The Dark Knight Rises
Is Rises going to get better than The Dark Knight? Is that actually possible? These are questions that have kept movie fans busy for weeks, if not months. With The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan brings his final installment and fulfills his Dark Knight Saga. Does this film close its trilogy on a strong note, or is Nolan completely wrong?
It all ends…
It will not have been an easy task for director Christopher Nolan to follow up on his own Dark Knight with the final installment in the Batman Saga. Everyone agrees; The Dark Knight was not only a very good comic book adaptation, it was a brilliant film overall. The way Nolan gave you a look into the psyche of The Joker gave an extra, dark layer to the film, so that the images stayed in your head for a long time. With The Joker locked up at Arkham Asylum, Bruce Wayne is retired. It’s eight years after the death of Harvey “Two Face” Dent and Batman no longer exists. What the hero has left behind is a better Gotham and a fair amount of damage to the now cane-walking Bruce Wayne. The peace that reigns in Gotham is not the peace that the people think they have. It is a peace that has its origin in the lie surrounding Dent’s death.
After a spectacular opening that wouldn’t look out of place in a new James Bond film (a series that Nolan would like to renew) we are introduced to the new enemy that is going to ruin the lives of the people of Gotham; bane. Forget the fake Bane from Batman & Robin. In fact, forget the whole movie, it’s better for you. Tom Hardy portrays Bane as a ruthless adversary who is not only physically stronger than Batman, but also possesses a highly refined mindset. Anne Hathaway puts down a stunning Selina Kyle, who obviously seems to have a double agenda in the form of Catwoman. When Hathaway was announced in this role, I had my doubts, but after seeing her in action, they completely disappeared. The beautiful Hathaway is not only a visual delight, her character is rock solid. Newcomers John Blake (Joseph Gorden-Levitt) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) quickly find their place in Nolan’s world. Characters that seem to hang loose for a while, appear to have a major influence on the story.
The comic book reader might know a little bit about what to expect after watching the trailers carefully, the non-fan with less insider knowledge (just make sure you’ve seen Batman Begins!) will also get a great movie up his sleeve that will keep you hooked from start to finish. It’s a long sitting, the film is almost two and a half hours long, but time flies once the story is set in motion. With a strong plot, big twists that you don’t see coming and a hugely satisfying ending, Rises manages to transcend the other comic films of this year.
Christian Bale once again puts on a strong Bruce Wayne, but he also plays better than we saw him do before in the Dark Knight Saga. You feel the pain that his character has, you feel the fatigue. When the battles with the superior Bane take place, you feel the strength Wayne must endure. The fact that Batman fights with fury behind him (he’s screaming!) is something we haven’t seen before. Bane is completely different from The Joker. Where Joker had to rely on chaos, Bane is much calmer. A character that gets a good layer of depth towards the end of the film, giving you a glimpse into his tragic past. Is Bane the angriest?
The action in The Dark Knight Rises does something I personally miss a lot in today’s movies. Fist fights are portrayed in a calm manner, so don’t expect twenty shots per ten seconds, so that the overview is completely lost. No, quiet camera work that lets us see what Batman is going through. In addition, computer effects have been used as little as possible and this makes the film appear extremely realistic. Even the stunts on a flying plane from the opening are actually performed. It fits the realism in this Nolan comicverse. No giant snakes coming from outer space to flatten the city, no men in flying suits. No, Batman comes to life in a completely real way.
Are there any downsides? Yes, a little one. Where Gotham City really felt like Gotham in Batman Begins, it’s a bit off in Rises. We now just see that shots were fired in Chicago and New York. This is reasonably concealable, but when Central Park is suddenly brought into view, the illusion that you are in Gotham is somewhat lost. Gotham is not in New York, although New York was of course the city where Batman fought in the comics, before the name Gotham was introduced. It is a small blemish on a film that can further be called the ultimate Batman film. A movie that I recommend you see in an IMAX venue, due to the fact that over an hour of footage was actually shot with IMAX cameras.
The Dark Knight Rises, Is The Movie Better Than The Dark Knight? Yes. And no. Perhaps. No idea. The movies are completely different. The Joker and Bane are like night and day, the stories are nothing alike. Impressive, they both are. The Batman Saga is complete. I feel sorry for the director who is going to make the next Batman movie. He has a lot to top…