Starting with 2005’s Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan gave the world a new-and-improved Batman. Gone were the familiar flashy comic book stereotypes, replaced by a dark, gritty hero of today’s world in a realistic noir vibe. Batman Begins captured the imagination of comic fans and proved Batman could be more than what he had (d)evolved into in prior cinema efforts.
Following that film was Nolan’s The Dark Knight, where Batman once again proved himself king of the comic book heroes alongside a new and more twisted Joker than ever before. Now the third and final installment in Nolan’s Batman trilogy has come to an end with The Dark Knight Rises, and what an end it is!
The film is nothing but brilliant from start to finish. It ends an amazing film series with a bang that will be talked about for years to come by film and comic fans alike.
One of the (many) highlights in the film is the cast. The Dark Knight Rises sports one of the best casts, hands-down, in film. The acting calber on display is astounding and they bring nothing but perfection to every scene. I dare you to try not to tear up at anything Michael Caine has to say. From the previous films we know we’re getting amazing work with Bale, Oldman and Freeman but with the addition of Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordeon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway, the talent is so overwhelming in certain scenes that it’s hard to look away. Each brings their own unique aspect to a familiar cast of characters, adding in new traits we had never thought to look for.
Since it’s a Batman film, we don’t need much reason to be interested in it beyond its titular character. The Dark Knight is what we go to the movie for. But what is Batman without his impressive villains? We’ve already been given the Scarecrow, an amazing Joker and Two-Face but now we get to add Tom Hardy’s Bane to that list and he…is…awesome.
Bane is a new and very personal evil in Gotham, a challenge to Batman’s very core and a personal physical threat. The only drawback with Bane is that it is hard to understand what he is saying some of the time. His lines are all ADR, and it’s pretty obvious. However, it never once took me out of the film. Bane is all monster and you fear what he might do next.
But Hardy’s Bane is nothing compared to Anne Hathaway’s wonderful portrayal of Catwoman. Now here’s a character that needed some much love and rejuvenation in cinema. After Michelle Pfeiffer’s amazing performance in Batman Returns I didn’t think it could get much better. Then the Halle Berry stinker happened and needless to say, it didn’t do much for the character of Catwoman.
But the joke of Halle Berry’s Catwoman ends now with Hathaway’s completely different take. Pfeiffer played up the Tim Burton crazy angle, Hathaway’s portrayal is downright cold and sexy. She is methodical and deliberate in how she treats every other character in the movie, not unlike a cat playing with its food. This is the new and improved Catwoman, one for the modern age and she was worth the wait.
The movie itself looks amazing; having the brilliant cinematographer Wally Pfister alongside Nolan’s direction, I’d expect nothing less. The camera direction is especially beatiful. The great use of aerial shots alone in this film should get the man an Oscar, as should the special effects and costuming teams. Every single crew member once again brought their A-game. There’s a reason why Nolan’s films are always nominated for all the awards every year and you can see it in this masterpiece of cinematography.
Is The Dark Knight Rises the best Batman movie ever made? Who can say? Everyone has his or her own idea of what a Batman movie should be. Whether it be a dark noir, a gothic art piece, a brilliant animation or even a crazy neon filled world, we have seen Batman in many forms over the years and I’m sure there will be several more to come. Since Warner Bros. wants to start its own DC universe in their films much like rival Marvel has, we’re sure to see another interpretation of Batman soon.
But for right now, Nolan’s Batman is the closest to perfection we can ask for.