Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight is forced to return from his imposed exile to save Gotham City from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman.
Despite his tarnished reputation after the events of The Dark Knight, in which he took the rap for Dent's crimes, Batman feels compelled to intervene to assist the city and its police force which is struggling to cope with Bane's plans to destroy the city. Written by
There are plenty of elements that made this film work, so I suppose we can tick them off one by one. For starters, the continuation on the focus of Bruce Wayne's story, which has made it all tick. This version of Bruce Wayne and Alfred become the familiar characters we're accustomed with since 2005, and the film invests heavily on the emotional bonding between the two, which deals back to the theme about fear that rears its ugly head again, and how a father figure cannot stand idly by to watch the one he brought up recklessly charge into battle after a long hiatus, and hoping for a life of normalcy with the mantle of the bat given up. Michael Caine may have a shorter screen time than before, but no less powerful.
When Sam Raimi had to put the popular and powerful Venom into Spider-man 3 pretty much against his wishes, we all knew how that turned out to be, effectively killing off the franchise until the decision to reboot it. There may be some similar fears with the introduction of a fairly contemporary villain in Bane, but the story gave him more purpose and meaning, and Tom Hardy was excellent par none in this role as the compete villain - with plenty of brawn, merciless, masterful, and with a plan any terrorist would be proud of. If the Scarecrow meant to induce fear, and the Joker to create chaos, Bane is carnage incarnate. Tom Hardy, even being the requisite mask, is fearful, and while the designs of his plan may dwarf the Joker's in complexity, it sure rivaled his in terms of delivery, and execution. Anyone in his path gets shoved aside with deadly consequences, and anyone alive is only because there is of further use. No hesitation, and no compromise.
And Nolan continues with the introduction of a lot more villains big and small, behind a mask or otherwise, in his Bat films than anyone would credit him for, especially when having those whose lines are blurred, or corrupt to the core and hiding behind social status and fortune. This in turn provides for another arc that boils underneath the main narrative, where the rich and powerful continue to enjoy their successes at the expense of the have-nots, and the Occupy Movement in a way being a very real parallel to the proceedings on screen. While the mobsters were clearly at the top of the food chain in the earlier Nolan films, this one shifted focus to politicians and the elite community, with their fair share of scandals and corporate greed.
While Bane was to the point, Selina Kyle played by Anne Hathaway, is both sensual and a force to be reckoned with herself, being like how she's best portrayed, on the fence. There's a bit of Frank Miller's Year One in this one given the presence of Juno Temple's Holly, and the back to basics as a jewel thief, compared to the mousy secretary in Tim Burton's Batman Returns with Michelle Pfeiffer defining the role, and the garbage that was Halle Berry's. Anne Hathaway nailed this one with what would be a truly memorable outing, and as if a homage of sorts to Burton's second Batman film, that the repartee between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle at a party became one of the highlights here, as does her thievery and combat ability. She may lack her whip, but more than makes up for it with her steel stiletto heels, and the very sensual and sleekly designed feline moves that you'd wonder how they got delivered while wrapped under that skin tight suit.
And not only is the technology put on screen fictionally impressive, the technical aspects behind the scenes also worked wonders, chalking up serious mileage in having more than an hour's worth of footage shot on the IMAX format. Wally Pfister's cinematography continues to impress with that staying consistent to the gritty look and feel developed for all the Bat films to date, before his departure into a film director's role for his next project. Hans Zimmer also probably developed the best score for Nolan's Bat films, and I dare say without which this film would be less stellar, with the score playing a huge role in adding plenty of character and emotion to the film, lifting it up with excitement during the many set action pieces, with recognizable themes assigned to major players, heightening dangers, and providing a boost to the many feelings in this one heck of an action-adventure.
With how things developed at the end, and what I felt was initial horror of sorts with Batman out in broad daylight, secret identity being porous and all, this film ended in what would be the best way possible - with possibilities, and a twinkle of an eye, Inception style with a did it, or did it not. Twists, turns, surprises and sleight of hand, making it a clear favourite as one of the best this year. Do yourself a favour and watch it in the IMAX format, just as it was intended.
Because you have just got to believe in Christopher Nolan, and the kind of films he has so far delivered. Take a bow, bat-crew, for a trilogy that has now set the bar for any comic book film, and especially any other follow Batman movie, reboot or otherwise, to live up to.
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