Book Review: The Dark Knight Rises / Author: Greg Cox / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now
The official novelisation of The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, is written by Greg Cox. Greg Cox’s bibliography makes him the ideal candidate for adapting the script into a novel having adapted previous film scripts such as Daredevil, Ghost Rider and the Underworld series. Also, having seen the film myself, I am always intrigued by how faithful novel adaptations are of original films or whether they include elements that never made it into the final cut of the film. So without further delay, let’s see what we’ve got (keeping it as spoiler free as possible of course!)...
The Dark Knight Rises picks up the story of Bruce Wayne, eight years after the night in which Harvey Dent met his death and Batman took full responsibility for Dent’s previous murders. Reclusive and somewhat delicate (he now walks with a cane), Bruce’s world is crumbling, Wayne Enterprises is on the brink of a hostile takeover from rival billionaire John Daggett, he is alone having lost the love of his life, Rachel Dawes, at the hands of the Joker and the pearls that belonged to his mother have been stolen at the hands of Selina Kyle. However, the attempt to snatch fingerprints on the safe in the same robbery sparks Bruce’s interest as a detective once again.
Meanwhile, a hijacked plane has left an opportunity for Bane, an elusive mercenary, to infiltrate Gotham City as part of an elaborate plan to bring the City to its knees. Once Bruce realises the chain of events that are unfolding around him, he has no option but to bring Batman out of retirement once again to get to the heart of the matter. However, what neither Bruce nor Batman is prepared for is the sheer brutality of the plot which has unfolded, nor the sheer brutality of an adversary such as Bane. It is these challenges that force Bruce to rediscover himself and fulfil his true destiny as the Dark Knight...
Greg Cox has done a brilliant job with the Nolan script; its rich, intimate detail makes it easy for the reader to imagine their own version of the characters and the settings. For example, when Dr Leonid Pavel plays his gruesome part in the escape of Bane on board the plane Cox compliments this with an illustration of how Pavel is “sick to the stomach”; as a result, I almost felt that the counterpart scene from the film was more action orientated and lacked this gruesomeness as interpreted by Cox.
To go with this, Greg Cox’s use of imagery demonstrates a lot more about the characters, something much more in tune with what Christopher Nolan achieves in the film itself. My particular favourite is Bruce Wayne’s interaction with Alfred in which the latter wishes Bruce had never come back to Gotham, and Cox’s imagery leaves Bruce with “the ceaseless rustling of the bats”, this suggests Bruce Wayne has more reasons for staying than he’s letting on and the bats act as a brilliant metaphor of Bruce’s unfinished business and a hook to keep the reader reading.
It is difficult to find fault with this book, however there are two elements, one specific and one general. Specifically, the character of Selina Kyle’s introduction is not as clear as the introduction of other characters. When we see her wandering around Wayne Manor, her innocent motivation isn’t written appropriately as it seems to get ahead of itself and leaves the reader a tad confused when her true motives are revealed. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight Rises is a like for like portrayal of the film’s script, therefore if you have seen the film then you will not be surprised by anything that happens in the book, which is a shame as I’m always intrigued with adaptations of original scripts and what could have been.
The Dark Knight Rises is a treat nonetheless. Greg Cox’s brilliant attention to detail and use of imagery gives the reader moments that you will (almost) feel short-changed by in the film! This then means you can forgive the predictability of the story (if you have seen the film) and the shaky introduction of Selina Kyle.