While it may not reach the heights of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises proves to be a satisfying conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga. An emotionally fuelled film which has you at the edge of the seat throughout the films run time, The Dark Knight Rises utilises its tension by incorporating real world themes to it’s narrative arc.
Heavily inspired by two major comic books, “Knightfall” and “The Dark Knight Returns” , The Dark Knight Rises incorporates major panels from the books onto the screen. A major scene in the film is ripped straight from the “Knightfall” series where Bane and Batman brawl, not only is this scene a pivotal moment in the film but it is also a treat for the readers of the comic book. The Dark Knight Rises may not be quite a complete story when compared to The Dark Knight. It is very well known that the film has a few issues with its plot points and the questionability of its characters’ decision making. A major criticism is Jim Gordon sending the entire police force underground to smoke out Bane in which they end up trapped leaving Gotham defenseless. While this scene is pivotal to Bane seeing control of the city you can help but ask the question if Christopher and Johnathan Nolan couldn’t think of another way to achieve this moment. Symbolism was a main theme in The Dark Knight and it carries over into this film also. Batman was always supposed to be a symbol for the people of Gotham where anyone can don the suit and carry on the legacy. In the film’s final scenes we see Detective Blake take up the mantle of Batman and Bruce Wayne retiring. This scene is quite possibly the most important in the entire series as it shows Batman no longer needing Bruce Wayne and more importantly Bruce Wayne no longer needing Batman. With a runtime of nearly three hours, the film is placed nicely and no scene overstays its welcome. The film would have benefited if it let the film’s major moments sit with the audience a bit longer so the audience can have the impact of the scenes resonate with them more.
The returning cast members are as excellent as ever and Christian Bale quite possibly gave his best performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. They may not have stolen the show to the height of Heath Ledger’s Joker, but both Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy both give memorable performances. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman has a captivating presence in every scene she is in; while this is a more realistic take to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in Batman Returns, Hathaway still keeps those traits such as her cheeky humor, stealthiness, sexiness and fighting ability all of which helps Catwoman tick and is adored by fans from the source material. Tom Hardy’s Bane is a giant brute of a man who is not to be trifled with. He shows no remorse when trying to accomplish his goals and his acts of terrorism when taking control of Gotham. Majority of Hardy’s face was restricted by wearing the Bane mask but he was still able to convey his facial expressions and body language to deliver a fantastic performance…his voice on the other hand, while menacing as it is, can be found difficult to understand to hear what he is saying.
Moving away from the Chicago landscape, Gotham now has the looks and feel similar to New York’s Lower Manhattan. Filmed in multiple locations such as Pittsburg, India, London and all over Europe each location serves a key part into making Gotham what it is and Bane’s lair feeling authentic. Hans Zimmer returns once again to deliver a score which has more impact and tension resonating than the two films before it. “Why Do We Fall?” is a key example of a brilliant score elevating the tension in a high stakes stressful scene and quite possibly one of the best scores across the trilogy.
The Dark Knight Rises will always be compared to how it failed to reach the highest of its predecessors but that’s okay because its legacy will last forever. Ten years has flown by since its theatrical release and the impact of the film can still be felt upon re-watches. The film is a rewarding conclusion to this masterpiece of a trilogy and thank you to Christopher Nolan for saving the Batman franchise.