Jul 25 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
The Dark Knight Rises
THE Dark Knight Rises is the closing chapter of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Batman (Christian Bale) is forced to resurface after being branded a villain when terrorist leader Bane (Tom Hardy) and mysterious cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) arrive in Gotham City.
I don’t often get really, truly, like a kid again excited and giddy about cinema releases now I’m officially a grown-up but ever since Batman rode off on his Batpod a condemned hero in 2008’s masterpiece The Dark Knight I have been desperate to see the next installment in my favourite superhero’s story.
And here we are. The Dark Knight Rises has arrived, and one word sums it up best; wow.
Nolan is a true genius and one of my favourite ever directors and he has created an exemplary end to his Batman story.
As good as Batman Begins and The Dark Knight? Up for your own debate. I would put it above the former and on par with the latter.
But what isn’t in doubt is that this is one of the best movie trilogies ever, sitting alongside the likes of The Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future and the original Star Wars.
Nolan co-wrote the screenplay with brother Jonathan and story with David S. Goyer and packs the film with themes of redemption, terrorism, rebellion and class war as everything from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to the Occupy Wall Street protest act as apparent inspiration.
The scale is simply epic. A spectacular start sees aerial action filmed over the skies of Inverness and the action doesn’t let up.
Mass explosions lay waste to much of Gotham City, the first Batman/Bane fight scene is truly awesome, and the choice to set the last third during the winter adds wonderful levels of beauty and melancholy.
New vehicle The Bat suitably soars, the Batpod and several Batmobiles make welcome returns and Hans Zimmer’s score makes for a stirring musical accompaniment.
But, as with Nolan’s previous Batman movies, the action never overwhelms or takes precedent over a top drawer cast.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Michael Keaton in the cowl but Bale has become the definitive Batman.
Bruce Wayne starts the film as a recluse and Bale shows vulnerability, sadness, inner strength and bone-crunching physicality during his up and down journey back to being Batman, sharing fabulous scenes with old favourites Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius) and Michael Caine (Alfred).
Englishman Hardy is a terrifying powerhouse and concerns over understanding his voice behind the mask prove to be unwarranted.
Brain as well as brawn and an interesting back story take him a long way away from Joel Schumacher’s hideous take on the character in Batman & Robin.
Hathaway had big heels to fill on the back of Michelle Pfeiffer’s stunning previous turn as Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns but she’s terrific as a smart and sexy character who plays both sides (“I’m adaptable”) and shares some nice banter with Bale.
Series newcomer Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s (John Blake) character was shrouded in much pre-release speculation and without giving anything away, he plays an impressive, important part.
Flaws? It’s a bit long and Bruce’s romance with Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate is very rushed but I’m clutching at critical straws here.
And the ending? Perfect. I left the cinema feeling exhilarated as Nolan wrapped up his trilogy in the most glorious fashion.
I may be a bit bias because of my love of Batman and this trilogy but The Dark Knight Rises is cinema spectacle at its finest and gets a Bunting at the Movies first ever...
Rating – 10 out of 10.