*This is as close to a spoiler free review as I can possibly do. If you have fears about reading something you do not want to know, my rating for this film is ***1/2 out of ****, so you know it is worth seeing without jeopardizing your viewing virginity. This may also be a very short review.
Directed once again by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), The Dark Knight Rises is the final chapter in his Batman trilogy. This is a very dark film, make no mistake. If you have seen the trailer, you know this cannot be happy. This actually goes darker than The Dark Knight.
After taking the heat for the death of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, not donning the Batman suit for eight years. When cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) steals his mothers pearls, he finds himself drawn back into the world and right into the path of the human tank known as Bane.
This is a difficult review to write. In an attempt to keep this spoiler free, I cannot go into the things that make this film great. The little things. What you have here, though, is an epic, dark film that does tie up some loose ends from the other two films in the series.
The performances are once again spectacular. Michael Caine (Alfred) in particular is a standout. As the surrogate father of Bruce Wayne, he has watched and helped him in his crusade to clean up Gotham. This has taken a toll on an old man who is terrified that his surrogate son will not survive this battle. He brings a vulnerability to the role that is present in the other films but is not so emotionally charged as it is here. He knows who Bane is, and he knows that the Batman has no chance against such an unrelenting foe.
I also found Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane to be mesmerizing. With only his eyes (his face is covered by a mask) he is forced to convey his emotion. This is where Hardy excels. There is never anything behind those eyes. He is a cold blooded killer. He has no sympathy, empathy, or remorse. He is nothing more than a strikingly intelligent killer. There is never anything at play behind his eyes. He is cold, calculating, and very, very dangerous. A physical specimen of wanton destruction.
Anne Hathaway brings an elegance and grace to the character of Catwoman (who is never called Catwoman in the film). She is a simply stunning woman and brings that sex appeal to the Batman universe. While she doesn’t get as much free reign as Hardy, she does play up the femme fatale role that she clearly is. Neither good nor bad, she is the only real character in the film who has no allegiance.
All of the other characters do a wonderful job in their supporting roles. Gary Oldman returns as Commissioner Gordon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Detective John Blake, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and in a smaller role, Matthew Modine as Deputy Commissioner Foley.
Yes, I realize that this is pretty short. I am just here to tell you to get to the theater to see this. It is a wonderful film, and a worthy successor to The Dark Knight. While it is not as good as that film, it is just as good as Batman Begins and you owe it to yourself to see this film.
***1/2 out of ****
* I will post a full spoiler filled review once I manage to see this in Imax early next week. Keep an eye out for that, and I will be able to go into a lot more depth on this film then. Just make sure you see it first!