Is this the end to the Batman series? Is this really it? Is Nolan mad? Is he a genius? What did you eat for dinner? Honestly, I don’t know. This review shouldn’t have been written in the first place. The movie deserves an audience who goes to see it regardless of how good or bad its reviews have been. Nevertheless, here goes.
The Dark Knight Rises traverses the entire Batman universe created by Nolan. The director and his brother and fellow screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, set things up eight years after Batman took the blame for killing Gotham City’s DA, Harvey Dent. Bruce Wayne has now hung his cape and lives a secluded life in the reconstructed Wayne Mansion. The city is relatively crime-free thanks to the Dent Act promoted by Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman); an act passed on a lie that glorifies Harvey Dent and criminalizes Batman. So what brings Batman out of his mostly-self imposed exile and back to crime fighting? It starts with his interest in Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cat burglar (no, the movie doesn’t bill her as Catwoman). Hathaway and her extremely sexy character bring a dash of humour to the film, delivered through some very well-written lines. We are then led to Bane (Tom Hardy), with his undergorund sewer-based terrorist group and a rather mysterious past. This is the base upon which Bruce decides to don his cape again. The rest has to be experienced in a theatre.
As far as the characterization is concerned, Bane has his face covered by a mask for all but one scene of the movie. The mask is supposed to reduce pain which he suffered in his younger days. I feel that the mask adds character to his mysterious origins and drives audience attention more towards his brilliant screen presence. Christian Bale delivers yet another brilliant performance as he convincingly dives into the character of Bruce Wayne as well as his alter-ego, Batman. Every character is so well written – be it the super thief Selina Kyle or the philanthropist Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard). Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their fantastic portrayals of Commissioner Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox respectively. As an addition, the movie gets a fine touch by the character of Officer Blake, a dedicated cop, played superbly by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Visually, the film is very powerful. A lot of it has been shot with IMAX cameras and the visuals manage to shake you and push your perception to a new level without the use of any annoying 3D effects. The movie differs from the first two in the way it looks. This is because Gotham City was shot mostly in Chicago in the first two movies while in this one, it is mostly shot around Pittsburgh and New York. The action scenes are larger-than-life, just like the ones one would expect from any Nolan movie. This one however, weaves in a lot of drama within that.
This isn’t Nolan’s best movie but this is definitely the best Batman movie ever made and an almost brilliantly written end to the Bruce Wayne saga. Oh yes, The Dark Knight was exceptional, but it wasn’t as much about Batman as it was about Heath Ledger and his performance as the Joker.
The true winner in the movie however is Nolan’s vision. The meticulously written script of the movie is not flawless but a lot of its inconsistencies can be ignored keeping in mind that majority of the movie is grounded in reality despite this being a movie based on a comic book. I could even get into the so-called “plot holes” but I would hate ruining the movie for anybody. To conclude, this movie worked for me because of its sheer unpredictability. It is definitely a strongly recommended watch.