I’ve lived to only have seen one great trilogy. The Lord of the Rings trilogy set the bar high and absolutely astounded me from start to finish. Meaning all three movies lived up to their titles and I wasn’t disappointed by any of it. This past weekend, I’m proud to admit to adding another trilogy to that list. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is quite possibly the only way to end such a great trilogy. There haven’t been many great trilogies in our lives, not any as influential and culturally relevant as this trilogy. In addition to the recent Colorado incident, this will not be a movie I will soon forget.
The follow up to the Dark Knight might’ve cost Christopher Nolan the biggest undertaking ever placed on a director. That movie was simply a masterpiece, large in part to the late Heath Ledger. By merely meeting the audiences expectations, he would’ve accomplished something only so few people can. But of course, Christopher Nolan, who’s directing track record is nearly flawless, delivered and soared as to what can be said as the perfect way to end a trilogy. Minor spoilers below. Nothing back breaking. Or should I say Bat breaking. HA.
It’s been 8 years since the Harvey Dent incidence and the city is benefiting from the actions of Gotham’s White Knight. Batman and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) have since then disappeared. But both are called back into the streets when a cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and a terrorist, Bane (Tom Hardy), start appearing and interfering with Gotham. To assist him as usual are his loyal butler Alfred (Michael Caine), his CEO of Wayne Industries, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Commisioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), and newcomers: a cop named John Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and an investor into Wayne Enterprises, Miranda Tate (Marion Collitard).
Bane has a plan for Gotham and when Batman tries to get in his way, he teaches Batman and Bruce Wayne a lesson or two. Bane is a truly fearsome enemy to behold. The efforts of Tom Hardy’s exercise regime and some camera placement makes Bane a tall, large, and towering foe. His fighting style is very thick and by the look of it his arms are like hammers, throwing anything they come in contact with away. Batman’s fight with Bane is fairly exciting for this series, especially considering there haven’t been many one on one fights this straightforward. The previous ones have had little choreography involved, or as a means to say that less choreographed than this one.
But Bane is not all brawn and fighting like in Batman Forever. He as cunning as he is remorseless. Whilst tearing the faces off both friends and foes alike, he has a strict code that he applies to everyone in a black and white manner. His subjects are completely loyal to him, willing to die at command. The efforts of Tom Hardy must be noted as well. Despite 60% of his face being masked, emotion is still portrayed very well, especially through the eyes. Not having much else to work with, Tom Hardy’s eyes are a large amount of expression for the villain. While not near as entrancing as Ledger’s Joker, Hardy’s Bane is a worthy followup to the villain, even giving him a more fitting mask back story for Nolan’s universe [pain moderator].
While Bane perpetuates about 60% of the story, he’s definitely in company of others moving the plot forward. Selina Kyle, aka, Catwoman, also plays a pivotal role in the movie. If you’re familiar with the comics or even even the Batman games, you know Catwoman is a flaky, flirtatious, and dangerous sort of woman. Anne Hathaway is playful and sexy enough to play the ambitious role, though I prayed she would’ve been a little bit more developed in the insecurity we came to love in the comics and games. As for her role in the movie, she’s definitely a key character, allowing some characters to do things otherwise undo-able and setting up for some of the pivotal roles in the movie.
Another big player in the movie was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake, who plays a hardworking orphan cop who’s just trying to clean up the streets. He’s partnered with Commissioner Gordon a lot of the time. He’s given a large amount of screen time for a newcomer character that doesn’t have a mask on. Which was fairly strange given the large amount of characters already on screen. Also warranting a lot of screen time is Marion Colitard, who plays a key pivotal role in the movie’s big finale.
The story plays out like most superhero movies do, though not with traditional Nolan complexity. There’s a lot of focus on the ramifications of Bane’s terrorist ways and how people act under oppression or rather lack of oppression in some eyes. I won’t get too deep into the spoilers at the moment. All I can say is that the story is really well written and wraps up the trilogy in what is likely the best way possible. I’ll be sure to open up a spoiler thread tomorrow if we all truly like to discuss what happens.
Aside from all the Batman galore, the action and editing is as beautiful as other Nolan movies. City landscapes are in awe to see, whether or not bridges are being destroyed in them or not. The choreography in the fighting scenes are absolutely ambitious in scale that warrant a “How on earth did he keep in control of this many people or cars”.
I can’t say the film has it’s issues, because they’re absolutely minuscule compared to the grand scale of how amazing this movie was. I won’t say it was better than the second, or even better than the first, but I stand by saying that simply meeting out expectations was an absolute achievement that any man could put in their book and rest peacefully in their grave. If I had to point out some issues, it’d be 1) a relative lack of Batman lol. 2) Some dialogue was hard to hear and maybe 3) ….ah hell I couldn’t think of issues if I had tried. The movie was long enough, asking for anymore or trying to delete other stuff to fit more stuff in would either create a 4 hour movie [which I would still watch] or a hacked up version of what we’ve seen. Regardless, I think Nolan did a fine job with this finale and it simply means Nolan will be a force to be reckoned with from here on out.