Saturday, 23 February 2013

FILM: The Dark Knight Rises (9/10)

Why did I watch it?
The final chapter in The Dark Knight Trilogy was always going to be a massive summer blockbuster. I missed it at the cinema but caught it on Blu-Ray. Nolan raised the mantle of the superhero film forever, firstly with Batman Begins (2005) and then with it's sequel The Dark Knight (2008) so expectations were understandably high.

What's it all about?

The Dark Knight Rises is set eight years after the events of TDK, Batman has retired and Bruce Wayne is a recluse. An army of terrorists is being prepared under Gotham City by super-villain Bane, intent on wreaking havoc on the city, invoking martial law through the threat of a nuclear bomb

Should you watch it?

While probably not quite on a par with The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, bigger and darker than the previous instalments, is certainly worthy of being the closing chapter to Christopher Nolan excellent Dark Knight trilogy.

From the awesome opening plane hijack stunt that introduces Bane, the film is littered with action sequences and really is one huge spectacle. On top of the action, the film is balanced by the soul-searching and recovery of Bruce Wayne, not once but twice as well as reasonably well handled themes of social equality.

Tom Hardy brings an intensity to Bane, a different, more physically imposing intensity than Heath Ledger's Joker, and the character is certainly an improvement on the previous portrayal of Bane (Batman & Robin!). He is given the best lines of the script to deliver through his menacing mask-affected voice. Anne Hathway plays Selina Kyle (never referred to as Catwoman), and here is where I have an issue with the Nolan brothers. I was intrigued how they would adapt Catwoman into their Dark Knight universe, and for me it was a let down. She is not the true villain of the comics, instead she is pitched as an ambiguous distraction from the battle with Bane, chasing anonymity from her thieving background and willing to side with whoever can grant it to her.

At 165 minutes, TDKR is stretching the limits of an action film run time but managed to keep my attention. Some of the film's plot holes have earned some attention from critics, the only one I had a problem with was how Wayne got back to Gotham with no money, connections and with the city under lock-down. 

I imagine Christopher Nolan must have spent many night wondering how to conclude his trilogy. Leave it open ended? Retire Batman? Kill Batman? Anyway, his decision worked for me (despite the ending having remarkable parallels to 2011's Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows).

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