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The final installment in Christopher Nolan’s highly praised The Dark Knight trilogy comes in at #52 on the IMDB Top 250, below the Dark Knight, and far above Batman begins. I started with this primarily because I already had access to it, but also it’s such a good trilogy that splitting it up as opposed to reviewing it in succession has it’s merits. In my eyes, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is an excellent example of how to progress a film through it’s sequels, and how to have a on-going story arch. While each entry has it’s fundamental villain and plot, overall the trilogy can be broke up into stages. Batman Begins (2005) establishes the character like you’d expect. The Dark Knight (2008) acts as the complication. While the threat of the Joker was never truly huge, the death of Rachel would haunt Bruce Wayne and leave him a weakened man. Then we arrive at Dark Knight which is the call to action in which Bruce Wayne must face his inner demons.
Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) barely leaves his mansion and is mostly known as a hermit. The loss of Rachel means Bruce Wayne was emotionally damaged, while the peacetime Harvey Dent and his death provided left the city no longer needing Batman. Alfred (Michael Caine) grows concerned as Bruce Wayne takes to the streets once again to protect Gotham from a powerful vigilante known as Bane (Tom Hardy). A stock-market attack leaves the coffers of Wayne Industries barren, leaving it susceptible to corporate takeover which would have grave repercussions. Batman attempts to face his foe Bane, to find him he calls upon Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Selina betrays him, leaving to fend for himself against Bane who easily dispatches him in combat. With his spirit and body broken, can the dark knight rise again?
DC and it’s characters function in a very certain way. DC’s flagship characters Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and so forth are traditionally quite dull in a very typical do-gooder sense. The main appeal is primarily the villain, and I think that’s why the Dark Knight Trilogy works so well. If you’ll notice the Dark Knight, and Rises are praised much more than Batman Begins. I think this due to the presence of potent villains who are bursting with character opposed to begins which is mainly focused on establishing Batman. The contrast is interesting when compared to Marvel and it’s films, characters that feel human and jump to life from the page, but their villains are hackneyed, cliche’ and hard to differentiate.
So let’s talk about Bane. Why Bane? Well, Bane carries a certain legacy about his character ever since the Knightfall arc in the Batman comics as he broke Batman’s back and is one of the only villains to ever be regarded as his physical superior. Fans were generally skeptical about Nolan’s huge redesigning of the character from his luchador, venom-addicted ways. Simply put, I think Nolan was trying to move away from the gimmicky nonsense of the comic books. This brutal, unflinching, highly trained and well organized disfigured man suits the ideology of Batman perfectly. The original costume, the whole venom power-origin story would have just gotten in the way. Bane was fantastic and highly entertaining, and this is obvious among fans because of the sour reaction of his demise, and I’m glad Tom Hardy left a very definitive mark on the franchise.
While I wouldn’t say the story’s inner workings are quite as well-strung as it’s predecessor, Rises is definitely the most emotive entry in the franchise. Alfred is mainly an afterthought in Batman, but Michael Caine brought so much emotion into his conflicts with Wayne in Rises. It set the film rolling as we saw Bruce tumble in a downwards spiral into Bane’s trap until he finally found the confidence to best himself, and regain the vigor he once had. Also there was some nice, well-embedded symbolism with the concept of ‘rising’.
The film is incredible as both a trilogy installment, and a stand-alone piece of cinema. I do think Rises deserves it’s place in the IMDB Top 250, however it’s to justify all three of them as essentially three of the best films ever made according to IMDB’s standards. Perhaps that’s going a bit far. However, Nolan is a talented auteur and i’m not really surprised to see this be the case, along with many of his other films.
Judgment – Deserved
Until next time folks, before I rise again from a mysterious pit in the middle east, I’ll just leave this here.