inception, and despite a huge chunk of metal obscuring most of his face, he proves to be an incredibly competent actor (though it is a little difficult to understand what he is saying sometimes).

Yet it is Michael Cane (The Italian Job), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, 50/50) that stood out for me overall. Cane has, of course, appeared in all of Nolan’s Batman films so far, and though I have enjoyed seeing him on the screen each time, with Alfred’s rather dead-pan sense of humour, he was overshadowed by Bale. This time, however, the tables have turned. As aforementioned, the moment where Alfred and Bruce talk about Rachel is a terribly sad. In his speech, you really do see the pain Alfred goes through every time the Batman makes an appearance, enough so that he holds back tears; I must admit I got a little teary myself. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Blake, the ‘rookie’ police officer who strikes up an immediate rapport with Bruce Wayne: they are both orphans, and they were both angry about it as kids, but the difference with Blake, is that he is more of an ordinary hero; he doesn’t need to wear a mask or put on a stupid voice to save the day and evacuate the city…

But as much as I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises, I do have my criticisms. New character Miranda (played with quiet grace by Inception’s Marion Cotillard), pops up out of nowhere, and suddenly – oh, she and Bruce Wayne are in love. It doesn’t seem at all realistic, even if she is pretty.

My only other criticism is that I won’t be able to watch it for the first time again…