The end of a truly epic trilogy is upon us. Christopher Nolan, director of all three installments of Batman, pondered even making this final film. He promised only to direct a third movie if the story was not only necessary, but gripping to him as the director. He was so dedicated to this end, that the story outline was completed before he was even named director of his last blockbuster, Inception.
And so the story goes. The dedication towards making a truly dignified conclusion to the caped crusaders most profitable series has paid off. What has been created is not only the best collection of comic book movies ever produced, but also the most outstanding installment of the Nolan’s Batman.
Bruce Wayne, played by the dark and brooding Christian Bale, has reached the crossroads of his relatively short life. He has lost his only love at the hands of Heath Ledger’s Joker, and is a man with a broken spirit. His alter ego is no better off, having become the most hated man in Gotham City. Bane, on the other hand, is introduced in a fashion that reflects the chaos of his character. As Bruce Wayne and his alter ego collapse, his rise to power is equally as stunning.
Supporting both the protagonist and antagonist are a host of diverse characters that are as complex as they are intriguing. In The Dark Knight, we were presented with the Joker, who was not only insane, but also incapable of telling the same origin story twice. He would gladly die to “watch the world burn.” This movie gives us this complexity with no less than three supporting roles. While this writer has found Anne Hathaway (of The Princess Diaries and Havoc fame) to be drab and aloof in her past roles, she is the polar opposite in The Dark Knight Rises. She not only blows away Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman portrayal, she is downright intoxicating.
As per usual, Gary Oldman provides us with a flawless portrayal of Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. He is a character that the good in us can relate to, which is pretty significant in a city that is surrounded by crime and despondent citizens. As well, we are graced with Inception-alumna Marion Cotillard, who brings talent to a role that would otherwise be considered, frankly, boring. Last, and certainly not least, is fellow Inception-alumnus Joseph Gordon-Levitt. To say anything specific about his role is to give away integral parts of the movie. Suffice to say, he is by far the best supporting character of any of the three Nolan Batman films, eclipsing that of the venerable Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth.
I would be remiss if I did not touch on what Nolan seems to have perfected – the villain. Bane is this installment’s chaos. He is played by Tom Hardy who is (yes, you guessed it) a supporting actor in Inception. The brilliance of the direction of these films is how lost you get in the villain’s soul. You lose track of the fact that an A-list actor is on screen. You are completely immersed in their portrayal as an ordered society’s tainted medicine.
If you thought The Dark Knight introduced us to a dystopia, just wait until you watch this movie. We learn that it is not only Bruce Wayne and Batman that are rotting from the inside out, but an entire society. You will see urbanites at their most wretched, and in their prime. The chaos wrought unto Gotham City by the Joker was merely the beginning. And Nolan manages to convey this wild ride into 165 minutes of his best work.
- Katy Purry