Rousing farewell to momentous saga
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Matthew Modine. Screenplay by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan. 164 minutes, rated M (violence), showing at Reading Cinemas Porirua and Light House Pauatahanui.
Oh God, it’s finally here. Few pictures will ever arrive in cinemas with more anticipation and expectation than this one, and it’s down to two things: The Dark Knight was so frickin’ amazing; and chief architect Christopher Nolan has made it very clear this is his last crack at Batman.
Given the reverence with which fans hold his reinvigoration of the franchise, that may as well mean the last one.
Warner Bros will, of course, find another way to satisfy our appetite for the Caped Crusader – and make a ton of moolah doing so – but will they ever come close to this?
The Dark Knight Rises is an epic, ambitious and artful final chapter, which returns to the themes central to Batman Begins – justice, corruption, sacrifice and redemption – with an undercurrent Occupy movement rage.
It also returns the focus to Bruce Wayne, our billionaire playboy who is still haunted by the murder of his parents and, more recently, the events of The Dark Knight.
Often a sombre affair, with less costumed fighting than expected, the picture still had me engrossed for every one of its 164 minutes.
The Dark Knight Rises is set
of eight years after the death of district attorney Harvey Dent, whose corruption has been hidden from the public. In its place has been a lie of martyrdom that has helped police gain greater power and criminals receive fewer rights.
The streets are clean but beneath them a rebellion is brewing, led by Bane (Tom Hardy), a physically imposing terrorist hell-bent on Gotham City’s destruction.
Meanwhile, Wayne has been shacked up in his mansion all these years, with bad knees and a broken spirit. But his interest in the world is rekindled when he crosses paths with plucky cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway).
Does the movie match The Dark Knight for ferocity and audience captivation? No, and it was always going to struggle. Quite simply, there’s no Joker in this deck.
Bane is a worthy villain: a fearful brute with a brain, and a muzzle of tubes in his mouth bearing painkillers to cope with some past horror. While this provides for an unnerving, augmented voice on the part of Hardy, the lack of facial expression limits the character’s engagement to the viewer and his beefy size restricts his fight scenes with Batman to punch-fests.
Bane’s intentions are also a bit muddled. What’s the point of overthrowing a city and fanning a civil revolution when you intend to blow it up?
Still, I didn’t for a second miss Joker or think Nolan had made a wrong move in his choice of nemesis. And let’s not forget Catwoman – though Selina Kyle is never given this moniker, in keeping with the grounded tone of the trilogy.
Hathaway’s double-crossing minx is a delight: her scenes with Bale, whether as Batman or Wayne, are the most enjoyable of the movie. I just wish they’d be back for another goround.
Nolan and Bale’s gritty Batman has made for one of the greatest three-parters in cinema history. They are as thrilling as the Jason Bourne thrillers, as involving as The Lord of the Rings and, dare I say, as sweeping in their enchantment as the original Star Wars films. It’s sad to say goodbye. Though there is a sweet hint of hope in the closing moments of The Dark Knight Rises and Nolan’s involvement with The Man of Steel Superman reboot, that his deft touch will again bring DC’s comic-book universe to life. Caped Crusader must thwart the catastrophic plans of muzzled brute Bane (Tom Hardy) in Christopher Nolan’s final Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Face off: The