“You’ve got to wear a mask to protect those you care about.”
- Bruce Wayne to John Blake, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012)
2012 will go down in history as one of the greatest years for superhero movies.
Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ were both highly-anticipated and eventually well-received blockbusters that satisfied fans’ appetite of seeing their favourite comic-book characters on the big screen.
Now, with the release of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, Hollywood might have saved the darkest superhero movie for last.
Director Christopher Nolan has deftly managed to adopt the perfect balance of solid thrills, great villains and well-thought storyline from the first two movies to end this trilogy off with a bang!
The story picks off eight years after Batman (Christian Bale) took the blame for disfiguring Harvey Dent (a.k.a. Two Face) and goes into hiding. His public self, Bruce Wayne, also becomes a recluse, shutting himself (and his alter-ego) out from the world.
However, when powerful terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) threatens to wreak havoc on Gotham City with his secret underground plans and public attack of the stock exchange, Batman is forced back into action to stop Bane from acquiring a machine that could become a nuclear weapon used to destroy the entire city.
Along the way, Nolan introduces the morally ambiguous Selina Kyle as Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), orphan-turned-cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and a Wayne Enterprises board member, Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), to add more depth and character to the screenplay.
Fans should be glad that the action sequences here mirror that of ‘The Dark Knight’, with thrilling car chases and fierce hand-to-hand combat befitting of the grittiness of the brand. But the scale of the execution is doubled here this time round, making the IMAX version extremely worthwhile.
From harrowing mid-air abductions to mega destructions of bridges and football fields, audiences will often be kept at the edge of their seats with their jaws dropped. However, while the Batpod looks super cool with its sideways wheel tumbling, the new Batwing (known as ‘The Bat’) does come across a tad clunky hovering about in the streets.
Pacing also slacks slightly when a crippled Batman winds up in Bane’s prison; thankfully though everything picked up quickly after the Dark Knight rises (pun intended) from the depths of that defeat.
As for the cast, Tom Hardy’s Bane might not be as psychotic and groundbreaking as the late Heath Ledger’s turn as The Joker, but speaking perpetually through a mouth mask and emoting only through his eyes, Hardy manages to skilfully terrorise and derive empathy.
Another standout would be Hathaway’s version of Catwoman. ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ actress nails Selina Kyle’s schizophrenic expressions and gamely puts her slinky, sassy form to great use in the fighting scenes.
In true Christopher Nolan fashion, the film ends on a hero’s reunification theme similar to his treatment of ‘The Prestige’ and ‘Inception’, but not before dropping in a tongue-in-cheek final scene that will only leave fanboys grinning when they exit the theatre, closing an awesome chapter in Batman’s film history.
As featured on Breathe.sg.