Movie Reviews

The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Running Time: 167 mins
Rated: PG - 13
Cast: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman


As I fumbled in the midst of the darkness for my seat I could almost feel the thick anticipation that hung in the air. When the first visuals appeared on screen it triggered applauses from the audience. Fast forward to two hours forty minutes ahead as the first credit marking the end of the film appeared, the applauses were much more pronounced this time around. So from the outset it was evident that the majority of people at the cinema were avid fans of Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman. The question that begs to be asked is if the film warranted applauses from the start of the film and at its end. In answering this question one has to filter in the obvious bias the moviegoers had towards the film. The answer is a resounding YES. The Dark Knight Rises does deserve a standing ovation because of its meticulous storyline. The director and his team manage to appease the hard-core fans, whose past romance with the last two films Batman films could have easily blinded them from being objective in their analysis of the film.

True to his solid past in directing good films, Nolan does not disappoint his legion of fans with yet another solid performance. Nolan co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan and they prove yet again, that they are a formidable force to be reckoned with. Initially, Christopher Nolan was not that enthusiastic about doing the third installment in the series, but changed his mind when he felt he could develop the story with a good ending with his brother and the story by David Goyer.

To truly appreciate this film one has to have an in-depth knowledge of the previous two films in his Batman series. The Dark Knight is a third and final installment in Nolan’s trilogy. It is a sequel to Batman Begins (2005) and the The Dark Knight (2008). The film sees Christian Bale reprise his role in the lead as Bruce Wayne, including his alter ego Batman. Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Cillian Murphy as Dr Jonathan Crane, sees them return in the cast. New inclusions in this final installment include Anne Hathaway playing the character of a cat burglar in mask and as Selina Kyle.

Most of the moviegoers might still have nostalgic memories of Batman’s previous nemesis, The Joker. I am sure many critics were nervous that the next villain would fail to top the sheer brilliance of the late Heath Ledger. Ledger redefined the character of The Joker with an outstanding performance and ushered the character into the hall of fame of the best villains that Hollywood has had in the past. This time around we are introduced to a new antagonist called Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Hardy does justice to the character and shows us that there is life after The Joker. Marion Cotillard as a businesswoman Miranda Tate completes the very impressive cast.

One thing I have always disliked about some movie reviews in the past is their tenacity to give away the crucial bits of the film. So in the remainder of this review I will try to avoid that. The story does pick up from the previous Dark Knight were District Attorney Harvey Dent’s death was used as a measure of maintaining peace in Gotham City. However eight years after his death which lead to the creation of a legislature called the Dent Act, peace will again face serious challenges as the past comes back to haunt those who so jealously guarded, it despite the fact that is was based on lies of the perceived heroism of Harvey Dent.

Christopher Nolan is known for directing tightly interwoven story lines and in this case manages to brilliantly bring the strands together with ease and in superb style. While the film does not have the fun bits of its last two predecessors, it does take a much more serious and darker tone. In the last two films we saw brilliant drawn out entrances from Batman and extremely impressive gadgets. This time around Nolan 'humanizes' Batman as a character and makes him much more vulnerable. In this way it's easier to connect to the character. Unlike the last time, Batman’s role as the  protagonist of the story does not get overshadowed by the antagonist, as witnessed in the The Dark Knight in the form of The Joker. One thing I did not warm up to entirely, was the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. At times it over dramatised  the scenes and I felt it could have been much more restrained.  It lacked the same subtle intensity  that The Dark Knight had. It does however not detract from the story. 

As the film title suggests, The Dark Knight is not just about hero versus villain. It’s much more about darkness rising over evil and for that to happen sacrifices of extreme proportions have to be made. One has to watch the film in light of the other two in the trilogy, to truly appreciate the last of the three. With that said the Dark Knight gets a solid eight out of ten. This movie deserves close to three hours of your life fixated on a large screen.

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