One of the greatest things about THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is that moviegoers were given nothing in the weeks leading up to the film’s eargerly awaited release. But was it worth the wait? In order for this movie to have lived up to the sky-high expectations fans had for it, Director Christopher Nolan would’ve needed a Heath Ledger cameo and an Anne Hathaway wardrobe malfuction along with everything else that transpired. I held my anticipation at a reasonable level and even I – the girl who loves just about everything – remain slightly underwhelmed. The movie was good, it just wasn’t OHMUHFUHGUH good. There were parts that were excellent, but no movie that runs for 2 hours and 45 minutes is exciting the entire time. There were moments of boredom. There was a lot of story to tell, and it’s never easy to decide what can and can’t make the final cut. The editing process alone was probably grueling and I’m willing to bet there is about 48 hours of extra footage.
In the wake of Harvey Dent’s passing, the police of Gotham have been able to put into place The Harvey Dent Act. It has allowed them to clean up organized crime and make the streets safer. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is reduced to a figurehead, wary of this newfound peace, and cynical about what it cost. But where’s the Batman? The Caped Crusader has entered shut in mode at Wayne Manor with only the occaisional company of his trusty butler Alfred (Michael Caine). After taking the fall for everything Dent did as Two-Face, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is but a whispered name on the lips of Gotham’s citizens. What Wayne doesn’t realize is that his empire has fallen. Much like the man himself, Wayne Enterprises is merely a memory and funding to those in need – most importantly a boys home that Bruce started – has stopped.
So what has been going on in Gotham? A prime suspect in a line of cat burglaries, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), has set her sights on Bruce Wayne. But why? To someone who has scraped through life stealing to get by, someone like Bruce Wayne who has all the money in the world might become an ideal target. Meanwhile, police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who works with underprivelaged youth, is after Bruce for an entirely different reason. The wheels in Wayne’s head mercifully begin turning and he teams up with fellow philanthopist Miranda (Marion Cotillard) in an effort to raise funds to get Wayne Enterprises back on track.
There’s only one giant, hulking, mask-wearing, suspender-grabbing problem. Bane. Bane (Tom Hardy) has recruited an army of his own and has very special plans for Batman’s stomping grounds. Will Selina Kyle help or hinder Batman? Will John Blake be able to keep safe the children of Gotham? Will Batman be able to … wait for it, wait for it… RISE to the challenge when he comes face to face with Bane?
Bale said before the movie was released that this will be his last time around as Batman because he doesn’t want to fail the fans. I respect that completely and appreciate him for it. His subtitles required Batman voice will be missed, but at least he went out on a high note. Hathaway matched Bale’s enthusiasm and donned a black suit just as gracefully. As for Tom Hardy as Bane, actors who must convey all of their emotion through a mask are at a disadvantage. Think Hugo Weaving as V in V FOR VENDETTA. Hardy’s ability to look terribly menacing through only his eyes was chill inducing. Though listening to Bane and Batman in an argument was like listening to two Puerto Rican’s show everyone who has the loudest subwoofers in their trunk, the Villain/Hero chemistry was flawless. And how about that JGL. He has come a long way from his “3rd Rock from the Sun” days and he totally owned his role.
The ensemble cast works well and makes this end to the Nolan Batman saga a memorable one. While it’s sad to know that we’ve seen the last of this Batman, the very climactic ending left me feeling satisfied, even though my face didn’t melt off from the awesomeness like I thought it would. Fan or not, it’s easy to appreciate Nolan’s artful take on this comic book hero, his adventures, his triumphs, and his failures.