Batman “rises” above the rest
Published: Sunday, August 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 6, 2012 00:08
Many may wonder how a comic book movie could possibly be so dark, heavy and complex, yet this is one of the many things "The Dark Knight Rises" accomplishes. The conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is a film of epic proportions. Few will leave unsatisfied, and all will remember forever how successful a comic book franchise can be when the filmmakers treat the character with true reverence.
The story picks up about eight years after the events of “The Dark Knight,” and Gotham City seems to be at peace after the string of events leading to the death of Harvey Dent. Since taking the blame for the murders committed by Dent, Bruce Wayne has gone into hiding and his efforts as Batman have finally started to take a toll on his body. In addition, his company is slowly bleeding more and more money. Catwoman stumbles into the picture as a master thief who has gotten in deep with the wrong people, namely the criminal Bane's people. Bane sees himself as a voice of the oppressed, while the wealthy in Gotham live large and leave nothing but scraps for the rest. He seeks to create a revolution, an uprising, of Gotham's masses. Though Bruce pushes Batman to the back of his mind, Bane's recent escapades cause him to come out of hiding fiercer than ever. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the finale fans have been waiting for is going to be a bleak journey.
The magnificent acting that graces every scene skyrockets it from an "amazing" movie to a near masterpiece. The cast already has its star-studded veterans such as Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman. Throwing other rising stars such as Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway into the mix makes for a sensational recipe. Bale and Hathaway, as Batman and Catwoman respectively, have such a natural chemistry it is hard not to smile at their interactions.
Hardy has the difficult job of walking in the murky footsteps left behind by Heath Ledger's Joker. Thankfully, Bane is a very haunting and fearsome villain, which Hardy plays to a tee. Every line spoken sends a clear message that Bane's plan will be carried out no matter how many people he has to kill. With the restriction of a mask comes the difficulty of connecting with the audience through just the eyes. Hardy proves that he is able to do so, striking fear and terror simply with eye movements and piercing stares.
While some will see that the stor draws heavily from "A Tale of Two Cities," most will see influence from the well-known one percent versus 99 percent happening in America and across the world. Nolan uses these familiar themes to construct a complex story that is a worthy addition to the series. The final act of the film is filled with so many twists and turns that audiences are left on the edge of their seats until the final shot.
Most people will agree that this is not quite the masterpiece that is “The Dark Knight,” but some find more issues with the film than others. The clarity of Bane’s voice has been an issue heavily discussed on the Internet in the months leading up to the release of the film. He is wearing a mask so it would be extremely unrealistic to hear him as clear as day, but prior to edits his speech was so muffled audiences could barely hear or understand the words coming from him. In order to address this issue, Nolan made some minor tweaks to the audio, without changing Hardy’s original performance. This works for most but some may still have a hard time hearing him, over the mask and odd accent he has. Hans Zimmer, although a brilliant composer, further complicates things by flooding out a few lines of dialogue with his soundtrack. It is supposed to be in the background and help build the scene, not overpower it.
Despite some audio isues, “The Dark Knight Rises” is a thrilling conclusion to a trio of fantastic films. Nolan is graciously giving fans and everyday moviegoers a satisfying end to what is without a doubt the greatest comic book movie trilogy of all time. This movie is not for everyone, however. The violence has been kicked up a notch, and the summer-fun feeling evoked by this year’s Marvel outings does not exist with this film. Alas, Batman has never been a cheerful character and this series definitely plays with that.
“The Dark Knight Rises” receives 5 out of 5 stars.