One word comes to mind when thinking about this trilogy: Spectacular. The final movie to this epic retelling of one of the most beloved superheroes of all time did not let its predecessors down. Complex character development, a flawed and tragic hero, and true disaster and destruction made this plot captivating while pulling a deep emotional response from its watchers. The set design and special effects were beyond amazing, and Cat Woman’s character was a seamless addition to the story.
The Story and Characters
The Dark Knight ended tragically, and the story picks back up on the same note in The Dark Knight Rises. Set 8 years after the previous film, Bruce Wayne has shut himself from the world in his east wing despite the efforts of his loyal butler Alfred. Wayne Enterprises has been run into the ground due to Bruce shutting down its main project – a sustainable energy source that could power an entire city – or be turned into a deadly weapon.
Though Gotham has used their false memory of Harvey Dent to clean up the city, we see a theme of distrust from those who know the truth. Commissioner James Gordon is just as broken as his hero, the lie that he held inside tearing him apart. While fear is still a strong theme carrying over from the other two movies in this trilogy, trust and hope are the true emotional struggles that Gotham faces in this finale.
Gotham itself seems to have an overabundance of trust in all the wrong places. A police force that no longer takes its job seriously in a time of peace, a false hero who fell when they needed him the most, and a false sense of security makes Gotham a perfect target for a new villain. Their immediate distrust of their true hero has made them vulnerable, ironically, however their distrust of The Batman stems from his distrust of them. Bruce Wayne was unwilling to share the story of Harvey Dent’s demise, believing his city could not pull itself up from darkness with the truth. Perhaps Commissioner Gordon and Batman should have given Gotham it’s true and flawed hero, instead of a perfect and false one.
Bane is a satisfying and impressive villain with his huge physique, mysterious mask, and an army reminiscent of a cult with its soldiers of blind faith. The League of Shadows connection makes it easy to understand the serious danger behind these men. We immediately know that their goal is something of epic and terrifying proportions. The plot twist that shows an unexpected mastermind behind the scenes at the end took me by total surprise, managing to make sense once it was pointed out to me.
The plot twists throughout the story and the insurmountable trials that our Dark Knight must overcome left me wringing my hands throughout the movie. New relationships and the development of sidekicks add interesting new elements and distract just enough from the emotional turmoil to make it bearable.
Anne Hathaway impressed me with her interpretation of Cat Woman – someone who is desperately trying to free herself from the mistakes of her past, and only managing to keep making the same mistakes over and over. Detective Blake, whose first name is Robin (yay), is a truly kindred spirit to The Batman, recognizing the anger and pain in Bruce Wayne upon their first meeting.
Christopher Nolan did not shy away from violence and death, giving the movie a warlike feel. Tragic deaths and everyday heroes abound throughout, but none of it is added simply to watch something burn. Every death, every explosion, and every hit Batman takes are carefully placed by the writers and director, aimed directly at the heart of the viewers.
The writers and director Christopher Nolan outdid themselves on this epic finale of the trilogy, leaving me feeling both satisfied with the ending and yearning for more.
Set Design and Special Effects
The set design followed the path of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, turning Gotham into a mix of ‘just another city’ and a dark, festering place that desperately needs a hero to shed light upon it. Batman thrives in darkness, and we are given plenty of darkness – both inside and outside of Gotham. Moments of brightness give us insight into what Batman is fighting for, rays of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.
The huge warlike scene between the Gotham Police Force and Bane’s men is set in the epic backdrop of Gotham’s courthouse, hitting home what our heroes are fighting for. Special effects, such as all of Batman’s fun toys (a new airborne one that pretty much rocked my world), fit perfectly into the set, and there was not the annoying overabundance of them that strips away any sense of reality the audience may have been feeling.
Should you seeThe Dark Knight Rises?
Definitely. This movie was an epic and heart wrenching ending to a trilogy that has held the attention and love of superheroe lovers everywhere. Nolan’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego of Batman give a depth to the character that was not accomplished in earlier films (though don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the others, too). Christian Bale and the supporting cast were more than up to the task of portraying these characters. I suggest that if you haven’t already, you go out and get a ticket right now. Seriously. Just don’t be surprised if you’re feeling inspired to do heroic things afterwards. Don’t agree with me? Have something to add? Let me know in the comments below, my sweets!
Rock on and geek out, my friends!