The caped crusader’s curtain call: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Published: August 12, 2012

This monster is introduced in a stunning James Bond style opening. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

At its most intense, The Dark Knight Rises is blacker than black, with scenes so bleak and intense that you may have to remind yourself to keep breathing steadily. Thanks to the magnificent composition by Hans Zimmer, the bleakness is well accentuated by a haunting crescendo of rhythmically beating tribal drums that nearly overwhelm your senses. This is fitting, because the villain in The Dark Knight Rises, the malevolent Bane (Tom Hardy), is a real psychotic beast.

This monster is introduced in a stunning James Bond style opening, involving a breathtaking plane stunt sequence. Here, we learn that Bane is a heartless terrorist who commands a crazed militia with an eerie level of loyalty. We also immediately note that Bane curiously breathes through a masked apparatus, which gives his voice an almost inaudible pitch, and adds to his mystique. While purists may find Bane’s revised origins and his more realistic physical proportions out of sync with the comic books, they should appreciate the real world feel he has been given in typical Christopher Nolan fashion.

The Dark Knight Rises, the third instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, is set seven years after the tragic events of The Dark Knight (2008) where billionaire Bruce Wayne, as the masked vigilante superhero Batman, took the blame for the crimes committed by Two-Face/Harvey Dent in order to protect Gotham City. Now, still haunted by the murder of his parents and the woman he loved (and dogged by the police to boot) Wayne is shown to be a man with both a battered body and soul.

This is fitting because this film is as much about Batman as it is about Bruce Wayne, and is a fine characterisation of a man who finally completes the emotional and spiritual journey which started in Batman Begins (2005). Christian Bale has continually given great performances in the last two Batman movies and I can safely say that he doesn’t disappoint.

The father figures in the film are Bruce’s loyal butler Alfred (Michael Caine), and Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman), who are played in fine performances as men with some heavy guilt to bear themselves. Some of the other performances are also top notch. Anne Hathaway is very feline in her unexaggerated movements as the sultry cat burglar Selina Kyle, who comic book fans will recognise as Batman’s on-again, off-again love interest, Catwoman. Interestingly enough, she is never referred to as ‘Catwoman’ in this movie. While her characterisation of the ‘unwilling rogue’ archetype isn’t particularly original, she steals most of her scenes with her engaging performance. The other strong character is John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who plays an ever-evolving cop with enormous potential and heart. He has some really absorbing scenes with Bruce Wayne/Batman that one will find more enriching on a repeat viewing.

The film’s plot sees the destruction of half of Gotham City and you know it’s serious when the Batman is forced to try and save the day in daylight. In typical Nolan fashion, there are plenty of surprising twists in The Dark Knight Rises, which to some may seem abrupt, but which are clearly foreshadowed throughout the movie.

The Dark Knight Rises isn’t without fault however, with a few plot points that feel contrived or illogical. The most glaring one is how Bruce Wayne escapes a prison and travels between continents in an instant, without any resources to speak of. I surely would like to meet his travel agent. And while at nearly three hours long, the film is admirable for being highly cohesive in spite of the complex plot and the bloated cast, an unwelcome casualty are the citizens of the Gotham, who are not given much focus in the midst of the tragedies which befall their city.

But while The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t quite rise to the narrative near perfection of its predecessor, it certainly soars above any Batman film in terms of action. The mixed martial arts fight sequences between Batman and Bane are superbly choreographed, and are unlike those of any other superhero film in terms of style or effect. Furthermore, the last thirty minutes of The Dark Knight Rises are an amazingly emotional ride, which brings the film, and the trilogy, to a conclusion that is highly satisfying, albeit uncharacteristically conventional. But that’s alright, because if there is one trilogy that deserves a touch of the conventional, it is Christopher Nolan’s Batman.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 12th, 2012.

Reader Comments (16)

  • Falcon
    Aug 12, 2012 - 3:36PM

    The movie would have been better had they been more just to the character of Bane at the end.

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  • Aug 12, 2012 - 4:34PM

    I love Batman

    Recommend

  • irfan
    Aug 12, 2012 - 5:46PM

    I am a huge fan of Chris Nolan’s Batman series. Although all of the three movies are outstanding but I rank ‘The Dark Knight’ higher than ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. ‘Bane’ was not as good as ‘Joker’. My ranking Batman Begins (8/10), The Dark Knight (10/10) and TDKR (8.5/10).

