The Dark Knight Rises

Viewed – 02 August 2012  Cinema

How does one go about reviewing the biggest movie of the year?  In a summer that has seen several comic book characters take to the big screen, you would think the return of Batman would sit happily alongside the likes of Thor, The Hulk and Spidy.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Director Christopher Nolan (Inception) has crafted a trilogy that is not only a reinvention but also something that has never been done before in a comic-book adaptation.  These movies are darker, creepier and more ‘real’ than any other Bat outing, and at first they took me by surprise, and I wasn’t sure if I liked the new approach.  But something Nolan has done, is make not only Batman relevant again, but made the super-hero movie new and fresh and dare I say it, important to cinema as a whole.

This time around Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a recluse and Batman hasn’t appeared for six years, following taking the rap for the murder of famed politician Harvey (Two-Face) Dent in the previous movie.  Yet a new threat lurks in the sewers, that of mercenary Bane (Tom Hardy) and his gang of terrorists, who plan on taking over Gotham City and bringing it to its knees.  There is also a lithe cat-burglar willing to do anything to clear her name in the shape of Seline Kyle (Ann Hathaway) who of course is Catwoman in all but name.  Can a world-weary Bruce Wayne take on this new threat, or has he hung up his cowl for good?  I think we all know the answer to that one.

Nolan’s swan-song for the franchise is every bit the gritty, real-world thriller that came before, and in Tom Hardy’s utterly disturbing Bane we have a villain to (almost) rival the late Heath Ledger’s Joker.  Hathaway’s Catwoman seems more of an after-thought in comparison with barely any back-story and very little to her other than looking great in skin-tight spandex, but her performance still nails the sexy good-girl / bad-girl of the character well.  Bale’s Wayne/Batman is probably his best performance of the character yet, with much of the deep self-reflection of Batman Begins as well as the all out action hero of The Dark Knight.  Add to this a wealth of solid, expertly shot action sequences (the new ‘bat’ plane – “this is no car!” – awesome) and this makes for the boldest entry of the entire franchise.  The writing does get a little sloppy, with a few too many ‘huh?’ moments for my liking.  There is also a theatricality to some of the acting that could be seen as a bit OTT (Michael Caine).  Yet overall Christopher Nolan proves himself once again a skilled craftsman – and this still packed one helluva punch.

Verdict:  4 /5

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