Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Adventure Batman The Dark Knight Rises

Batman The Dark Knight Rises

Movie trilogies have picked up plenty of momentum since Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, with New Line and MGM eagerly green lighting his “The Hobbit” for three epic installments instead of the previously planned two. Not to mention the Matrix, and of course Todd Phillips who has jokingly claimed that The Hangover 3 will conclude the “Wolfpack” trilogy. Indeed, making three films is the way to go when concluding a franchise.

Director Chris Nolan, who thank God, refused to jump on the 3D bandwagon for his latest offering, has ended his Dark Knight saga on a hopeful high note. By upping the ante on physical as well as mental conflict, Nolan helps us see the Bruce Wayne/Batman mythos from a whole new perspective.

Eight years have passed since that climactic evening when Gotham’s triune of justice(Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent) reached an unjust parting of the ways. Christian Bale’s Mr. Wayne is partially crippled, hobbling around with a cane and has become quite reclusive. He and the caped crusader have nearly become an afterthought in a city where the crime rate has diminished substantially thanks to the Dent Anti-Crime Act. It’s a time of relative peace, so the Batman is not needed. Besides, taking the fall for Dent’s demise has sort of made our cowled hero a fugitive.

When  a massive, Hulk like aberration called Bane (a very buffed up Tom Hardy) shows up to wreak proverbial havoc in Gotham, peace time is over. In Gordon’s words, “The Batman must come back.” Billionaire Bruce Wayne must somehow pull himself together in mind and body after nearly a decade to defend his beloved city, taking on the most stalwart villains he’s ever had to face.

Accompanying our nocturnal champion is, arguably, the most familiar villainess in the DC universe-Catwoman. Over the years she’s been portrayed by five different women, including Halle Berry in a poorly received spin off of her own. Along with them and the original tv series hotty  Julie Newmar , Anne Hathaway can be added to this elite sorority.

Selena Kyle is a sleek, sexy, likable cat burglar(no pun intended) with more tricks up her swarthy ensemble than David Copperfield. From the time we meet her, Hathaway  douses any uneasiness about her being up for the role. Her uncanny ability to shift from innocent and helpless to felonious and combative can be quite amusing. She’s decisively opposite the Batman- but opposites do attract.

Up and coming British thesp Tom Hardy has excelled in every movie he’s been a part of, but especially as the merciless Bane. He reminds you of one of those many James Bond henchmen (notably Oddjob) who simply cannot be subdued by physical force- unless you can find some weakness. His muffled voice behind a special mouthpiece does not prevent him from being a powerhouse presence or from bringing a huge metropolis to it’s knees. Even our bold anti-heroine warns Gotham City cop John Blake(Joseph Gordon Levitt)that he should be just as afraid of him as she is.

Thankfully, amidst all the glorious special f/x, action, explosions etc. Nolan allows his supporting cast to shine as much as mainstays Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. In some cases they actually steal a few scenes. As a romantic distraction, Marion Cottilard’s Miranda Tate leaves you breathless in more ways than one. Matthew Modine(anybody remember him from “Private School”?), makes a strong showing as hot shot Deputy Commissioner Foley, who seems to be after Gordon’s job. Most impressive
is Levitt’s Blake, a real level headed police officer who also turns out to be more than meets the eye.

Despite it’s being over 2 ½  hours, which I personally, hardly noticed because of Nolan’s skillful pacing, Batman The Dark Knight Rises offers fans a truly gratifying finale. Not just from the aspect of his consistency and deter-mination for justice, but also fully identifying with him as a human being with no super powers and committing to an ideal that maybe all of us should do.

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