After Christopher Nolan re-introduced us to Gotham City via Batman Begins in 2005, we’ve finally come to the final conclusion of the Batman trilogy, and to say it is epic is some sort of understatement. The Dark Knight Rises certainly lives up to the premise of the first two predecessors while managing to highlight new accomplishments of its own.
The story begins eight years after where the last story finished, and Gotham City, to say the least, has been enjoying the peace and calmness that Batman provided since the tragic accident. Back on his renovated and much improved Wayne Manor, our hero’s alter ego Bruce Wayne has been living a pretty stagnant life, now on a cane, resigning from his Batman duties, and very aloof to others except for his trusty assistant (after all, he was pretty much exiled after taking the blame for what happened to Harvey Dent). It’s not until we’re introduced to Hannibal Lecter look-a-like character Bane that Batman felt the urge to step into his cape and save the day once again.
We were also treated to a plethora of new characters for this Nolan trilogy: Joseph Gordon Levitt as Batman loyalist John Blake, Marion Cotillard as co-executive and love interest Miranda Tate who serves as a perfect distraction to Bruce Wayne, and Anne Hathaway’s devilishly diva Selina Kyle and ferocious alter ego Catwoman. These characters added more interest and enjoyment in the film.
Christopher Nolan is probably one of the most critically lauded directors of the past decade and in the Dark Knight Rises, he leveled up another notch to come up with a good balance of satisfying both the eyes and the mind of the audience. There’s really something with his treatment of storytelling that gives his audience contentment and at the same time, leaving it open for different interpretations. I like how some of the situations can be juxtaposed with different current issues that a lot of countries are experiencing. I read that before he started the trilogy, he already had a planned ending, and I think that helped a lot with the direction he wants to tackle with this one. I know that one of Nolan’s weaknesses is the way he writes his female characters but both Miranda and Selina were probably some of his better outputs.
As for the technical achievements of the film, it definitely delivered. What I love about Nolan’s visuals is that they’re flashy but not over the top. Just take the bridge destruction scene in the first trailer; had it been any other director handling that scene, it would have been the primary focus. With Nolan, he doesn’t focus on the single part but its overall effect in the context of the movie. The cinematography was very pleasing to the eyes and the musical score helps set the mood regardless if it’s an action scene or simply a conversation one. I also took notice on how Nolan set up some scenes to be free of any sound; those quiet moments linger on the impending scene that’s about to happen.
It is noteworthy to mention that this one among the three movies featured Batman the least. However, that didn’t affect the overall movie as we’re being treated to all these other interesting characters. It also helped that the movie had a very capable ensemble with Christian Bale at his best as Batman, and Joseph Gordon Levitt in a pivotal role. All the regulars (Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman) already cemented their roles while still balancing the emotional gravitas with the action packed ones. Tom Hardy wasn’t given the best showcase, and comparisons with Heath Ledger’s Joker is really difficult to avoid, but come on, that is iconic and no one can touch Ledger’s Joker. Given the underdeveloped role, Hardy did the best he could with his Bane character. My favorite though is Anne Hathaway as Selina slash Catwoman who delivered expectations, giving a fun sassy vibe kicking asses and changing characters hysterically while at the same time being very effortless.
All in all, it wasn’t the perfect movie. There were areas that can still be improved every now and then; however, more than attempting to be the flawless flick, it was more than satisfying as a conclusion to this Batman trilogy. Christopher Nolan’s approach is the true gem of these three films with The Dark Knight Rises closing the whole series effectively.