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The Dark Knight Rises, FTW!
And just like that, Nolan’s Batman trilogy is over. After the release and excitement of The Dark Knight, of course people would be lining up to catch the final chapter in Nolan’s dark adaptation of the DC comic. The initial trailers for the film, showcasing a new Catwoman, and a likely protege did little to rouse any excitement for me. Snippets of Bane as the main antagonist brought about a lot of skepticism, when fans thought they’d be subjected to another laughable and inaudible voice. But with so much unveiled it was hard to predict what kind of finale we would actually be in for. Beautifully crafted, The Dark Knight Rises provides a great final stage for Batman’s ultimate triumph, but spreads itself out too thinly.
1. Bane is scarily formidable. Initially most people doubted that Nolan would successfully make an intimidating Bane, but ultimately he impresses. Tom Hardy is phenomenal playing Bane, an intelligent assailant with a chilling voice and possibly a taste for sadism. When you first hear his mechanical voice, which almost sounds regal at times, chills run up the spine. He’s cunning, and calculating as all his plans are executed with the utmost efficiency by himself and his overly devoted pawns. Once Bane confronts his adversary, ‘The Bat’ himself, it is easy to see that Bane isn’t just a brain, but strong-as-hell! You feel for Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) as Bane breaks his body, and promises to break his soul.
2. Catwoman and The Boy Wonder? As I said before, I wasn’t really excited for the modern Catwoman, but honestly Anne Hathaway exceeded my expectations. Maybe for the better, Catwoman didn’t get that much airtime overall, and the glimpses we did get were sleek and smooth. As graceful as she is when she’s back-flipping out of windows, I didn’t really care all that much about Selina Kyle - the woman behind the mask. Unsurprisingly, her story is rather ambiguous and there isn’t much done to flesh her out beyond her desire for a “clean slate”. But more disappointing was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, John Blake. Don’t get me wrong, the young upstart was very entertaining whenever he was in the heat of the action, but he just didn’t seem to fit. His character, being rather forceful and somewhat nosy, kind of pushes his way into Wayne’s life. The two don’t have much chemistry, and the relationship feels rather forced. With so many new characters to link to The Bat it’s hard to just let the chemistry happen, and with characters like John Blake and Selina Kyle it feels contrived.
3. And then there’s that climax with a twist... Christopher Nolan is great with action and when things pick up it gets extremely intense. So much is going on in the film by the time it hits its 2hr mark, it’s almost dizzying how many plot-lines and characters are running about doing things. When all the action is culminating into one place, and we get the build up to the ultimate stand-off between The Bat and Bane, Nolan knows how to surprise the audience even in the end. The final ‘rise’ of the Dark Knight himself is met with opposition we almost weren’t expecting. Audiences are thrown off-guard, and it makes for an exciting last 30 minutes and an ending that’s ultimately satisfying. But Nolan might have been overreaching a bit to connect with the universe of the original DC comic. Although the story is more consistent within DC universe, Nolan’s departure from the original content was welcomed over his attempt to make connections that were unnecessary and somewhat betraying of audience perspectives.
Ultimately The Dark Knight Rises is an awesome conclusion to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. It was action-packed and emotional when it needed to be. Many of the storylines had a lot of depth, but with a story spread out among so many characters some were neglected more than others. Not sure where to invest one’s feelings, it’s easy to feel betrayed in the end when some of your characters get cheated out of a more memorable story. Unfortunately, being the third installment of such a highly-anticipated trilogy meant a lot of high expectations from faithful audience members. The Dark Knight is a hard act to follow, as Nolan would be greatly challenged to elicit a performance such as Heath Ledger’s out of another actor. While Bane is an extremely satisfying villain, Nolan spread his story out too thinly across too many new players that we barely had time to bond with. Overall the trilogy was one of the best action series in a long time, and we’ll probably not forget such memorable storytelling.