The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Review by A.P. Fuchs
5 out of 5
It has been eight years since the Batman took the wrap for the murder of District Attorney Harvey Dent. Eight years since the last time the Dark Knight was spotted in Gotham. The streets are safe, the police are receiving praise for doing a good job–except Commissioner James Gordon knows it’s all based on a lie. About to come clean of what really happened that fateful night, Gotham is suddenly thrown into chaos at the hands of a mastermind, muscle-loaded criminal named Bane. With the city about to fall, the Batman must return to restore order to his beloved city otherwise it will fall into the hands of a sadistic genius bent on its destruction. To complicate matters, a mysterious female cat burglar is working out an agenda of her own and her endgame is tied into the legacy of Bruce Wayne.
Will Batman rise from the shadows to defeat evil once more, or has he had his day and should have stayed in the dark?
Saw the midnight screening of this gem before it hit theatres all over the world. This movie is epic on a scale that is hard to fit into a simple review, especially since I don’t want to give away any key plot points and/or spoilers.
The Dark Knight Rises picks up immediately after The Dark Knight storyline-wise, and eight years later in movie-time. Running throughout the whole flick are threads from Batman Begins and Dark Knight, plotlines that reach their ultimate climax in what I have to say is one of the best endings to a trilogy I’ve ever seen. It’s on par with, third-movie-wise, Return of the Jedi and Return of the King. All comes to a head as we’re led down a deep tunnel into who Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) truly is and what being Batman has done to him. Glimpses of his scarred psyche were hinted at in the previous two movies, but really get hit home in an emotional and powerful way throughout this final installment.
Batman himself also shines as he gets to show off his physical skill against a villain that can truly stand toe-to-toe with him, something we never saw in the previous two films. The battle with Bane (Tom Hardy) is realistic, strongly-delivered, and one where this reviewer felt the punches thrown as if it was happening to him. Yeah, it was that good of a fight.
The other Bat-flicks struggled with having two villains in the same movie. To be honest, I never thought I’d see the day where a superhero movie would have more than one villain and be just as good of a movie as if it had just one. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is the best rendition of the character I’ve seen on screen, both in movies and on TV. She had to play multiple roles given her identity as a thief and work her deception in such a way that a lot of the time we weren’t sure who’s side she was on. I’m an Anne Hathaway fan, but this movie easily contains her best career performance to date.
Bane was a crazy good villain, a kind of cross between Joker–intelligence-wise–and Ra’s Al Ghul–combat-wise–of the previous two movies. Especially since most of his face was covered with a mask throughout the whole flick, Tom Hardy had to act with his eyes in such a way as to deliver a performance as if he wasn’t wearing a mask at all. It was something he did in spades. Bane was one of those on-screen villains that you were afraid of because he’s that smart and that powerful and that sadistic.
Gary Oldman did an amazing job, as usual, as Jim Gordon, and Sir Michael Caine nailed it once again as Alfred. In fact, I’d be shocked if Sir Michael didn’t get an Oscar nomination for his emotional portrayal of a hard-headed vigilante’s butler.
It’d be so easy to give away several key plot points in this review, but I’m keeping it vague on purpose because you simply need to see this movie for yourself. You might think you have it figured out, but you’d be wrong, my friend.
All dangling story threads from the previous two movies are resolved, the SFX did its job but the movie didn’t rely on it, and The Dark Knight Rises had one of the best movie endings in history, to me, one equal to the incredibly-satisfying ending of The Shawshank Redemption.
Hats off to director Christopher Nolan and crew for the amazing stories and respect they delivered to Bat-fans everywhere throughout the entire Dark Knight Trilogy.
Good watch Batman. You must return to Gotham.