The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises
By Wilson Morales
If you are going into ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of the franchise, expecting it to be the best cinematic experience of your life, you will be half right. While the film is loud, grandiose, and exhilarating, it can’t match its predecessor or Heath Ledger’s iconic performance. After all, ‘The Dark Knight’ was so good, it was unofficially partly the reason the Academy decided to nominate 10 films for Best Picture after it failed to make the cut, causing outrage amongst its core supporters. Nevertheless, in watching ‘Rises,’ Nolan has given a fitting, although long-winded at times, powerful and satisfying ending to the greatest comic book movie franchise thus far.
The story is set eight years after ‘The Dark Knight’ with Batman still emotionally destroyed over the death of his loved one, Rachel at the hands of the Joker. Taking the blame for killing District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman is considered a menace to society. With Dent looked upon as the city’s martyr, a Dent law was created in which many criminals were brought to justice with severe penalties.
With Batman out of sight and Bruce Wayne in seclusion, a new menace is coming to town to wreak havoc. In Bane (played by Tom Hardy), we see a muscular figure with a mask that supplies some form of narcotic. Before Bruce Wayne, who’s already walking with cane and needing a haircut and shave, can come back and be himself again, he first has to deal with a slick cat burglar named Selina Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway), who somehow managed to steal a precious item from his house and peak his interest.
When Bane puts his plan in motion on Gotham City, Wayne conjures the strength to don the Bat suit back on and take on his nemesis. The problem is that all those years being secluded has weakened him and he’s no match for Bane, mentally and physically. As Bane takes the city hostage by planning certain events, Batman, with the help of Alfred (Michael Caine), Wayne CEO and weapons experts Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and a young cop named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), must come up with ways to stop this inevitable tyranny from happening.
As Bruce reluctantly aligns with the rich and powerful Miranda Tate to use a reactor that Bruce has been working on, Bane continues to become a bigger threat than the Joker. With a bomb set to go off around Gotham if anyone interferes with Bane’s plans, Batman must find the will and smarts to outdo his opponent and keep everyone safe.
In ‘Rises,’ Nolan has saved some of his best work for this film. With the exception of some overextended political scenes that weren’t necessary, all cylinders are firing here. Bale’s performance had always seemed resigned compared to everyone else in the film. In the previous films, as Bruce Wayne, he looked withdrawn as if he were sleepwalking, but here’s he finally gives life to Bruce Wayne. And as Batman, his skills are on point, ready for action at a moment’s notice.
For as much talk there was regarding Anne Hathaway’s portrayal as Selina Kyle, she’s surprisingly good and steals most of her scenes. Her performance is so intricate; one can never tell if they should be rooting for or against her. Gordon-Levitt is a welcome addition to the cast and make himself useful among this heavyweight cast. As much as they had to do in the previous films, Caine and Freeman are wasted here, looking like props. Nevertheless, it’s a joy for fans just to see them in the finale. As for Tom Hardy, one can never measure his performance to the late Heath Ledger. Ledger created one of the greatest villains on screen, and the best that Hardy can do was be what’s on the script. While his character seems one-note, Hardy gives it his best to be as devilish as possible without going over the top.
There’s a lot of stuff packed in this 2hr 45min film that one can fine pick for its strengths and weaknesses; but in the end, especially with the third act, you are going to leave ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ satisfied. If you’ve seen all three films, you will know that Nolan’s Batman trilogy is one of the best of trilogies ever put together on screen.