The Dark Knight Rises

Nolan has no problem repudiating the choices of The Dark Knight – compromising truth for serenity in both the public life of Gotham, and Bruce Wayne’s own private life. While there are issues with the finale of the trilogy, no other director comes close to Nolan’s ambition: spectacular yet realistic action scenes, and grand themes with consequences in both the large and the small.

DKR has a bunch of minor plot holes where it’s not clear why plotters wouldn’t take a more direct method, and the 5 month time lapse is a bit too long. Wayne needs to rediscover his motivation, but Bane’s goals don’t really go anywhere. There’s the delicious possibility of some topical anarchist themes – attacking the stock exchange, exposing the lies in the justice system, and overthrowing the status quo (my favourite scene is when Bane asks a cowed rich guy if he feels powerful) – but unfortunately this goes no further than being a setting for the rest of the story.

Bane was unexpectedly articulate and educated, and his voice through the mask was very difficult to understand; despite these problems, he was a great villain – unlike Loki in The Avengers, he was threatening and scary. There’s also a great reveal that I didn’t guess (though I hadn’t been following the pre-release leaks and speculation).

So many characters were criminally underused: Alfred, Lucius Fox, and Gordon – all played by fantastic actors but with very small roles in the story. Hathaway’s Catwoman was cold and manipulative – she did a good job (and does the costume justice – I liked the take on the ears) but mostly resides at the periphery.

There are some spots of humour – Batman turns around to find Catwoman gone and says “so that’s what that feels like.”

Despite my complaints, DKR stands head and shoulders above my recent anticipated releases (Prometheus, Avengers) – it’s a great movie.

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