When Christopher Nolan took the mantle of the Batman franchise back in 2005 many people were skeptical. After all the last incarnation to appear on the big screen was the campy 1997 Batman & Robin starring George Clooney. He changed the face of the franchise however, by creating a dark, and very realistic version of the caped crusader. 3 years later he shocked the world when he cast Heath Ledger in the role of Batman’s arch nemesis The Joker, but once again he knocked it out of the ball park and created a role that earned Heath an Oscar. This time around there were very few people who questioned the choices he made, and the movie made many most anticipated movie lists for the year. Will The Dark Knight Rises live up to the hype, or will the series bow out with more of a whimper than a bang?
8 years have past since the events of The Dark Knight. Batman (Christian Bale) hasn’t been seen since Harvey Dent’s death, and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse. Things start to change however when Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway) steals his mother’s necklace and his fingerprints during a charity event held at Wayne Manor. Wayne’s curiosity is peaked enough for him to start investigating why he was targeted. Things heat up even more after Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is injured by the terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy), and Wayne is forced to bring Batman from out of hiding. In order to defeat Bane, Wayne needs to find the strength within himself to fight his own ailments, both physical and mental, and if he can’t Gotham will be destroyed by the hulking madman.
The Dark Knight Rises is a long movie, and at times it feels like it. The previous two movies were long as well, but they flowed a little better than this one did, and the main reason for it was due to their strong villains. Bane unfortunately just doesn’t cut it like other Batman villains did. He was created in the 1990′s as a way to defeat Batman, and really he should have disappeared after he was defeated in return. The things the character does is interesting, but unfortunately he is not. His voice is also irritating throughout the movie, sounding like a poor imitation of Sean Connery, which is not menacing at all. Catwoman on the other hand is very interesting. Of all the new characters introduced in this movie you find yourself drawn into her world. Even at the end of the movie you want to know more about her. Anne Hathaway played the role perfectly, and even outshines her predecessors. Criticisms aside, The Dark Knight Rises is still a very enjoyable film, and the last 45 minutes or so are a pure joy to watch. Christopher Nolan is a masterful storyteller, and if this is the last time he directs a Batman movie it will be a shame because he really understood the character. The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t stand out as well as the previous movies, but it still is a decent ending to the trilogy, and the ending leaves you thinking that there may be a sequel of sorts in the works.
While it still lags behind the Avengers in terms of being the best superhero movie of the year, The Dark Knight Rises is definitely a movie to see on the big screen. If you wait a few weeks to avoid the large crowds of the opening weekend, try to see it on an IMAX screen because the extra footage shot for it looks amazing and is well worth the extra cost of the ticket.