End of the Knight
A QUICK shout- out to jaded film types who think they have seen it all: think again.
Then go and see The Dark Knight Rises. Now you have seen it all. As you were, then.
As for the rest of us, especially those who appreciate an action blockbuster with brains and brilliance to accompany the brawn, The Dark Knight Rises is a genuine wonder to behold.
To complete his astonishingly ambitious Batman trilogy, filmmaker Christopher Nolan swings from the fences as if his life, and your faith in major motion pictures, depends on it.
Not only does Nolan, as they say, hit the ball right out of the park. He smacks the thing right out of this world. As the stunning crescendo that ends
The Dark Knight Rises reaches its absolute apex, your jaw will have already bought a one- way ticket to the floor. Where to start in nailing how The Dark
Knight Rises scores such a triumphant result?
An amazing screenplay is as good a place as any. With so much to remind us of, and yet, so much fresh ground to cover, the complex plotting of the tale is almost impossible to summarise.
It is now eight years since the tumult that
closed The Dark Knight. With Batman and his alter ego, billionaire Bruce Wayne, living in self- imposed exile, it is going to take a major catastrophe to bring them back where they belong. It is only when Gotham City, looking more like downtown New York than ever before, comes under threat from nuclear- armed terrorists that the Caped Crusader elects to resume active service.
This only scrapes the surface of the immensely involving tale in the offing here.
The bad guys are led by a metal- muzzled menace named Bane, a supremely confident anarchist who is not in the business of making veiled threats. Indeed, by the halfway point of The Dark
Knight Rises, Bane and his army of followers have sealed off Gotham from the rest of the world.
In a matter of weeks, a reactor they have stolen from Bruce Wayne’s now- collapsed business will reach critical meltdown, killing everyone within a 10km radius of its core.
Performances in The Dark Knight Rises are first- class, considering the daunting scale of the production in which they take place.
Christian Bale has been an anchoring presence across the Nolan trilogy, steadily working on keeping ‘‘ The Batman’’ ( as he has been formally known in Gotham throughout the series) both accessibly vulnerable and toweringly formidable in the eyes of the viewer.
Bale is challenged to take the role to a whole new level in the closing act, and responds as an actor of his fine calibre should. The breakout display on the performance front is undoubtedly the incredible work of Tom Hardy as the hulking master of chaos, Bane.
The job of this character is to provoke fear and fascination in equal parts.
In spite of being trapped behind an ungainly mask and speaking in a voice that some might call ‘‘ Sean Connery does Darth Vader’’ – Hardy controls the force and fury to be unleashed by Bane with a masterful hand.
Dig deeper down the cast list and you still find plenty of gold.
Michael Caine as Alfred carries a clutch of genuinely emotional scenes with a veteran’s aplomb. Gary Oldman has reduced duties this time around as Commissioner Gordon, but gives great value when the chips are down. If there is a polarising performance to be found, it might be that of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle ( the nominal Catwoman of the piece, though the name is never purred out loud). Hathaway is asked by Nolan to exude a wisecracking brashness which is pretty much the only light relief to be found in this very heavy movie.
I thought she
got away with a very tricky job. Others may beg to differ.
Visually, The Dark Knight Rises is an epic spectacle that completely arrests the senses but never overwhelms them.
The list of standout scenes is long and beyond debate.
To quote but one example, the dramatic minutes where Bane unveils his nuke to the survivors of a bomb blast at a packed football stadium are never to be forgotten.
I could go on and on. Let’s just say that the special- effects and the intricate action sequences they service in The Dark Knight
Rises combine to take mainstream filmmaking to a whole new level.
The highest compliment that can be paid to this extraordinary work is that it simultaneously meets, raises and defies all expectations.
Not bad at all for a comic- book franchise that had already run rings around its rivals.
For so many Bat- fans, a mere victory lap to close the series would have sufficed. That so much more has been promised and delivered upon is an achievement not to be taken lightly.
ZAP: Batman ( Christian Bale, main and inset) takes aim at the bad guys.
MENACING: Bane ( Tom Hardy) challenges Batman.
KAPOW: Batman is the last Bat standing.