|"When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die"|
This review may contain some minor spoilers.
Eight years on from the events of The Dark Knight, Batman (Christian Bale) returns to the city that branded him a criminal to save them from a new enemy, terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy).
Christopher Nolan's first two Batman films are seen as something of a benchmark as superhero films go; 2005's Batman Begins reintroduced The World's Greatest Detective to cinema-goers in dark and gothic fashion, followed by 2008's even darker The Dark Knight. Not one to disappoint, Nolan has done it again, with The Dark Knight Rises perfectly ending the trilogy in heart-poundingly tense and dramatic fashion.
|"I'm not afraid, I'm angry"|
Not that you can expect many people you haven't seen Batman Begins or The Dark Knight to be in the audience anyway; as a concluding chapter in a trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises completes one entire story that started eight years ago. Not only does it begin with a memorial to TwoFace/Harvey Dent and see Bruce Wayne continuing to ignore the cape and cowl as a result of his death, but it sees the return of some old foes from the first chapter.
|Anne Hathaway was purrrrfect as Selina Kyle/Catwoman|
|Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake|
The real star of the show however was Anne Hathaway; Her husky and breathy voice, jet-black hair and slinky frame have made her absolutely purrfect for the role as morally ambiguous cat-burglar Selina Kyle. It was always going to interesting to see how she fitted into Nolan's hyper-realist universe but everything about her character fits in well with the surroundings; her masquerade mask, utility belt, lycra catsuit and cat-like vision goggles are a far-cry from the stitched-leather suit paraded around by Michelle Pfiffer in Batman Returns. It's a shame her character has only been introduced in this final chapter; the banter between her and Batman is very funny and allows for the mood to be lightened ever so much.
Technically, The Dark Knight Rises is also a marvel; it is shot beautifully, with snow-covered, war-torn Gotham evoking images of the 9/11 attacks. Nolan's ability to tug at heart strings is shown best here; a destroyed football stadium, an American flag in ruins all resemble all too familiar images of our own world. In addition to the fantastic cinematography, Hans Zimmer's rousing score perfectly complements the ideas of revolution and uprising that Bane insights.
The big question is however, is it better than The Dark Knight? Well, Part 2 of the trilogy does have stronger villains in Joker and Two-Face but then Part 3 has the necessary pay-off and closure, as well as additional allies for Batman in Kyle and Blake. In my opinion, the two stand on-par with one another as both are breath-taking and emotional films that convert real-world themes like the War on Terror and the GFC into mass cinema-friendly characters, settings and plots.
Overall, The Dark Knight Rises is sublime and heart-pounding. It is an epic conclusion to the trilogy in almost every way and fully-deserving of all and any acclaim it receives. It is one of those films you walk out of the cinema already wanting to see again. I give it 9/10.