Movie Title: The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cane, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Release Date: 2012
Christian Bale reprises his role as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s final installment of his Batman trilogy. In this film, it has been eight years since Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has hung up his cape and cowl as a result of the death of Harvey Dent/Two Face (Aaron Eckhart) in The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne is now a disabled recluse, much like Howard Hughes in his older years. The dialogue in the film even makes not-so-veiled comparisons between the two. However, a new force of evil will force Bruce Wayne out of retirement to defend Gotham City one last time. Along the way, he meets a new enemies and allies, some embodying a bit of both.
The most apparent theme in the film is that everyone wears a mask of some sort and that people are not everything they seem to be. Unfortunately, some people will find fault with the mask worn by Bane (Tom Hardy). The mask augments Tom Hardy’s voice and, for some, can be heard to understand at times. Having seen this film both in the theater as well as on Blu-Ray, Bane’s dialogue appears to be much clearer on Blu-Ray and well worth another viewing for those who only saw it in the theater.
Nolan clearly draws elements from both the Nightfall and The Dark Knight Returns graphic novels, but these aren’t the only source material. Overall, the story line of the film draws heavily from the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities. In TDKR, Bane leads the lower class revolt of Gotham City. After seizing control sham courts are established to dole out punishment of the formerly privileged class. This revolt is analogous to the French Revolution, which occurs in the Dickens novel. A theme found in TKDR that Dickens also used was that of darkness and light. Bane states that he was born in darkness – signifying the purity of his evil, while Batman merely uses darkness as a tool. Another Dickens theme that plays a role in the movie is that of being an orphan. The most prominent, of course, being Bruce Wayne. In TDKR, a new orphan is introduced, John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). While Dickens sympathizes with the poor and the injustices they endure, his story also serves as a warning for the rich. After all, it is the rich who Dickens identifies with. The warning is that the revolution is completely avoidable, but if the wealthy fail to heed the warning, the masses will rise to action based on impulse – not reason or justice, but raw resentment. In this way, Nolan has ably taken a classic story and given it beautiful new packaging so that we may once again enjoy a tale about social justice.
Anne Hathaway’s portrayal as Selena Kyle/Catwoman was a very pleasant surprise – she was a highlight of the film. Hathaway appeared to channel Lee Meriweather’s version of the villain, both in look and style.
Though TDKR may not be the best film in the trilogy, this film is a welcome conclusion to the franchise.