Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises / Director: Christopher Nolan / Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Jonathon Nolan / Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman / Release Date: July 20th
The Knight has fallen into self-destructive behaviour after eight years away from protecting the streets of Gotham. Harvey Dent’s legacy of tough laws on criminals has created a peaceful city where a hero such as Batman is obsolete, but the appearance of the terror inducing Bane galvanises the bat back into action. Christopher Nolan brings his story full circle once again playing with the idea of a society set up to fail. Phenomenal action, brutal encounters, social commentary along with strong characters and storytelling make this a bleak but elevating climax.
New characters, Bane (Tom Hardy), Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) John Blake (Joseph Gordon- Levitt) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) are introduced and allow for origin stories to be told and moral groundings to be revealed. Bane swoops into Gotham on a mission of destruction and Hardy delivers a physically menacing performance. Catwoman delivers pearls of wisdom and though her morals may at times be dubious her statuesque beauty reflects her integrity. Hathaway strikes the balance between manipulative man-eater and feisty feline extremely well. John Blake is a hot-headed cop working his way up the ladder and impressing Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) with his intellect. Gordon-Levitt is wonderfully cast in this role delivering the mixture of angst and freshness needed for his character. Tate and Bruce Wayne share the philanthropist mind set and make a good pairing in the upper echelons of society. Cotillard brings her usual charm to the role. Nolan asks the question “What is a hero?” and each of the main characters provides some sort of answer through their storyline. The guardian figure and the authority of government are explored thoroughly through the final film in this trilogy.
Bane is the terrorist playing on humanity’s fear and his imposing presence provides both a physical and mental challenge for Batman. Catwoman is the Robin Hood figure fighting her battle the only way she knows how. Clear villains appear on both sides of society but Nolan cleverly defies expectations here. Privilege, wealth and an unfair judicial system are also tackled, but Christopher Nolan and his screenplay collaborators Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer excel at making sure it is always delivered in an affecting and thrilling way. Fast speed motorbike chases, advanced weaponry, excellently choreographed fight scenes and the atmospheric and tense soundtrack from Hans Zimmer ensure the darkness is all encompassing from beginning to end. The astonishing spectacle expected from Nolan is present as is the brooding Batman from Christian Bale.
Intense action and emotion make for gripping viewing and along with a dash of playfulness that occasionally lifts the dark mood it feels like the comic book hero has been rightly adapted for our times.
Expected Rating: 10/10