Epic sights, sounds and a strong heart bring Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy to a strong finish.
Stunning moviemaking and dramatic heart make Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises an epic adventure
Lots of production news since the cameras started rolling May 2011 on The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy and, perhaps, Nolan’s greatest achievement is securing some legitimate surprises for the most talked-about movie in recent memory.
In this era of 24/7 showbiz news and constant fan chatter, Nolan’s achievement at maintaining some key plot secrets is welcome and impressive.
The Dark Knight Rises is also an epic canvas, exciting, operatic in all the right places and a smart and worthy finish to Hollywood’s best superhero franchise.
The Dark Knight Rises is reportedly the last time Christian Bale will be playing the dual roles of millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman and Christopher Nolan and co-writers Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer keep the story grounded, or at least as grounded as a superhero movie can be. The result is a smart, suspenseful, action-packed conclusion to a fun movie franchise.
Batman (Bale) returns from an eight-year hiatus with the help of longtime allies Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), Wayne Enterprises scientist Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and his trusted butler Alfred (Michael Caine). A masked terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) has taken Gotham City hostage via acts of public destruction and Batman stands up to protect his beloved hometown.
Burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and a young NYPD cop named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) turn out be much-needed allies for Batman and fellow Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) offers some welcome surprises.
Still, The Dark Knight Rises is a story of endings and the fact of the matter is Batman may lack the strength and the stamina against the super-strong Bane.
Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine remain terrific, supporting players but Gary Oldman stands out as Gordon; rising from near death to fight for the protection of Gotham City much like Batman himself.
One of four major newcomers to the franchise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes a solid contribution as brave NYPD cop John Blake.
Marion Cotillard looks stunning as the romantic interest to Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne and delivers one of the film’s best surprises.
British actor Tom Hardy, who played one of the dream thieves in Nolan's Inception, is more terrorist than over-the-top, comic book villain as the hulking Bane. Hardy, known to art-house audiences for his groundbreaking role as a crazed British criminal in Bronson, makes a powerful impression with his raspy voice and muscle-bound figure.
Comparisons to the franchise’s previous villain, Heath Ledger’s The Joker in The Dark Knight, are unfair because Bane is a different variety of adversary.
Luckily, when it comes to pop and sizzle, Anne Hathaway is phenomenal as the self-serving thief Selina Kyle, a character better known as Catwoman.
It’s Hathaway who delivers much-needed laughs to The Dark Knight Rises thanks to her sassy dialogue, fantastic stunt work and sexy fighting togs.
As the man behind the cowl, Bale gives a dynamic performance emphasizing Bruce Wayne as a man struggling the burden of physical injuries as well the emotional anguish of life without Batman.
Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister make stunning use of IMAX cameras on the film’s many epic locations with the streets of Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles standing in as Gotham City in addition to faraway spots in England, Scotland and India.
The Dark Knight Rises looks stunning in IMAX, especially in the film’s opening sequence involving a midair hijacking as well as the ticking time bomb, climactic chase through the streets of Gotham City involving the Bat-Pod, the Tumbler and a stealth flyer called The Bat. More importantly, there’s not a single sequence that leaves you aching for 3D. The Dark Knight Rises looks beautiful just the way it is.
Longtime comic fans may take issue at the tweaks regarding Bane’s mask but it’s impressive how much Christopher Nolan and his cowriters stay true to the Batman mythology involving the League of Shadows and the legacy of Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson).
The Dark Knight Rises is a legitimate final chapter, but Christopher Nolan offers a sly, climactic tease that hints at the possibility at future stories. Fingers crossed.
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Miranda Tate, Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman
Screenwriter: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cinematographer: Wally Pfister
Editor: Lee Smith
Producers: Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures. Syncopy
Running Time: minutes
Rating: Rated PG-13
Release Date: July 20, 2012