Studio: Warner Bros. (2 hrs. 44 mins.)
Plot: Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.
Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Bottom Line: ***
By Laurence Washington
GOTHAM CITY — Writer/director Christopher Nolan has completed his Batman masterpiece.
Enter “The Dark Knight Rises” – the darkest and final edition to his Caped Crusader trilogy.
Unlike the Burton and Schumacher films, Nolan uses a realistic motif to walk a thin line between a fanciful super-hero adventure and reality.
Bat fans beware, the warning is on the marquee, “The Dark Knight Rises” is a dark and serious film, so don’t expect any “feel good” and “awe” inspiring Marvel universe moments. In fact, the film is laden with commentary on terrorism, economic instability and corrupt politicians.
Thankfully shot in the brilliant IMAX format, rather than that annoying 3-D, “The Dark Knight Rises” takes place eight years after the death of District Attorney Harvey Dent, supposedly at the hands of the Batman. Bruce Wayne has hung up his cape and cowl, and has gone into self-imposed seclusion at Wayne Manor. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) has rounded up Gotham’s most notorious criminals in the name of Harvey Dent, and the streets of Gotham City are once again safe.
Gotham City is now a prosperous metropolis. At least the rich people are doing well. That is until master terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) escapes from CIA custody and declares war on the affluent by attacking Gotham’s stock exchange. Using the threat of nuclear annihilation (never mind where he got the bomb), Bane redistributes the ruling class’s wealth, and then releases all of Gotham’s criminals to ravage and plunder the city.
These events cause Bruce Wayne to once again don his cape and cowl to save the day. However, after an eight-year hiatus, Batman is a little rusty and Bane is more than a match for him. Unlike the artful Joker, Bane is physically powerful, deliberate and calculating.
Bane is also not as colorful as a typical Batman villain, i.e. Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Freeze. And it bares mentioning that Heath Ledger’s “fiendishly gifted” Joker is solely missing from this film, but maybe that’s the point. “The Dark Knight Rises” has the feeling of dread throughout its three hours underlining Bane’s disturbing character.
Through all the chaos Bane unleashes, Bruce Wayne does manage to find a couple of love interest, environmentalist Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) and cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), who to Bruce’s surprise turns out to be the infamous Catwoman. Returning favorites inventor genius Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), who arms Batman with an array of new toys including a bat plane, and loyal Butler Alfred (Michael Caine), received a lot of screen time along with cast new comer Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays a young idealist detective.
“The Dark Knight Rises” is not as good as “The Dark Knight” — the best in the series. But that’s not to say it not a great film. What makes it great is Nolan kept a consistency with all three films skillfully weaving a tapestry that ties all three films together punctuated with surprising and pleasing plot twist. Bat fans will not be disappointed.So will Nolan do another Dark Knight film? There is a suggestion of that possibility. But only the box office knows for sure. After all, remember Spielberg’s Indiana Jones trilogies?
This was printed in the July 29, 2012 - August 11, 2012 Edition