The Dark Knight Rises (an alternate perspective)

The previous review posted for The Dark Knight Rises was penned by probably the biggest fan of Batman I have ever met. I appreciate his thoughts on the movie. Mine may be a bit more of an “outsider’s” view of the film.

It’s been 8 years since Batman (Christian Bale) had his last outing. An outing that saw the death of Harvey Dent. On the anniversary of his death, there is a ceremony celebrating Dent’s life, and the law name after him that has allowed a crackdown on organized crime. But no one really knows what happened when Dent died. Everyone has blamed Batman for his death.

Bruce Wayne has since retired the Bat suit. He has lost the will to fight, as well as the physical ability to do so. His body badly beaten and worn. He never shows his face. He even has servants deliver his meals to the wings to which he has holed up in.

One such servant, Selina (Anne Hathaway), is only moonlighting as the help to gain access to Wayne’s safe. She is an adept cat burglar. Much like the character in the comics, Selina/Cat Woman and Bruce/Batman are frenemies. It truly is a love/hate relationship.

The villain in this finale to the trilogy is Bane (Tom Hardy). Bane trained with the League of Shadows, the same group that gave Bruce the skills to be Batman, after escaping from a desolate prison.

Bane’s plan is to steal a nuclear reactor and incite a revolution in Gotham. One where the people overthrow the heads of the city and live in anarchy. If anyone escapes the city, the reactor, now a nuclear bomb, will detonate.

Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman)has been shot and is laid up in a hospital bed. He relies on a young cop, Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to be his eyes and ears on the city. The fate of Gotham rests in the hands of this green detective. And Batman, should he decide to make an appearance.

The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting end for the Christopher Nolan interpretation of the franchise. He follows through with the vision and tone set by TDKR predecessors. It’s dark and brooding, unlike any of the other campy, if not outright ridiculous treatments. (Batman & Robin or Batman Forever, anyone?)

Christian Bale continues to provide a decent, if gravelly, voice to Batman. And you can never go wrong with Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. Masters of their craft. All around, a quality film for a graphic novel.

I was pleased with how they treated Cat Woman. It wasn’t super cheesy and overdone, if you recall Halle Berry’s portrayal of the same character. There were no “meows” or other cat induced puns. And the outfit, let’s just say that Anne Hathaway wears it well, even if it isn’t featured enough.

My biggest complaint was Bane. Not in Tom Hardy’s performance. Or even in the scripting for him. It was his voice. I know it’s a necessary evil, pun intended, for Bane to have “face tubes.” However, an unpleasant side effect was almost a complete inability to understand most of what he was saying. I found myself straining to comprehend his dialogue or wishing I had a Bane-to-English translator.

As I said, it’s a decent film. Nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering. But if you like what Nolan has done with the man in the bat suit, you should definitely enjoy this film. My only wish, without spoiling anything, is that they left the end a little more vague.

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