The Dark Knight Rises completes the Batman movie trilogy helmed by Christopher Nolan and anchored by Christian Bale. Since Batman Begins, Nolan has taken a darker and more complex approach to the caped crusader and Rises wraps up this perceptive in the superhero’s onscreen history beautifully.
In the film, eight years have past since Batman’s showdown with The Joker and the death of Harvey Dent which makes Batman/ Bruce Wayne’s seclusion from Gotham City more impactful than the actual four years between films. Bale’s portrayal of Batman/ Bruce Wayne is the best of the three films. He showcases more fight and passion than the previous rounds even when his character is at his all time low.
Wayne’s launching pad back into Gotham society is fueled by his interactions with mysterious cat burglar Selina Kyle played surprisingly well by Anne Hathaway. Although never referred to as Catwoman, Hathaway’s Kyle is a fantastic foil to Bale’s Wayne and the scenes between them some of the best.
The villain this time around is the evil madman Bane, who is played unrecognizably by Tom Hardy. Out of all the villains, Hardy’s Bane proves to be the most challenging of Batman’s adversaries overpowering him physically and mentally with his menacing extremes. Batman has definitely met his match and for the first time in any Batman movie it feels like he also might meet his demise.
Nolan is a master storyteller weaving the iconic story of Batman into a modern landscape that at times provides very eerie regarding the terrorism showed. Not only are a madman and his army of mercenaries killing with no sense of remorse, but the fallout extends into economic devastation, police held hostage, and no one willing to lead. The fallout of Bane’s reign proves particular scary, because Nolan’s shots do not come across overly animated or cartoon. Matthew Modine plays the “pretty boy” Deputy Commissioner, while the only true “hero” working on a solution seems to be John Blake, played with a well done understated calm by Joseph Gordon- Levitt.
Although it is not necessary to have seen the previous two Nolan Batman films in order to follow Rises, Nolan is superb at lacing familiar characters and faces from the last two which will make any devoted fan smile. Of course, the one character that is not even mentioned is The Joker played by the late Heath Leader. Even though Nolan and Bale have stated multiple times that this will be their last Batman film- I sure hope not; the last twenty-minutes provide a great twist that suggests there might be another chapter and direction still to explore in this franchise.