Words by Andy Caley
Christopher Nolan completes ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy with an action-packed, yet emotionally satisfying blockbuster that is ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.
Eight years on, having been branded as an enemy to Gotham, Batman must rise again to protect the city dearest to his heart, from the terrorist leader, Bane, who has dominated the metropolis.
From the minute the film begins, you can pretty much take it that this film was never going to live up to the extraordinary standards set by 2008’s chaotic ‘The Dark Knight’. But, that’s not to say you’re going to be disappointed. Very much the opposite.
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ has a genuine sense of threat and pain, a much stronger sense than there has been in the previous two films, where you really fear for the characters and worry that not everyone, even the significant characters, who we have come to know and love, are going to make it.
What makes this apparent is watching Batman/Bruce Wayne rebuild himself from psychological fragility to arse-kicking vigilante, though in this film, it realistically takes its time, with large and painful obstacles for Bruce to overcome.
The villain, Bane (Tom Hardy) is much darker than previous Batman villains – someone who’s views on making the world a better place are severely distorted, much like Rah’s Al Ghul in ‘Batman Begins’, but more of a monster, both inside and out.
However, when it comes to comparing Bane to Heath Ledger’s The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’, The Joker wins hands down, every time. His dark, manic and chaotic humour makes him enticing and more enjoyable to watch (in a peculiar way), whereas with Bane, you just want to hide or run away from him.
Many audiences have complained about the difficulty of understanding what Tom Hardy is saying, however, we cannot see his mouth, and therefore do not have lip reading to aid us.
While the entire cast play their role to perfection, the two standouts are Michael Caine as Bruce’s lovable butler, Alfred and Gary Oldman as the trustworthy Commissioner Gordon. Alfred, once again is Bruce’s Jiminy Cricket, the voice of reason, who, whenever he is onscreen, your heart goes out to him, which, in this film, can often create a lump in your throat. Whereas Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon is someone who has to rise up and rebuild from beneath the ashes of their past, which Oldman brilliantly plays with such integrity and morality.
Wally Pfister’s cinematography is mind-blowing. Having worked on previous Nolan features, including the preceding ‘Dark Knight’ films, ‘Inception’ and ‘The Prestige’, he makes the action and the city of Gotham look like a piece of artwork.
The thing to be praised about this film is the ending, the most important aspect for Nolan. Like ‘Inception’, the ending can be interpreted in a number of ways, allowing audiences to decide for themselves, showing that Nolan treats his audiences with respect and intelligence.
It’ll leave you in awe, along with a whimper, but above all, you will be able to heave a sigh of relief in the knowledge that this is the ‘Batman’ film we have all been waiting for and that Christopher Nolan has bought this tremendous art-house blockbuster series to a spectacular close.
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is out on DVD December 3rd.2013