Directed by: Christoper Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard
Eight years on from the death of Harvey Dent, Batman no longer exists and Bruce Wayne is no more than a vague shadow of the billionaire playboy he once was. Gotham has rid itself of crime and is standing tall and proud, that is until menace mercenary Bane hijacks the city and takes the law into his own hands. Wayne decides it’s time to don the black suit and win back the city as he becomes Batman for one last time.
Boasting a stellar cast the actors are one of the reasons The Dark Knight Rises is so magnificent. When the film was in production Warner Brothers were constantly confirming another name had been added to the billing and this was a little of a worry, were we going to be introduced to a few too many new characters? But it turns out the fresh faces are just as integral to the plot as Batman himself. Anne Hathaway is surprisingly sexy and sly as Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy is ferocious as Bane, Marion Cotillard mysterious and smart and Joseph Gordon Levitt shines in the role of Tom Blake. It is hard to say who steals the screen as Michael Caine and Gary Oldman are also simply superb (as they are in everything) and Christian Bale has Batman/Bruce Wayne down to a T. But, for me, Joseph Gordon Levitt is the most fantastic addition. Determined, brave and honest he plays the good guy willing to help brilliantly and you find yourself urging for him to come out on top.
Not only has Nolan picked a gifted cast, TDKR is visually stunning. The film is gritty, bleak and at times cold but this conflicts wonderfully with the over protective nature of Wayne’s butler Alfred and support from Batman’s followers. It is these relationships which also bring this film to life, tears will be shed over the heart-wrenching, ultimate conversation between Bruce Wayne and Alfred and you cannot dampen the spirits of Gordon-Levitt's policeman Tom Blake or the ever faithful Commissioner Gordon. These outstanding performances are supported with a sincere script and those much-needed motivational speeches and laugh out loud one liners.
Although thought-provoking TDKR is not short on action; Bane is a machine, Batman is consistent and Catwoman is as smooth as the animal she is named after.
As Bane throws Batman around like a puppet, he barely feels the punches from our caped crusader and you cannot help but squirm in your seat as you feel every single hit and blow Bane strikes. As well as being built like The Hulk something must be said for Tom Hardy's voice, admittedly at times it was slightly in audible but not to the extent you missed anything vital. However, for those comic book fans there will be some irritated comments about Bane’s origin and how he should sound but honestly with a film so brilliant these minor discretions can be ignored.
Smartly, each of the charcaters have a piece of Batman/Bruce Wayne within them. Be it Bane's craving for vengance and heightened rage or Tom Blake's need to protect and serve Nolan has managed to echo our heroes personality through others; an interesting way to show how Batman struggles with his own desires.
As a DC reader some of the plot twists came as little to no surprise but for those who are relatively new to the world of Batman the unexpected story turns will be a brilliant development.
The ending, though a little disappointing, is clean and smart. Naturally, it invites contemplation but it completes the trilogy wonderfully and satisfies most of the unanswered questions from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
There is no doubt about it Christopher Nolan has created one of the most terrific, extraordinary trilogies of all time and has managed to make DC’s Batman into a relatable yet fantastically dark movie franchise.