#393/#110 The Dark Knight Rises
8 years have passed since the events of the Dark Knight and Gotham has moved forward, now stronger than ever. Using Harvey Dent as a shining example, the police have eliminated organised crime within the city and there has been no need of the Batman (Christian Bale). When cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) breaks into Wayne Manor however, Bruce Wayne’s interest is peeked and when the mercenary Bane (Tom Hardy) appears in Gotham, so to is the Batman’s. This raises the question though: Is Bruce Wayne still capable of being the Batman anymore or will this be Gotham’s final reckoning?
I should firstly say that I enjoyed this movie and that it’s definitely a good capping point to the Nolan-verse Batman franchise. That said, I think The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Inception and the Avengers are all better, more enjoyable movies.
Everything I’ve said before that was good with this film’s predecessors is still present here. Its got some great action, interesting set pieces, a complex and well thought out plot (all be it a little convoluted this time), a good score and great cinematography. This time around however, it also has a lot of exposition dumps required to keep the audience up to speed, a lot of long period where nothing seems to happen as a result of these long talking scenes and the whole endeavour feels overly long and nowhere near as tightly self contained as the others in the trilogy. The Dark Knight and Inception are both long films with complex subject matter and dialogue heavy scenes but they both held my attention more and felt like they were building to something: DKR doesn’t quite achieve this.
Cast-wise, all the returning figures are still great in their roles (Gary Oldman and Michael Caine giving particularly poignant performances) and the newer additions are the highlight of this instalment. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Officer Blake provides a good everyman, giving a top notch performance and holding the audience’s attention. Additionally, I had no doubts that Tom Hardy could pull off the physicality of Bane, given his performance in Bronson, but I was a little concerned his performance would be marred by half his face being covered for the entire film. His eyes, voice and actions however managed to show he was every bit the calculating bruiser. The voice did take a little getting used to but you adjust easily enough before the end of the movie. The jewel of the film however, was Hathaway as Selina Kyle. The subtle changes, the sexuality, the playfulness with Batman, the fluid morality and her ease with manipulation were ever bit the Catwoman we’ve come to know and love from the comics, shows and games. Easily the best on screen Catwoman to date. The only weak link in the entire cast I felt, was Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate. She felt largely superfluous and more of a plot point than a real character until the very end of the movie. Rather than it being Cotillard’s fault though, I’m beginning to think the Nolan boys just aren’t that good at writing female characters.
I’ve seen this film twice now, and it definitely got better the second time around, but there is just some ineffable quality missing which prevents it from elevating to the level the previous films set. I like it, I will buy it on DVD and I will happily watch it as part of a great trilogy of films but I do not love it as I was hoping to. 4/5