Its been exactly 3 years to date since I watched ‘The Dark Knight’ at a special screening in Bristol. Hurried back home & wrote a review(now a private post) deeming it “One of the best movies ever made” & I wasn’t the only one. Pretty much everyone agreed. Even the Academy recognized the late Heath Ledger for what was the role of a century. It was finally the movie every Batman fan deserved & it would take a monumental effort for Nolan to better that. Did he succeed with ‘The Dark Knight Rises'(TDKR)? Dodging the threequel curse & satisfying the expectation of over a million fans is quite the tight rope to walk on!
In hopes of keeping this review spoiler free, I won’t delve much into the story ~This movie definitely deserves multiple viewing to absorb every aspect of it. Where ‘The Dark Knight’ was about Joker & “trusting” Harvey Dent, this movie is all about the “rise” of Batman to defend Gotham from someone who’s as powerful as he is! Bane, played by Tom Hardy, will obviously lose out on the comparison with Heath Ledger’s Joker yet he shines in those pivotal scenes. As difficult it is to explain Heath Ledger’s performance in the previous film, it would prove as difficult for anyone to step into the shoes of Batman post Christian Bale. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – Its almost impossible to think of anyone else in this role!
Rounding out the main cast, Joseph Gordon Levitt(JGL), Anne Hathaway & Marion Cotillard provide adequate support to seasoned performers Michael Caine, Gary Oldman & Morgan Freeman. Of particular note, JGL in the role of Thomas Blake & Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (a.k.a Catwoman) After the disaster that was Halle Berry, Nolan dodged the right bullets weaving her character in. JGL underplayed his role very nicely, being an amalgamation of various comic book characters, there couldn’t have been a perfect ending to his story arc.
Its difficult to pander to everyone’s taste with a character/movie of this scale but Nolan has managed it brilliantly. With TDKR, Nolan has firmly established himself as one of the finest auteurs of our generation. It soothes to know that the entire movie was shot on film with less emphasis on CGI & more on real effects. The cinematographer, Wally Pfister is sure to win awards & deserves every credit which comes his way. With more than an hour’s footage shot on IMAX, I highly recommend that you watch the movie at your nearest IMAX for the best possible experience.
Its better if you view this as a sequel of ‘Batman Begins’ rather than a final act of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. ‘The Dark Knight’ works brilliantly as an independent episode in the life of Batman/Bruce Wayne involving the Joker & Two Face. Quite a few of ’em have issues (SPOILER ALERT!!) with how TDKR plays out but to the regular movie going crowd, they will enjoy every moment of it.
The Dark Knight absolutely changed the way the general public viewed comic book adaptations. Although some of them failed, there were a few which went on to be major money makers also keeping fan expectations in check. The same prospect faces future adaptations~ Marvel seems to be more in control of its franchises, DC also looks to follow in consolidating its characters for its eventual Justice League finale. Here’s hoping they succeed, meanwhile, there’s always Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot “Man of Steel” to watch out for.