After the overwhelming success of The Dark Knight, many were left wondering how a successor could possibly live up to the seemingly insurmountable standards set by the overnight blockbuster hit. But after four years of building anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises has proven to be worth the wait, surpassing high expectations with all the drama, action and adventure that makes for an incredible film.
The film takes us to eight years after the sadistic Joker first held Gotham City in a web of terror in The Dark Knight. Once an eccentric socialite, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has since retreated from the world, confining himself to the walls of his manor. But as a new villain, Bane (Tom Hardy), emerges to terrorize the city, Wayne is forced to make his return as Batman, only to find himself in a position worse off than before. He must trust and rely on Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and the Gotham police force in order save the city, all the while trying to save himself from a life destined to end in emptiness and misery.
An all-star line-up consisting of several main cast members from Nolan’s last film, Inception, excels at embracing their new roles and creating strong, well-developed characters in The Dark Knight Rises. Two of the more controversial casting decisions in the film centred around the addition of less popular characters like the latest villain, Bane, and Catwoman.
Anne Hathaway portrays the sly and sexy Selina Kyle/Catwoman, who becomes an essential ally to Gotham’s resurrected hero Batman, despite ulterior motives of her own. She proves to be just as capable and dangerous as the toughest of criminals, and the part is played with style and taste.
Tom Hardy fills the roll of the newest villain, Bane. While not as memorable as Heath Ledger’s Joker, viewers learn more about the man behind the mask and his malicious muscular outer shell as the film progresses. While his mask prevents him from revealing much emotion, his eerie speech style and intimidating physique create a dangerous character that viewers will love to hate.
Along with the superb acting, another epic score by the talented composer Hans Zimmer enhances the drama with fresh new sounds complimented by familiar themes from Nolan’s previous two Batman films. Chilling echoes, thunderous drums and the smooth yet sharp sound of a string orchestra make each moment more intense.
Also true to the director’s style is the prominent role that politics play in the film. Bane, who has his own rules when it comes to dispensing justice against oppression and corruption in Gotham, causes the city to go from a time of structure and peace to anarchy and terrorism. The power dynamics of money as a tool for control becomes obsolete, and makes unpredictability a force in the film.
Bane plunges Gotham into a state of anarchy even greater than when the Joker seized control in The Dark Knight, creating a sense of hopelessness that creates huge obstacles for Batman, making the story all the more exciting. Fear, betrayal, truth and what it means to move on are essential elements in this film, and we go deeper than ever before into what it takes and what it means to be a hero.
Despite being nearly three hours long, the film will have you captivated until the very end with it’s clever and profound dialogue and intense action scenes to match. This movie is a refreshing shot of adrenaline to the film industry, and will undoubtedly be seen as movie of the summer, if not the movie of the year.
Ultimately, The Dark Knight Rises lives up to its name, and will have you rising from your theatre seat after the credits with a sense of catharsis that this extraordinary film has ended the Batman trilogy with a more than satisfying conclusion.
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