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Dark Knight Rises, The (2012)
Friday, July 20, 2012
Intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Josh Pence, Nestor Carbonell, Alon Aboutboul, Matthew Modine
Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer
It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
Dark Knight Rises, The (2012) | Review
Film And Reality Collide
The Dark Knight Rises is not as relentlessly dark as The Dark Knight. I didn't have that mounting tension in the pit of my stomach that just never stopped, but it is an intense and driven story with some moments that will make you wince at the brutality of its villain. Bane is much more straightforward as opposed to the insanity and unpredictability of the Joker. However, he's a much more powerful villain, and so the threat he presents has a different kind of danger, a more physical kind of danger. Tom Hardy is fine in the role, but behind the mask and with the distracting voice issues (which aren't entirely resolved), it's hard to take away much from his performance. Still, he does present an imposing force for Batman to fight against, and for this movie he's definitely the right bad guy. He's the one that can set events in motion that require the kind of finality and all out effort that the concluding film in Batman's trilogy needed.
And what a conclusion it is. While things are a little shaky in the early going while all the pieces are being put into place, once the film finds its footing it grips you and doesn't let go. The last hour or so is a relentless, breathless experience, and the final twenty minutes of the movie left my head spinning. Don't let anyone talk to you who's already seen it, don't let some of the surprises be spoiled or the key moments get ruined, so you can enjoy the full impact and emotion of them. And it is an emotional finale, in many ways. I don't really want to say more than that, but this is about as satisfying of a conclusion to Nolan's Batman saga as one could ask for and a fine way to say goodbye to these characters.
While Bane isn't the most memorable character in the film, Selina Kyle just may be. Anne Hathway gives quite the performance, capturing the playfulness and woundedness, the hard edge and vulnerability, and most importantly, the conflict of conscience that Catwoman is so well known for in the comics. I know there's been a lot of debate about how well Catwoman (which she's never directly called in the film) would or would not work in the Nolan Bat-verse, and I'm happy to say that she works just fine. Kyle's motivations for what she does are often ambiguous, but here, at least in part, they're made quite clear. Selina wants a "clean slate"; literally. She takes on a job in order to secure a computer program called "clean slate" that would wipe her record and allow her to enjoy a fresh start. The question is whether or not such a thing, a "clean slate", actually exists. Well I'm happy to say that it does, but it's not a computer program.
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