In 2005, Christopher
Nolan took over a Batman franchise that had been hobbled by the campy
stylings of Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin.
His initial entry, Batman
featured an emphasis on realism
and the dark psychology of the Batman character. In 2008, he
improved on the formula with The
a fascinating look at the psychological codependence of Batman and
his arch-nemesis, The
Joker. With The Dark Knight
Nolan is faced with the unenviable task of living up to the two
previous films in the series as well as concluding the story arc that
Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom
The third film begins eight years after the events in The Dark Knight.
Batman hasn't been seen since the death of former Gotham CIty
District Attorney Harvey Dent.
Dent's passing has led to the creation of the Dent Act, a set
of laws that's made it much easier for the police in Gotham to put
criminals in jail. As such, the city has become free of
organized crime and the streets are now considerably safer than they
were prior to Batman's arrival.
Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has been holed up in a self-imposed exile
in Wayne Manor since the death of his beloved Rachel Dawes eight years
ago. He is a shell of his former self. His body now
shows the toll of his stint as Gotham's caped crusader. Through a
combination of events involving a cat burglar named Selina
Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and an ambitious young policeman named John Blake
(Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Wayne learns of a new criminal named Bane (Tom
Hardy), who is somehow connected to one of Wayne's financial rivals.
When Bane attacks Gotham's Stock Exchange, Batman comes out of
retirement but doesn't yet realize that he is facing his most
formidable foe to date.
Unfortunately, The Dark Knight Rises
is overly ambitious in its attempt to provide an
epic conclusion to the "Dark Knight" trilogy. Nolan tries to tie
up some loose ends from the first two films but also seems hell-bent on
introducing more complexity into those same storylines. Without
spoiling anything, the film becomes a bit too bogged down in exposition
for a trilogy's final installment. A lot of time is spent getting
Bruce Wayne back into fighting shape and, as such, there's precious
little Batman in this final Batman film even though it clocks in at
nearly three hours long.
Still, Bane provides an excellent foe for Batman. Tom Hardy's
portrayal is quite good even though his facial features are hidden
behind Bane's mask and his voice is occasionally unintelligible as a
result of the same mask. Hardy still manages to convey Bane's
wits as well as his obvious physical prowess.
Anne Hathaway nearly steals the show as the slinky Selina Kyle.
Although she's never refered to as Catwoman in the film, that's
the character she plays and she does a fantastic job. Selina Kyle
is cunning, sexy, and duplicitous as the cat burglar who sees herself
as a modern day Robin Hood of sorts. I much prefer her portrayal
to that of Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns.
Christian Bale's third outing as Bruce Wayne/Batman might be his best
from a performance standpoint but the character seems to have taken a
step backward from the two previous films. Bruce Wayne is
emotionally as well as physically crippled but retains an unusual
sense of confidence in his abilities after donning his Batman garb.
It's frustrating to see Wayne have to spend so much screen time
trying to regain the confidence that his alter ego seems to be possess
For all its faults, The Dark Knight
Rises does provide a suitable and satisfying conclusion to
Nolan's Batman trilogy. I really enjoyed the action scenes and I
liked the possible directions for the franchise that Nolan sets up at
the end. (Again, I won't spoil anything by explaining.) I
just wish there had been more Batman action and less Bruce Wayne
soul-searching this time around since the series had spent so much
time and care developing the character leading up to this film.
Still, it's a good superhero movie and remains highly watchable.
It's just not as kick-ass as I'd hoped it would be.
Around 10,000 extras were used to shoot the Gotham Rogues scene in
Heinz Field. Some of the Pittsburgh Steelers played football players,
including Hines Ward, who played himself.
Internet Movie Database)