Reviewed by Sam Robinson
Rated M. Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway
For quite some time I’ve wondered why people still live in Gotham City.
The town is riddled with crime. It’s a civilisation split between the innocent and the criminals who seem to escape prison every second Wednesday. The Dark Knight Rises, the thrilling conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s incredible Dark Knight Trilogy, returns to Gotham City eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has hung up his batsuit to work on growing his facial hair and covering up his possessions with sheets as the city appears to be relatively peaceful for once.
Gotham peaceful? That’s not why we paid good money to see this film! Enter new villain Bane (Tom Hardy), a bulky intimidating figure set on destroying Gotham City. Unfortunately his scariness is watered down due to the face respirator covering his mouth making him sound like he’s talking through a bathmat. Bane’s appearance in town challenges fellow muffled voice Wayne to have a shave and reappear as Batman (perhaps these two should get together for a lemon & honey tea?)
I won’t drop any spoilers here, but you can believe your friends’ Facebook status updates that this film is indeed ‘epic’. At nearly three hours in length, and with a budget of $250 million, this isone massive film that hooks you in during the first scene and keeps you gripped right until the closing credits.
Having been a fan of the first two films in this trilogy, I was a sucker for this one. I loved it. But one thing that really surprised me was that across the three hours we don’t see a whole lot of Batman himself. The film isn’t about Batman though. It’s about the battle for Gotham. Bane wants to destroy it. Batman wants to save it. And Nolan taps into the post-September 11 fear of terrorismto bring this battle up a notch or two. Justice is a big theme throughout this film. Everyone in Gotham is looking for it in some way. Batman is seeking it, but unlike God, his motive isn’t love. Batman struggles between dealing out justice to his enemies and becoming like his enemies in his constant brooding anger.
I found it hard to find flaws in this film. Anne Hathaway’s role as cat burglar Selina Kyle/Catwoman which freaked out fanboys and fangirls on announcement is actually really good. There’s also a lot less gadgets in this one – the most notable one is ‘The Bat’ – Batman’s new aircraft that looks remarkably like a flying black lobster.
Some scenes blew my mind (see: Gotham Stadium scene) but perhaps the most refreshing thing is that the majority of the movie is set in daylight. Not in the gritty darkness we might be used to in Gotham. Gotham City is gripped by sin and fear. It represents a helpless, chaotic, fallen world that needs someone to save them – and who can’t distinguish their hero Batman from their tyrants.
From me, The Dark Knight Rises gets 4 out of 5 stars.