The Dark Knight Rises ***1/2


“The Dark Knight Rises” is my most anticipated movie of 2012. It is a movie that I needed to see a few times before putting my thoughts in to words. I’ll start by saying that this is one hell of a movie and a satisfying third act in the Nolan directed Batman series. It didn’t quite live up to the heights of “The Dark Knight” but it comes pretty damn close.

The story begins almost a decade after the events of “The Dark Knight”. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse who never leaves Wayne manor. After taking the fall for the murder of Harvey Dent he retires his cape but never truly finds a way to move on to the next part of his life.

Gotham on the other hand has benefited from the death of Harvey Dent. The city has thought of him as a hero and passed laws that have basically eradicated all organized crime in the city. This doesn’t leave a lot of work for Commissioner Gordon played again by Gary Oldman and an idealistic young cop played by Joseph Gordon Levitt. That is until Bane comes to town.

Bane, played by Tom Hardy, is bent on destroying the city. His plan is to basically cut the city off from the outside world and create chaos from within. Turns out that he is part of the League Of Shadows, who Liam Neeson was the leader of in “Batman Begins”. He is here to finish what Neeson’s character could not. This draws Bruce Wayne out of his shell and back in to the bat suit ready to battle.


Batman doesn’t get to far though as his first face to face with Bane results in Bane beating him to a pulp, breaking his back and abandoning him in an underground prison in a foreign country. This is where Bruce Wayne spends most of the movie as he must find the inner will to literally scale a wall to escape.

Tom Hardy plays manages to give Bane an incredible screen presence. Even though his face is covered by a mask that is apparently numbing some sort of pain, his eyes always tell us exactly what he is thinking. They pierce right in to the souls of everyone he encounters. I hate the fact that people want to compare him to the Joker. They are very different characters, with different motives and ideas. Bane is a force of nature, a human wrecking ball that tears through anyone and anything that stands in his way. When he pounds on the Batman, the whole theatre feels it.

Also out there complicated Batman’s life is Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman. She is played by Anne Hathaway as a cunning thief who is reaching the end of the line with the law and is looking for a way out.

With “The Dark Knight Rises” Christopher Nolan seems determined to test Bruce Wayne on a more physical level than he has before. Bane seems bent on breaking his mind as well as his body.

At two hours and forty minutes this is an epic movie but once again it doesn’t feel long at all. In fact I wish there was more to it. My only gripe really is that there is not a lot of Batman in the movie. He shows up to battle Bane then spends most of his time in prison before coming back for an action packed finale.

“The Dark Knight Rises” marks the end of an era. Nolan and his crew successfully brought Batman back to life and took him to new heights. Part of me wishes that it was not over though. I am not so much a fan of trilogies as I am of sustained series. There are villains I would have loved to see appear in Nolan’s series. But it is a fitting finale to what has been an amazing series of films.


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