Christopher Nolan concludes his much-lauded bat saga with The Dark Knight Rises. In keeping with the traditional upgrade to a higher status brunette in each chapter (Girl who survived Meryl Streep as her boss > Donnie Darko’s sister > Tom Cruise’s third (ex) wife), this outing sees Anne Hathaway dig her black, skin-tight catsuit out of the closet as she joins Batman in his fight against evil mercenary, Bane (Tom Hardy in a mask that’s less fetching than Christian Bale’s).
The positives of this picture include, alongside some heady action sequences, a deepening of the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred (Michael Caine in a role reprise), oppressively shot cityscapes and the refreshing choice to cast Joseph Gordon Levitt who plays the only bat fan, Commissioner Gordon aside, left in Gotham. Anne Hathaway purrs her way through the script, claws her way through the fight scenes and stretches out her long, limber limbs in a series of saucy outfits. What’s not to love about that? Marion Cotillard also puts in a solid stint as billionairess Miranda Tate but, much like Hathaway, is hampered by a flimsy back story.
Although this film has received five stars from many reputable media outlets, it is not perfect. The unnecessarily lengthy runtime alone leaves it lacking in comparison to The Dark Knight and Batman Begins. In addition to this the story is at times confused. I’m all for multi-layered resolutions but I prefer not to get distracted from the thrust of the narrative with petty questions like: where are the characters right now? When exactly is this happening in the timeline of events? Or so, why does Bane need a mask to breathe again? All these things are explained in part but sometimes a little too hazily.
Ultimately, however the biggest flaw of The Dark Knight Rises is its pronounced 12Aness – an element that was quietly concealed whilst Ledger’s Joker was busy blowing up hospitals in the last film. The sequences in which Bane and Batman engage in hand to hand combat are exemplary because they are fearless in their depiction of Bane’s brutality. When our ‘ruthless’ villain deals with the masses however the audience sees very little – if you don’t want to show a neck snapping maybe think of something better than just cutting away…or don’t put it in the script?
Although not an exceptional stand-alone film, The Dark Knight Rises is an impressive end to a trilogy, with the last forty five minutes proving particularly tense and epiphany-heavy. The journey as a whole is gratifying, particularly for fans of the comic book genre and given the ghosts of bat franchises past Nolan has done a commendable job of keeping studio politics at bay long enough to deliver the tale he wanted to tell.
Helen has awarded The Dark Knight Rises four Torches of Truth.