By Liam Alexander
We have reached the end of one of the most impactful and important trilogies of the decade, Christopher Nolan’s third and final installment in The Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. It is now 2012, 4 years after the masterpiece that was ‘The Dark Knight’ graced our screens all the way back in 2008. It’s been a while, and everyone is hyped out of their minds to see how the story ends. The Dark Knight Rises is definitely the most controversial of the trilogy for good and bad reasons, some love it, some like it, and a small majority don’t. But where do I stand? For most of the time…I like this movie…a lot. Lets talk about it!
The film takes place eight years after the Jokers reign of chaos on Gotham and Harvey Dent’s death. I love the opening of the film, there is such strong dramatic irony between the audience and Gordon (Gary Oldman), as he knows the truth of what happened to Harvey and is feeling the guilt for covering it up, we know the truth, but he can’t tell anyone at this eulogy. We get the sense that Gotham is falsely recovering, but darkness still looms heavily over the city and Gordon knows it. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is now a recluse after retiring Batman, but a new threat is rising in the form of guerrilla terrorist, Bane (Tom Hardy), and there is only one person who can stop him. Batman must return. Quite the set up indeed.
Once again, the returning cast all do there jobs perfectly. Christian Bale is yet again fantastic in the film, and he really is the best (I’m seeing Batman V Superman in 2 days, however, so it could change) Bruce Wayne and Batman we have ever had. Bruce Wayne, the recluse, is all that we see in the first act of the film, he’s broken physically and mentally by his events with the Joker and Harvey Dent, Bale carries it. Gary Oldman as Gordon is superb, possibly at his best in the entire trilogy. Michael Caine as Alfred offers some emotionally strong and heavy hitting moments, especially his conversation with Bruce at the bottom of the stairs.
The newcomers, Joseph Gordon Levitt as John Blake and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, both give good supporting performances, although nothing extraordinary, but they both inhabit their characters and do it very well. And then we get to Tom Hardy as Bane. It was always going to be one hell of a tough job following up Heath Ledger as the villain, especially when the last time we had seen Bane the character was in 1998 when he was grunting and repeatedly screaming his name like an absolute moron. Yeah, fuck you, Batman and Robin. That aside, Hardy as Bane is superb, and was really the perfect villain for the film He’s a villain who was physically superior to Batman, while also holding his own in the intellect department. His voice and actions are menacing and, quite honest, scary! Whilst Bane is nowhere near as compelling as the Joker, he is still a good villain for the film.
Nolan again does a great job, his direction is masterful and the film works very well as both a whole piece and an end of an arc. The Dark Knight Rises has some great moments, my favourite being Batman’s first appearance, the scene that gave me major goose bumps the first time I watched it in the cinema, and it still does every time I watch it. Just the combination of the character’s reactions to his return, the audience’s reaction to his return and Hans Zimmer’s now ICONIC Batman theme booming into the moment just make it a stand out scene for me. The football stadium scene is also fantastic, involving it blowing up and the eerie rendition of the national anthem, making it one of the many stand out moments.
Now we get into the, ah, slightly controversial, smaller aspects of the film that I don’t really like or think could be fixed up a little (gulps and prepares for fanboy assassination, I STILL LOVE THE MOVIE). Okay, Bane getting *killed* by Catwoman still really, really bugs me. It’s probably my biggest complaint with the entire film, I just don’t like it. You build up this insanely strong character, this epic battle that is ensuing between the oppressed and the oppressors, Batman and Bane…and then you have him quickly get shot by Catwoman on the Batpod… I think it’s a tad lazy to be completely honest, and kind of disrespects the character that’s been set up.
Marion Cotillard as Talia Al Ghul is great; she plays the role just as you would expect a great actress like Cotillard would, but Talia’s relationship with Bruce kind of feels a little forced. They just met, and are now having sex next to the fireplace. The relationship is never developed, so the whole “twist” about Talia being the mastermind is not as impactful as it should be. On top of that, when Batman reveals his identity to Gordon, it is insanely powerful, such a fantastic moment, and with Batman saving the city by sacrificing himself, flying the bomb out to sea. BANG. Wow. Tears, nearly. BUT…then the film suffers a common thing with trilogies; it develops ’multiple end syndrome’. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, if it didn’t happen within the final 6 minutes of the film…
The Dark Knight is still a great film and a fantastic end to a revolutionary, artistic and entertaining trilogy. Personally, it is the weakest of the trilogy and just doesn’t have that same memorability and impact that the first two films had. But, it still contains superb acting, storytelling, music and characters, while also offering a nice, complete end to the trilogy.