It’s here, the third and final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy so prepares yourselves for there’s a new cat (or two) in town. The Dark Knight Rises features Brit Tom Hardy as Bane, a burly masked figure that sounds like Darth Vader. No one knows where he’s from or what his plans are, we just know that he’s here to cause some major destruction. Forget exploding hospitals, Christopher Nolan takes it to the next level with exploding football fields and bridges. All of Manhattan is contained to a nuke bomb nursing underground, the Russian scientist who created the product is dead, and the Batman (along with Bruce Wayne) have been MIA for the last eight years.
One of the most creative scenes is the stock exchange stick-up. Bane walks in with his men and holds up the trading floor causing a delirious tension for the result which sees Bruce Wayne lose all of his money. From that, Bane’s goons steal all of those massive tanks which make ‘The Bat’ look like some dinky helicopter from the future. The city goes into catastrophe, the police are trapped underground, the rich are pulled out of their homes and all the prisoners kept from Harvey Dent’s act are freed. Moreover, Alfred (Michael Caine) leaves and Bruce gets in a terrifyingly violent fight with Bane that results in near death.
I sure got my wish fulfilled for more meaningful female characters. Anne Hathaway plays a delicious Catwoman and really works those high heels. But more importantly, she plays a desperate thief looking for a clean slate and can never get herself out of the gutter. She uses all her assets at every opportunity, from the damsel in distress to a sultry femme fatale. We also have a new Chairperson for Wayne Enterprises, Miranda (played by Oscar winner, Marion Cotillard) who turns out to have a lot more to offer than a large investment in better energy production. She has a wholesome feel to her that brings about a mysterious allure that keeps the audience far away from her true motives.
If you haven’t seen Batman Begins orThe Dark Knight, I’d highly recommend you catch up because there are very distinct parts from both films entangled in The Dark Knight Rises. There are scenes from each film that give us more insight to the fragmented double life of Bruce Wayne and the Batman that seem to come together to form one being that Christian Bale completely embodies in this final piece. Rather than searching out anger or discovering his limits, Bruce goes back to the beginning and tries to revive his childhood fears in order to succeed in this game.
Although I’m incredibly disappointed that Heath Leger’s Joker was not involved in this production, there were a series of returns from everyone else. Cillian Murphy returns not as the Scarecrow but as a spurious judge that only provides two options — death or exile (or in Gordan’s case, ‘death by exile’). There’s even a brief encounter with Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul that adds a whole other layer to the story that takes the second half of the film to an unexpected turn.
Bane begins the film with “It doesn’t matter who we are. All that matters is our plan.” This theme resonates through all the characters as we spiral down Christopher Nolan’s rabbit hole into a wicked world where no one is who they seem to be and you are perpetually surprised by each character’s every move. At the end it’s questionable whether the Batman will return or not after a questionable suicidal attempt to save all of Gotham and it looks like there are clues for the stories of some other comic book cats to be told on the big screen.