As always, standard spoiler warnings apply. Read at your own risk.
To the Summary!
Eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, Gotham City is virtually crime free. Batman/Bruce Wayne is in seclusion; Wayne Enterprises is running out of money, and a new threat arrives in Gotham City with a plan to save it by destroying it.
To the Cast!
Christian Bale – Bruce Wayne AKA Batman
Tom Hardy – Bane
Gary Oldman – Commissioner James Gordon
Anne Hathaway – as Selina Kyle
Marion Cotillard – Miranda Tate
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – John Blake
Morgan Freeman – Lucius Fox
To the Deeper Thoughts!
How does one top one of the greatest modern super hero movie franchises? If theatrical history has taught us anything, three is a dangerous number. X3 and Spider-Man 3 both had their share of plot and antagonist issues. Additionally, how does one top your own, best entry into a film franchise? The Dark Knight was (and is) hands down one of my favorite films of all time. Here, check my Flickchart, and you’ll see that The Dark Knight is number 1. But, The Dark Knight Rises comes in at 43. Which doesn’t mean much, as Flickchart still suggests I rank both of those with five stars on other sites. In talking with some co-workers who have seen The Dark Knight Rises, we all agree that The Dark Knit edges out based solely on the performance of Heath Ledger. But that’s a post for another time.
There are two performances I would like to highlight here.
First, Tom Hardy as Bane. I have seen and read a lot of criticism aimed at the clarity of Tom Hardy’s voice. To be honest, I could understand him just fine. I feel that it added a bit of menace to the character. He made you want to sit up and listen to what he had to say. He made you want to respect him. Now, this moves to my next point. He was massive. I was seriously afraid of Bane. He was huge, he had power and he know how to control it. You can best see this in his first battle with Batman. As Batman is going all out, Bane takes him apart. And then he breaks him.
All during the lead up to this film, a co-worker and I had a range of theories of how this movie would play out. Our favorite was that the movie would end with Bane breaking Batman, with a smash cut to black, followed by the credits. Talk about a gutsy end, right? But I do like how they did it, even paying homage to the comic. When I found out what Bane’s mask did, I was a bit underwhelmed, but given the restrictions of Nolan’s universe it fit.
Second, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. The best word I can think of to describe her performance is understated. I can’t (and won’t) compare her to Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on the character. I think that Anne Hathaway brilliantly plays the role of the thief looking for redemption, or at the very least a fresh start. She plays all the sides she needs to in order to survive, and right up to the end, you’re never really certain who she is working for.
Also of note is Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. When he was first announced, I posited that he might be playing Robin. (I swear! It was my fist thought about his role!) Turns out I was right. Kinda. Given a lot of the discussions throughout the movie, I’m more inclined to believe that Blake takes up the cowl, and stays Batman. Regardless, I would watch a movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the Nolan Batman universe.
Christian Bale once again turns in a fine role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I’ve never been bothered by the ‘Batman growl’ that others have complained about. Bale does tortured well; and in this movie Wayne is plenty tortured.
I’m going to wrap this up. I’ve already dropped some minor spoilers, and am quickly approaching the point of major spoilers. I know I’ve given the warning, but I really don’t want to ruin it for those that have not seen it.
I felt this was a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. In many ways everything came full circle. Was it the best of the three? I still don’t know. Heath Ledger lent a lot to The Dark Knight. Tom Hardy comes close to Ledger’s performance. I think final judgement will have to wait for a second viewing. If you liked the others, you will – at minimum – like this one.