Following the final seconds of Christopher Nolan's hugely successful film The Dark Knight, people have been eagerly anticipating another caped crusader film to hit cinemas. On the July 20th 2012, four years after the Joker unleashed anarchy onto the streets of Gotham, the dreams of many were fulfilled in the concluding chapter of the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. The speculation and hype surrounding the final Batman film has been unlike any other, with fans creating their own teaser trailers on YouTube and mocking up posters to tease fellow enthusiasts about possible plot threads or villains that may or may not be playing a part in the conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy. The question therefore is this: did it pay off?
Eight years have passed since the events of the previous film, where we saw Batman taking the blame for the murders and chaos caused by Harvey Dent – this lead to Dent being regarded as a hero throughout Gotham, while Batman was labelled as a murderer and forced into hiding. Now, Gotham faces a new threat in the form of the formidable mercenary Bane (Tom Hardy).
Unlike the Joker – a man you revelled in chaos – Bane is a figure who is methodical and precise in his actions, plotting to hit Gotham where it hurts the most and raise it to the ground. Along with Bane, the gorgeous Selina Kyle, played by Anne Hathaway, is the sexy femme fatale figure who flirts her way through difficult situations and comes out looking just as good as ever. Her relationship with Batman and Bruce Wayne is intriguing, with their love/hate relationship becoming one of the key elements of the film's success. Whereas Bane is the brute force that seeks to destroy the city, Selina Kyle is the female antithesis and parallel of Batman: she could be good, but she chooses not to be. Her selfishness separates her from the side of good, but her vulnerability is brought into focus by Batman.
However, more importantly, Hathaway is so, so sexy. Along with the leading villains, the familiar characters all play their parts perfectly. It was nice to see more of Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox; however, the absence of Michael Caine as Alfred in the majority of the second half of the film was noticeable. Gary Oldman remains an excellent Commissioner Gordon, while Christian Bale is still brilliant as the enigmatic and damaged Bruce Wayne.
Overall, the film felt like a conclusion, an epic finale that finished the Bruce Wayne story perfectly. For me, the film did not have the same impact as when I saw The Dark Knight, but the story is very different to anything we have seen before. I know for a fact that there will be people out there who if asked what their favourite film in the trilogy was, all three installments would receive high reviews.
What you get at the end is three brilliant films that tell very different stories – a trilogy that is greater than the sum of its parts. The other question is this: Is it as good as The Avengers? In terms of the story, then yes The Dark Knight Rises has far more depth to it. With regards to effects and spectacle, then The Avengers may slightly top it.
The Avengers is a superb popcorn flick, a summer blockbuster, a film that generated a level of excitement that hasn't been seen in cinemas for a long time, whereas The Dark Knight Rises becomes the better film the longer you have time to think about it. You will be leaving the cinema unsure whether it was better than The Dark Knight, but then when you get home you will say to yourself: 'Actually that was pretty amazing'. Yea, it is a bit over serious in comparison to The Avengers and even The Amazing Spider-Man, but a fun and epic adventure nonetheless.
As I finished writing this review on a film that I have looked forward to for many years, I feel excited and content I have seen it and was pleased with the result. However, I also feel somewhat upset that it is all over, and that I will never see the film again for the first time or experience another Batman film from Christopher Nolan. But in the words of Dr Seuss: I must not cry because it is over, I must smile because it happened.