Corruption, Chaos, Anarchy and Catwoman, A Review of “Dark Knight Rises (2012)”

**WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS INCLUDED**

“Dark Knight Rises” (2012) along with “Avengers Assemble” (2012) and “The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012) is one of the most eagerly anticipated superhero blockbusters of the year. It certainly meets expectations and beyond as it concludes the final part in Christopher Nolan’s gritty re-imagining of the Batman series.

2008’s offering “The Dark Knight” is to many one of the best film’s ever made, this follow up certainly delivers the same high quality as its predecessor with Nolan’s dark vision and memorable performances from all the actors. The main Villain Bane (played by Tom Hardy) for instance is just as terrifying and sinister as the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, the same amount of complexity that was written into the Joker character can be seen in Bane from the edge of the seat opening sequence to the brutal end. Fans of the series certainly won’t be disappointed with the film.

This third instalment takes place eight years after “The Dark Knight”. Bruce Wayne  (Played by Christian Bale) has abandoned his secret identity and lost himself as he is barely recognisable following the events of the previous film. Bruce has hidden himself away from the world, he is gaunt and frail and far away from the strong hero the audience have previously seen. His loyal friend and butler Alfred (played by Michael Caine) encourages him to regain his life. Their relationships is strained but very emotionally driven and provides a real heart to the film, Alfred sends shock-waves into Bruce’s world when he reveals tragic information regarding his late former girlfriend Rachel, which is one of the film’s most powerful scenes. Commissioner Gordon (Played by Gary Oldman) has set up the Dent act in order to eradicate crime and violence in Gotham city under the pretence of a false hero, Harvey Dent (Played by Aaron Eckhart) which brings in major conflict and plenty of action.

“Dark Knight Rises” displays so many layers in its stories and characters meaning that there are so many attractions to the film. Both Batman/Bruce Wayne and Bane are developed to a strong effect and even the supporting characters are written so well that the audience are able to empathize with their peril. The film takes an in-depth look at Batman’s world and the struggle he faces in a corrupt city. Bane’s objective is complex in giving the city back to the people and overthrowing authority while causing anarchy and chaos, as his backstory unravels over the course of the film, the audience gains a clearer understanding of the dark psychology behind his motives, Tom Hardy’s performance reaches beyond unsettling and disturbing. Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Played by Anne Hathaway) represents the struggle of the non-wealthy people of Gotham, she steals from the rich in order to survive. A complexity to her character is again brought in as she claims to steal only from those who won’t go without. Similarly to Black Widow in “Avengers Assemble”, Catwoman is a strong, powerful female who will go to any lengths in order to survive, she displays a tough exterior however demonstrates redeeming qualities by the film’s end. Anne Hathaway and Christian Bale display electrifying chemistry that perhaps needed more development and screen time, however their scenes are still enjoyable. In comparison to Rachel in the previous instalments, Selina/Catwoman does bring in a fresh feminist angle and represents a stronger role model for female audiences in a franchise that has been male dominated. Each character, including the main hero is emotionally human, there is an understanding for each of their motives given the environment and situation they are placed in. “Dark Knight Rises” also depicts a strong sense of community and reflects on how people band together in times of crisis, ensuring a series of powerful and emotive scenes.

The tone is incredibly gritty, complimented by the use of the lighting that gives a sense of bleakness throughout and highlights the corrupt world we see on screen. The CGI is incredible and provides startling effects to the film’s emotion, especially when Bane’s chaos ensues. The scenes of Batman’s capture place the audience into a claustrophobic hell, these moments in the film are uncomfortable and desperate, the film does not set up a strong sense of hope indicating that Bruce/Batman’s survival is not guaranteed. The minor glimmer of hope is in  the character of John Blake (Played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an orphan turned police officer who is more than meets the eye, he is depicted to be a young man who just believes there are heroes out there, representing a majority. There are plenty of shocks in store and an incredible twist ending that remains unsuspecting. Humour is in place to a certain degree, however presents itself subtly in comparison to the Marvel films audiences have seen this year.

“Dark Knight Rises” is certainly worth the four year wait, its themes are compelling, epic, intelligent, its very well executed, featuring brilliant performances from the entire cast, notably Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Anne Hathaway. The message the film conveys will stay with the viewer forever, anyone can become a hero. With the trilogy now concluded, the excitement lies in the up and coming re-imagining of “Superman” in “Man of Steel” (2013), if it turns out anything like Nolan’s unforgettable Batman films, fans are surely in for a treat!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

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