A fire has risen from the depths of hell to wash away the filth of Gotham, coming forth in the form of a man named Bane. He only wishes to watch the sprawling city burn to the ground, and finish what many before him have set out to accomplish. Gotham has become a cesspool of crime and class division, ever more burdened by a spreading dog-eat-dog mentality that has turned even the most innocent of people into selfish cowards. After the events that led to Harvey Dent’s death, Batman has exiled himself from the city in order to uphold an ideal that he thought would pull the people up from their bootstraps and into benevolent action. Well, that ideal did not bring about the fruits he and Commissioner Gordon so labored for, and with Bane spreading fear and disaster so efficiently, Batman must be forced make his triumphant return.
The Dark Knight Rises is the final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s darkly superhero trilogy, tying up the trials and tribulations of a tortured soul who wishes to avenge the death of his parents by saving the city that they worked so hard to save and rebuild. Be it Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows with their secretive methods of destroying civilizations, Scarecrow’s fear toxin and its widespread terror, or the Joker with his psychotic and calculated execution of destruction and comic-styled mayhem, the Batman has risen to the occasion and made the sacrifices necessary to keep Gotham and the people he so believes in out of their maniacal grips. Although this time, Batman, and his overshadowed real identity of Bruce Wayne, must face an enemy that is overtly powerful in body, mind, and spirit. Bane is cold, calculating, genius, and a brute force to be reckoned with. He is so dangerous that Bruce and those that know him fear for his well being. Yet, Batman cannot stand idle while his poor city is slowly torn apart, and takes action against this new evil in Gotham city.
Unlike the previous two films, there is a strong sense of absolute doom for Gotham. Bane is a clean and efficient machine of destruction, and takes no shortcuts in making sure Gotham burns completely to the ground. The stakes are so high, that Batman must rely even more so than previously on those willing to help him, including the newcomers Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, and the ambitious rookie cop John Blake, as well as Comissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox. As the film progresses, this continuing sense of doom begins to grow larger, more complex, and multifaceted. There is so much going on at any given time that the film sometimes buckles under the weight of its own narrative, but for the most part Nolan weaves the formal aspects of his epic tale almost seamlessly.
All of these interweaving aspects eventually lead to the triumphant climax of the film, one so amazingly grand that you will be on the edge of your seat for most of the latter part of the film. Among the explosive battles between good and evil, new doors open that reveal more than a few surprising twists for those who are completely in the dark to certain aspects of the Batman canon.
The Dark Knight Rises is quite a fitting end for one of the most epic superhero trilogies made in the history of cinema, despite its sometimes noticeable technical and narrative missteps. Nolan’s penchant for close-ups in the film sometimes clash with his angled, unorthodox medium frame shots, which muddles his creation of space. While most of the time this was of minor consequence, on more than one occassion this would lead to a detraction of the drama that takes place within the screen space, and thus indirectly affect the narrative being presented. Tom Hardy’s exceptional performance as Bane though, combined with Anne Hathaway’s incredibly sexy and true-to-form portrayal of Selina Kyle, brings the film to an ever higher level of greatness. This truly is the summer blockbuster to end all summer blockbusters. Go see it now!
9 out of 10