The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Directed by Christopher Nolan. With Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Marion Cotillard.
We pick up 8-years after the events of The Dark Knight, during which time Bruce Wayne has become a recluse. Batman has gone dark and a new threat to Gotham emerges to bring him out of retirement. Sounds a bit formulaic, doesn’t it!? Well, it kind of is, but the unfussy and subtly stylised way in which Nolan’s trilogy plays, combined with excellent scripts and the natural style of the performances, keeps the film grounded – even during the most spectacular moments.
As with any Batman film, new villains surface and old faces re-emerge. On bad guy duties is Tom Hardy as the powerhouse muscle-man with a polite bedside manner, Bane. It’s more of a physical performance than anything else with Bane – last seen as a bring-out-the-gimp type in Joel Schumacher’s disastrous Batman & Robin. Bane serves the story well as a formidable threat to an ailing Batman. The scenes in which the two meet set a new precedent for Nolan fisticuffs, in as much as the camera is panned back for us to witness every punch and bone-crunching thud, indeed, all that’s missing is the Adam West-era KER-POW! to accompany each blow. Of all the trilogy, this is the film that features the most action sequences, but with a running time of 2hr-44mins, there is still ample time for talking heads and emotional speeches.
Other new characters include Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Blake and Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle – aka Catwoman. Hathaway’s take on the character offers something satisfyingly new and interesting that not only looks cool and sexy, but also serves the story arc.
Aesthetically, you couldn’t ask for more. Wally Pfister’s photography is sublime, capturing a sense of scale that serves to satisfy the need to complete the story. As with any great experience, towards the end there is a feeling of sadness that it’s all coming to an end, but there’s also reason to rejoice in celebrating the repeat-viewing quality of this final chapter of an excellent trilogy. 4.5/5