By Christian Dimartino
Christopher Nolan, the co-writer and director of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Inception, wasn’t sure if he wanted to come back for The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment in his perfect series. With the success of its predecessor, The Dark Knight, he said he would only come back for round three if he felt that the screenplay lived up to TDK. So, he came back to direct TDKR. So you can assume what he felt. And what he felt, I feel also.
When the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, blew into Gotham in the previous film, chaos reigned, and not only did it reign, it left an impact on the city so large that their only symbol of hope is built on a lie. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckart,) a District Attorney who everyone called “The White Knight,” became horribly scarred, and ended up going on a killing spree. A killing spree that Batman took the fall for.
Eight years have gone by, and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale, probably giving his best performance as Batman) has become a hermit. He refuses to see anyone, besides his loving butler Alfred (Michael Caine, who is brief but brilliant here.) But he is called back to action when two new foes, Catwoman (Anne Hathaway, giving an over-the-top but still enjoyable performance) and Bane (Tom Hardy, who is so menacing he makes the Joker look like the Riddler) step into town.
Meanwhile, Batman does have some allies once again. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman,) the genius who designs all of Batman’s brilliant gadgets. Comissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), who was also in on the Harvey Dent thing, and John Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a rookie cop. And Bruce also has a new woman named Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), a philanthropist who works at Wayne Enterprises.
There is much more to the story than I have told, but I would hate to ruin any of the constant surprises that TDKR keeps throwing at us. At times very powerful, moving, and nearly tear jerking-ly dramatic with some extraordinary action sequences, TDKR is the perfect way for this series to go out.
The acting from everyone is excellent. Bale is such a great actor, and I am glad that Christopher Nolan, that brilliant man, found him and made him who he is today (even though, sadly, he has been around for over twenty years). Caine’s performance, though small, is heart breaking. There is one moment where he brought tears to my eyes. The rest of the cast is excellent also, especially the diabolical Hardy and the sweetly subtle Levitt. Hathaway, though not the sexiest woman on the planet, is pretty sexy as Catwoman. She may be a little over-the-top, but, hello, she’s CATWOMAN!
Nolan is the best filmmaker. Ever. The man makes Albert Einstein look like Forrest Gump. With all of his films, since Memento, a film that went backwards, he’s dazzled our eyes, ears, and minds. He finally got the recognition he deserved with his previous film, Inception, in which he explained the way dreams work. The academy always seems to snub him whenever they can, and that irritates me.
With this final round, screenwriter Nolan, his brother Johnathon, and David S. Goyer have painted their bleakest canvas yet. what makes this series better than any other superhero film is that Batman is a real man, he has no powers, he could be one of us, and it’s that spirit that makes these films seem so real. TDKR feels like a drama, with action in the background, where as The Avengers is a fight fest. This is the most powerful one of the series, especially with the plot it has, (it’s a secret.)
I have been waiting four years, and it was worth the wait. TDK was my favorite movie and reigning champion for four years. But with TDKR, Nolan has reached new heights of excellency. He is reached film heaven. This is the best movie I have ever seen. It didn’t hit me until the final five minutes, but this film unfolds beautifully, probably having the best ending in film history.
Nolan’s Batman films have dove deeper into this hero than Tim Burton’s and Joel Schumacher’s films could ever do. These films have shown what a sad, mysterious, and fractured character Bruce Wayne is, and how he has done so much for this city and not gotten much in return. TDKR poses the question: Why? This film makes The Avengers looks like Kazaam, and that’s not exactly a good thing. The thing with The Avengers, while a good movie, is that it really dragged on. Apparently, TDKR was over two hours and forty minutes. Where did those minutes go? If you’re expecting just what I was expecting, you won’t be disappointed.