Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Gotham's Reckoning

Since the end of The Dark Knight, like any fan, I have been eagerly anticipating The Dark Knight Rises. It was like seeing The Empire Strikes Back and waiting so long to know the end of the story as it comes in Return of the Jedi. I don't think I could make this paragraph any geekier. Sufficed to say, I was excited.

I was concerned though, too, that I was hyping myself up too much and that - because my expectations were so high - I would ruin the movie for myself. It's the same trap we all fall into for a highly anticipated movie - especially a sequel to a much loved film.

In all honesty, however, I was not disappointed. The sheer scale of TDKR is one of the things I found so astonishing. Christopher Nolan said he wanted to make a large scale film in the behind-the-scenes featurette and how he has prevailed.

In the film, Gotham is about to get its comeuppance by criminal mastermind Bane (Tom Hardy). Batman (Christian Bale) has been off the streets for 8 years in the wake of Harvey Dent's (Aaron Ekhart) death in The Dark Knight. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is the only one who knows the truth and is tortured by it. Meanwhile, hothead cop and idealist Officer Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is on the streets, believing that Gotham needs the Batman again.

Anne Hathaway does a magnificent job as Catwoman - the best ever rendering of the character on film to date. She embodied the sensuality, the slyness and the violence that accompanies the character in the comics, and did so without ever making one bad cat pun, or purring.

This was definitely Christian Bale's best Batman performance, starting with a weakened Bruce Wayne and back into the swing of Batman. He portrayed a depth and brooding to the character that was remarkable.

But truly, my hat must be tipped to Tom Hardy. His performance as Bane was not only magnificent, but terrifying. Those who have read the comics know what Bane can do and has done. He is a monster of the highest calibre, and Tom Hardy did not disappoint. Honestly, if the track was laid down by Heath Ledger for his performance as the Joker, it's all set for Hardy to receive his own Oscar nomination (at least).

This film was so epic in scale, it was mind-boggling. The sheer number of extras required, the amount of story that occurred, character arcs coming to conclusion! The sheer Dr. Zhivago-esque grandeur of the film is unmistakeable.

If you are a comic book fan - and I speak as one - thenthis movie was pretty perfect. Elements of Batman: Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns and Gates of Gotham. A glance of some of the comics that influenced Nolan during filming are outlined here. Even if you're not a comic book fan and merely enjoyed the first two movies, this film will not disappoint you. It is a fitting ending to the trilogy and does so in a way that we've come to expect from Christopher Nolan. 9/10


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