R eviewed by Charlie Smith:
I still vividly remember walking out of part two of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise ‘The Dark Knight’ in 2008 and my initial thought was “Yeah, it was good”. After a few more viewings, my opinion quickly moulded from “Good” to an actual piece of movie gold. Now, Nolan and the caped crusader are back to finish the job in the final instalment ‘The Dark Knight Rises”.
It’s been eight years after the death of Gotham City D.A Harvey Dent, and since anyone has seen or heard of the Batman. Having eradicated all organized crime, citizens could finally sleep safe at night thanks to The Dent Act and the Gotham Police Force under the impressive leadership of Commissioner James Gordon. But when it all seems too good to be true, enter the mysterious masked mercenary known simply as ‘Bane’. Wreaking havoc, and striking Gotham every which way he can, Batman will have to ‘Bat suit up’ to save his own city.
But, after such a time of being out of action, will he have what it takes to rescue his beloved Gotham from the hands of a mad man?
Returning as Batman is Christian Bale, and just like in ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’, his performance still astounds me. I honestly think it will be a long time coming before the world sees someone who embodies Batman the way he does.
Then, there is Bane played by Tom Hardy.
I hadn’t seen him in anything until Nolan’s masterpiece ‘Inception’, and it was here that I was instantly captivated by his work. He always brings everything to the table, and this is no different. If you haven’t seen him in ‘Warrior’, then I highly recommend it. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both return to their respective roles, and get so much more screen time than I had hoped for.
Joseph Gordon Levitt also gets to play around Gotham as Police Detective Blake, and as usual, Nolan picked the right man for the job. Marion Cotilliard makes her way on set as the lovely Miranda Tate, who aspires to help out Wayne Enterprises in it’s troubling times. But, the woman who steals the show for me is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, or more commonly known as ‘Catwoman’.
Admittedly, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Hathaway. Roles of note are ‘One Day’ and hosting the Academy Awards with James Franco. Did anyone else see that? Wow. But, I’m still in shock and awe at her performance. She has well and truly atoned, and is nothing short of magic. She’s everything I wanted her to be. Hathaway ties to Michelle Pfeiffer ‘s Catwoman in many ways, they’re both sassy and snarky, and. if a spin off took place, I would most certainly book my tickets in advance. I would just hope it would be more successful than previous attempts.
If someone gave me 50 years, an even greater cast, and an unlimited sum of money, I still wouldn’t be able to do anything nearly as great as Nolan has done. The storyline is so intricate, so detailed. And nothing is left to the imagination, no stone is left unturned, and all questions are answered. I went in thinking it would be another ambiguous ending, like Inception, but I when I saw the end credits, I was so happy and content.
With this trilogy being compared calibre wise to other movie series such as Lord Of The Rings, Indiana Jones and Star Wars (well, episodes 4, 5 and 6 that is), it would be somewhat unwise to end it incorrectly. The last 10 minutes of any movie are considered some of the most important, and in The Dark Knight Rises, this couldn’t be truer.
There is more action in this movie than the two previous, and it looks superb. Bane is one for hand to hand combat, and it all is an immaculately rehearsed dance. Never seeing his mouth open for speaking, or yelling, Hardy’s eyes tell a story themselves. There were many complaints from the die hard fans that Hardy wouldn’t be able to pull Bane off, as he isn’t 18 feet tall. But, he did put on 13 kilos of muscle for the role, and is now sitting at 93 kilograms. And for someone who is 5”10, that’s rather large. He is dark, horrifying and brutal.
My one complaint is that in some scenes, with the mask on, he was rather hard to understand, but you can most certainly get the gist of what he was saying. I guess the subtitles on Blu-Ray are just another reason to get it when I can assume it will hit stores late this year.
Hans Zimmer returns in all his glory to produce another glorious soundtrack. With that being said though, the chant that we first heard in the third theatrical trailer “Deshay parsa!” (yes, only guess work) does get repetitive. Every time Bane looks ominous, or is walking towards the camera, you can faintly hear it in the background. Creates an atmosphere? Yes. Need to create that atmosphere 17 times in one movie? I don’t particularly think so.
Not a whole lot of people have seen it yet, but from what I have heard, many aren’t happy that it drags on, and it is a rather long movie. Personally, I love long films, but many don’t share the same opinion, and for that, I can understand why some would get a little agitated. But, every minute that passes just builds the tension, and that’s why, for me, the climax was such a hit.
Not so much a complaint, but more of something that I noticed was that there was no blood. I know, I know, it’s an M movie, not MA15+. But, there are many times in which people are shot, some even at point blank, and not a drop of blood is shed. Just something that myself and others have picked up on.
It wouldn’t be a Christopher Nolan movie without its fair share of plot twists and turns, and this is where I must say SPOILER ALERT. If you have not seen the movie, and plan to, do not ignore the warning. I urge and implore you. You have been warned.
Yes, this movie is fantastic, brilliant and all other synonyms, but the thing that I enjoyed the most about it was the shock. When Miranda Tate reveals herself to be Talia Al Guhl, daughter of the infamous Ra’s Al Guhl, I did not see it coming. It was way out of left field, and I thought it was ingenious. Having now seen it a second time, and knowing what happens, I can not believe that I didn’t pick up on it the first time. So many hints and clues are dropped, but if you aren’t looking for them, I guess one would have no need to pick up on them.
Which is why I loved the second viewing even more so than the first. Admittedly, at the 12:01 midnight screening, I spent the first hour of it sitting on the edge of my seat, trembling at what could happen. When I calmed down, I got to enjoy it more. It really is one of those movies that you should see twice, if not three times at the theatres.
As I said, the last 10 minutes were the most important of this film. All the stories come together, and I have never seen a movie end so flawlessly, and with such beauty. We learn that Police Detective Blake doesn’t like to use his real name, which we learn to be Robin. I love that I didn’t notice it. There aren’t many, but there are a FEW clues that insist that he might be Robin, or at least something more than a cop. But I didn’t pick up on any of them, and seeing the very last shot of the movie, where Robin has discovered the Batcave just made me smile.
The question on everybody’s lips with 2 weeks before the release was will Batman die? Admittedly, I had come to terms with the fact that Batman would die. It’s been done before, and it didn’t go well. But if anyone could pull it off, it would be Nolan. I had made myself believe that if he would die, I would be okay with it. Personally, I find this too much of a game changer to talk about, so I shall not spoil it any more than I already have. But what I will say is this: I am so happy with the outcome.
Walking out of the cinema, I had mixed emotions. Yes, it was a beautiful movie. Yes, it was a masterpiece. But, it was over. That’s it. It’s done. Nolan has confirmed that he will be not making this any more than trilogy. Knowing this put a dampener on things, and I ended up feeling really down about it. But as a great man once said “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”
In Batman we trust.
Reviewed By Charlie Smith.