The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and is a big movie in all sense of the word ‘big’: The Dark Knight Rises clocks in at 164 minutes, the cast is large enough that Michael Caine’s Alfred gets ninth billing on IMDB, and the plot has so many threads that the only city big enough to contain them all is New York.
In the interest of keeping as much of the anticipation and excitement about this movie as intact as possible, I am going to refrain from summarising even the simplest plot points. You guys are clever, and I don’t want to give anything anyway.
Besides, you know the basic premise from the trailer: the Batman has gone into hiding in the intervening eight years (in movie time) since The Dark Knight. When a new force of evil called Bane (Tom Hardy) starts terrorising Gotham, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) grimly picks up the Batman mask and begins a long emotional and physical journey to set things right.
The Dark Knight Rises does a great job of staying true to the Dark Knight pedigree. Those who liked the previous films will certainly enjoy the double heaping of more of the same. Borrowing and building from the themes set up in the first two movies, TDKR is sure to feel like familiar ground.
Despite that, the movie avoids being a simple re-hash and succeeds by sheer force of will (and one might argue, by sheer force of budget) by having bigger sets, better gadgets, and more plot threads and characters than ever before. This also works against the movie, which at times feels overly and unnecessarily complicated.
In a cast of notable performers, a few of the performances are stand-outs. If you had any doubts about Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, lay them aside- she does a great job at staking out her own version of Catwoman and she makes kicking butt in 5 inch high heels look as easy as playing mini-golf.
Bane’s massive physical presence is almost overwhelming; at times it seems like the movie screen won’t be able to contain the mass of muscle.Tom Hardy manages to keep the menace and threat coming off of Bane throughout the movie, no small feat considering you can’t see half of the man’s face because of his industrial-grade gas mask.
And finally, Christian Bale does a great job as well, dialing in a more subtle and cautious Bruce Wayne than in the previous movies.
If TDKR has any rough spots, it is where the narrative wears thin and the allegory beneath starts to peep through. Nolan has never shied away from incorporating current social trends, and to his credit he manages to incorporate those themes subtly and effectively in the first two Dark Knight movies. But in TDKR these attempts occasionally come across a bit heavy-handed and detract from the central themes and flow of the film.
The Dark Knight Rises is a satisfying, if a bit longwinded, end to the Dark Knight trilogy. While not as red-hot as the hoopla leading up to it would have us believe (movie critics crying as they left the theater? I don’t think so), TDKR still manages to deliver a white-knuckled trip back into Gotham while satisfyingly and neatly tying off the trilogy.
The Dark Knight Rises is rated PG-13 for lots of violence, lots of explosions and lots and lots of guns. It opens in Malaysia nationwide July 19th.
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