- Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Writers: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer (story), and Bob Kane (Batman characters)
- Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway
Christopher Nolan bows out of the Batman trilogy with another epically staged drama which pushes Bruce Wayne and his alter ego to breaking point.
“The Dark Knight Rises” is not only a fitting finish for the main character, but also for its director. Of course not everything works, including a major subplot and performance, but the sheer scale and propulsive action ensures this blockbuster has got serious creative clout!
Eight years after defeating the Joker and stopping Two-Face Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne is holed up in his mansion and effectively retired from playing dress up. Not only does he keep to himself but his body is physically weakened. When he finally gets to donning the rubber suit, he needs mechanized leg braces to help him.
Christian Bale brings new layers to Wayne that we haven’t seen before. Long gone is the cocky playboy persona and “why so serious?” moodiness, and in its place is somebody rather likable. In the darkest night, Bruce Wayne has lightened up. The superhero is not only brought down a peg or two financially, he’s also learning it’s okay to let people in. The task at hand, however, ensures that a hero finally does rise from what could previously be read as murky and wholly personal motives. Vengeance is off the table now, and Batman must save his beloved yet fucked up city with that ultimate gesture: sacrifice.
If the world was impressed by Heath Ledger’s snarling and vicious portrayal as The Joker, then wait until you get a load of Tom Hardy’s Bane. If Joker was a smart and vicious criminal set on proving good men can turn bad (i.e. given the right set of manipulated circumstances), then Bane is pure brute force: a hulking beast of walking-talking destruction. During their first and rather bleak confrontation, Batman taunts Bane with his expulsion from the “League of Shadows.” “You were excommunicated by a gang of psychopaths.” That’s how hard Bane is. The final smack down is extraordinary in its aggression. Batman has reached the end of his tether. Although Nolan doesn’t repeat the battle of wits between Joker and Batman, which rammed home the fact they’re effectively two sides to the same coin, we get Batman meeting a wall of tyranny so vicious it’s breathtaking!
“The Dark Knight Rises” is centered around how Batman/Bruce Wayne gets his groove back and takes on his biggest challenge ever. Bane is “Gotham’s reckoning” according to the Vader-like mask wearing nutter, and he leads the charge to finish what Ra’s al Ghul’s couldn’t: namely, Gotham’s annihilation off the face of the earth.
Nolan’s continues the story despite the eight year narrative gap, he shows us a world where the Caped Crusader isn’t needed. The Dent Act has been passed in honour of Gotham’s other favourite son and seems to have worked much better than Batman’s methods ever could. But Gotham is under the cloud of a great lie. Commissioner Gordon and Wayne have conspired to give their city a myth that Two-Face was wholly good and they do not reveal the true story. There’s even a Harvey Dent Day of celebrations to remember the fallen hero. But Gordon is tired of concealing the truth and wants to expose the truth. And a rather neat development is the implications of worshipping a false idol and the tough on crime stance named in Dent’s honour, which is really is a perversion of justice.
Nolan’s Batman trilogy has focused primarily on questions of heroism, morality and the nature of vengeance. There may be a thin line between the sane and mad, but the two can be defined in heroic deeds as well as the flip side of this. Where does the real motivation lie? Indeed, Joker’s master plan demonstrates these aspects. And Harvey Dent (the White Knight) turned into a deformed version of Batman—a crime fighter set solely on personal vengeance. Two-Face is a cautionary tale of what occurs when the scales of justice are out of whack.
And so the stage is set for Batman and his trusted and untrustworthy allies to battle the good fight, one last time. The final coda suggests whilst the story is definitely over for one man, another hero could well be born in his place. “The Dark Knight Rises” might be Bruce Wayne and Gotham’s darkest day and night, however, it makes for a thrilling cinema spectacle and drama.
Article republished from Cinemart.