Skip to content

The Dark Knight Rises

October 26, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Actors: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard

Batman-vs-Bane-Round-2-The-Dark-Knight-Rises-300x186.jpg (300×186)

Synopsis: Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is required to dust down Batman and bring him out of de facto retirement in order to save Gotham City from the terrorist blockade and nuclear threat of Bane (Tom Hardy).

Review: Christopher Nolan proves once again that he is one of the few directors working in mainstream Hollywood who can pull off the difficult act of merging genuinely ambitious, and structurally and thematically complex storytelling with the contemporary demand for all things ‘spectacle’.

The Dark Knight Rises is, in many ways, the fitting testament to Nolan’s Batman trilogy as he goes “all in” on a work that tries to honour and conclude the films’ politicking on its slippery themes of communal responsibility versus the value of self preservation, and the merits/pitfalls of anarchy and subverting the social order. As ever, the dialogue is on the didactic and expository side – the story’s themes and character arcs delineated a little too conveniently (although Nolan is clearly working in a populist, commercial genre and is trying to make those themes as digestible and accessible for a large audience).

At its weakest, The Dark Knight Rises does feature some bizarre oversights and inconsistencies – especially in its continuity. Gotham City appears an incomprehensible and disappointingly malleable universe across the trilogy: for the purposes of this film it’s a realistic, quasi-Manhattan whereas in Batman Begins it was a proper comic book, noir dystopia. Also, the idea of Bruce Wayne coming full circle and having to regenerate himself in a Far East prison which metaphorically references his seminal childhood fall into a bat-infested well is a rich idea; its fearfulness, however, is undercut by the unnecessary exposition of Wayne being able to follow all the news from Gotham City via a conveniently-stationed TV showcasing 24 hour news in this otherwise apocalyptic jail!

Those minor quibbles aside, there is an unquestionable skill and pulverising concentricity of spectacle and theme here that reaches its conclusion in the brilliantly swooping denouement. It somehow manages to organically honour at least seven or eight character arcs while ending the trilogy’s ideological politicking in about as exciting and intelligent a way as possible. Hats off to Nolan for this, although he was right to lay the Bat to rest and move on to different things after this episode. (October 2012)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: