The Dark Knight Rises is one of the most anticipated movies in cinematic history. The epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan‘s Batman franchise, it sees Christian Bale reprise the role of Batman one last time to do battle with his most fearsome foe yet: Bane.
The film opens 8 years after its predecessor with Bruce Wayne now a recluse haunted by the tragic demise of his one true love. Gotham, all the while, enjoys a time of peace thanks to the introduction of the Dent Act to crack down on organised crime. But with the city’s peace built on a lie following the events of The Dark Knight in which Batman took the fall for his crimes, it’s not long before the aforementioned masked revolutionary arrives with a plan to bring the metropolis to its knees.
Played by Tom Hardy, Bane is a formidable foe for our hero who has been out of the game for almost a decade. Not only is he physically superior, but he’s a villain destined to also break the Batman on a psychological level. His plan, which we will not reveal here, is one that not only turns Gotham into a bloody war zone but is one equally intended to destroy the hope and spirit Batman stands for.
While Hardy may lack the terrifying menace of Joker, therefore, he’s a villain who feels like a serious match for our hero. Batman mustn’t just out-strength or out-smart him here; he must pour every inch of his being into stopping him and saving the people of Gotham.
Establishing Bane’s plan in the opening act of the film, the Nolan brothers’ script is a little bloated and muddled as it attempts to lay the groundwork. There are so many characters and so many interweaving story lines for each of them that The Dark Knight Rises gets off to a clunky start. But when it’s initiated and the clock starts ticking, the film is an eye-popping spectacle of jaw-dropping action scenes among the best ever committed to screen.
Consequently, the film feels just like the epic conclusion promised to us. The scope of Nolan’s final chapter is genuinely huge, personified by battle sequences that include over 11,000 extras and a football stadium set piece that will rip the air from your lungs.
But among the carnage are some brilliant intimate moments too. Bruce Wayne’s relationship with Selina Kyle, for example, provides some of the most entertaining moments of The Dark Knight Rises. Bale and Anne Hathaway have a sensational chemistry with her playfulness playing off the serious hero excellently. Even while she may not play a key role in the overall story, serving simply as an enigmatic sidekick to Batman, the Oscar nominated actress almost steals the show with her seductive, dazzling performance.
Also joining the cast are Joseph Gordon Levitt who plays an idealistic young police officer who plays a pivotal role in bringing hope when times are at their bleakest and Marion Cotillard as Wayne Enterprise’s new CEO who helps bring Wayne out of hiding and back into the batsuit. Sadly, neither are particularly well-developed here but nonetheless play crucial roles in this trilogy’s conclusion.
And what a conclusion it is. The Dark Knight Rises is everything that Batman fans have hoped for, bringing the trilogy full circle in explosive and epic fashion. It’s muddled, flawed and littered with plot holes, sure, but this is a blockbuster by which others pale in comparison. Right up until the awe-inducing epilogue, it’s a gripping, dazzling and politically relevant cinematic event that simply must not be missed.