Knight-worthy – A review of The Dark Knight Rises

Batman (Christian Bale) faces off against Bane (Tom Hardy) in the final installment of the Dark Knight trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan.
Batman (Christian Bale) faces off against Bane (Tom Hardy) in the final installment of the Dark Knight trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan.

Once in a while, a movie comes along that actually makes you think. Once in a while, that movie is a mainstream action adventure like “The Dark Knight Rises”.

Credit Christopher Nolan with creating not only a compelling story of the downtrodden overwhelming the wealthy, but also tying up this franchise with a neat little bow in the process.

The Dark Knight/Batman trilogy began innocuously enough with a reserved Liam Neeson training our soon to be hero, then betraying him in the end. Installment two introduced audiences to a deranged Heath Ledger as the Joker whose machinations turned a decent crime fighting D.A. into a hideous monstrosity and drove the Batman into obscurity.

Now we rejoin the story eight years later. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse. Gotham has enjoyed many years of reduced criminal activity and Harvey Dent, the aforementioned D.A. is once again being honored posthumously for saving Gotham.

Enter Bane (Tom Hardy), a disfigured villain who threatens to destroy Gotham unless criminals are released from prisons and Gothamites overthrow their “wealthy masters”. Almost like an allegory to the Occupy Wallstreeters and their disdain for the “1%”.

The tale unfolds with a continuous stream of setbacks that almost make you wonder if they’ll ever find a way to dig themselves out of the trap that’s been laid. But dig out they do – and in typical Christopher Nolan explosive fashion.

Christian Bale has grown nicely into this role and it’s a shame to think that he’ll never play Batman again. But as it’s said, all good things must come to an end. Yes, even brilliantly produced, acted and directed Batman franchises. Someone else may come along to pick up where this movie left off, but no one will quite capture the essence of what Bale and Nolan have achieved.

As Bane, Tom Hardy projects the right level of threat and diabolic rhetoric necessary to be a credible threat to Gotham and our hero. Interestingly enough, Bane was never a top shelf villain in the Batman franchise, but always secondary filler. Here he takes center stage and unfolds a nasty string of events that nearly destroy the city.

Anne Hathaway brings a reserved calm and necessary sensuality to the screen as Selina Kyle aka The Catwoman. She’s a renowned cat burglar who sets her sights on Bruce Wayne’s belongings and gives voice to the desires of the “99%”. Her character isn’t as one-note as you may think – she’s more of an anti-heroine than full fledged villain which is just what this picture needs to lighten the somber mood.

Overall, though, this is July’s must see superhero movie. I give “The Dark Knight Rises” five out of five stars.

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