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  • Brad
    Aug 12, 2012 - 6:12PM

    @Falcon:
    i hear they had an origins scene for bane that was filmed but cut out of the film. hopefully chris nolan will find it in his heart to make a directors cut with that scene and the other scene of bane that was cut. it should give more of a background to him

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  • zaid rahim
    Aug 12, 2012 - 7:57PM

    one of the best movies i’ve ever seen!

    Recommend

  • Fed-up!
    Aug 12, 2012 - 9:19PM

    Uffffffff… this was the most annoying of installments… too many unnecessary scenes, Bane was super useless with the silly mask… totally over-done… it was so totally bollywoodsy.Recommend

  • grecko
    Aug 12, 2012 - 10:26PM

    its 8 not 7 years

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  • Aug 13, 2012 - 12:07AM

    @Fed-up!:

    Your punishment must be more severe.

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  • Cribs
    Aug 13, 2012 - 12:15AM

    @Fed-up!:

    Super useless??? He broke Batman’s back.

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  • Mudabbir
    Aug 13, 2012 - 12:58AM

    I LOVED this Film!
    Its emotional & thrilling ride was just Unbelievablely AWESOME!

    I don’t wasn’t to go on & on to say how much I love it!
    Just will give numbers:
    BATMAN BEGINS: 9/10!
    THE DARK KNIGHT: 10/10!
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: 9.9/10!
    BUT I prefer TDKR over TDK… Cuz of its emotionality, action & ENDING!
    & NOLAN managing to make 3 INCREDIBLE films! (4, if add INCEPTION as well)!

    On that plot-hole:
    NO! It’s not a plot-hole!
    I’ll explain it; hopefully u get it!
    In all films they’ve consistently shown BATMAN escaping infront of Gordon while he’s distracted & BATMAN does it very often! It’s the part of BATMAN’s majesty that you don’t know HOW he does certain things! He’s Über-Realistic in NOLAN-VERSE but he’s still a SUPERHERO with lots of powers we DON’T KNOW! & are NEVER TOLD!
    They never say he travelled over-night to reach Gotham from that Pit… Cuz when 3 SpecialForces officers bodies were hanged, there are 23 days left in bomb to go off!
    Bruce could’ve taken just a few more days to escape & travelled back to Gotham in 15-20 days!
    As he traveled in BB, from Gotham to Burma as thief! & he has several contacts worldwide; He can get back in 2+ weeks; HE’S BRUCE WAYNE! He’s broke but not dead!!
    Now how he got back in Gotham… Well anyone can come in… Like SpecialForces guys came… With some Food Supply truck!
    You can’t leave Gotham… But you can come in!
    I hope it explains… & anyother issue anyone has is just the matter of Observation!
    NOLAN is too smart to have these plot-holes!
    A guy who can Write & Direct MEMENTO, PRESTIGE & INCEPTION is too smart for these small “mistakes”!!

    Recommend

  • Arsalan
    Aug 13, 2012 - 6:47AM

    there HAS to be a director’s cut to this.. it was EPIC.. the translation from a comic (the legend of batman), to how that legend was made, and to showcase it in the real word, it was off the charts!!! not for one second did i think about comparing it with the previous films, and that makes me realise just how good the dark knight rises actually is.

    @mudabir : totally agree with you. its just limited thinking on the part of the observers rather than assuming the obvious. my friend with me at the movie was asking all these questions in real time, and how you put it is exactly what my responses were.

    it was amazing! christain bale is just incredible! he is perhaps the greatest actor of his generation.

    Recommend

  • CraliaFrile
    Aug 13, 2012 - 8:15AM

    Hi-ya, I`m new here. I`m sorry if this Isn`t the right section for this post but I was looking forward a member here on tribune.com.pk would be ok to show me where I can watch the movie The Dark Knight Rises Online for free. ThanksRecommend

  • Supressed, Opressed, Depressed
    Aug 13, 2012 - 3:06PM

    I really wanted Nolan to introduce Robin into his trilogy and boy did he make me happy. you forgot to mention that the character John Blake is shown to be a future ROBIN. The new calling sign that is left behind had a robin shape on it rather than a bat’s.

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  • Aug 13, 2012 - 7:16PM

    @Supressed, Opressed, Depressed:

    I didn’t ‘forget’ to mention a spoiler. :)

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  • Ahmed Khan
    Aug 15, 2012 - 4:50AM

    Heath Leadger YOU cant take that man ever.

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  • Fed-up!
    Aug 19, 2012 - 4:57PM

    BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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