SPOILER FREE REVIEW – The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight returns in the final instalment of the trilogy, and he must face Gotham’s greatest threat to date; Bane (Tom Hardy).

Christopher Nolan has managed to do what we, as Batman fans, hoped he could; finish off his Dark Knight trilogy on a fast paced and thrilling note.

Christian Bale returns as the man behind the mask, and in the time that has passed since he took the blame for the death of Harvey Dent, he has changed from the brooding man who kept to the shadows, into an entirely different person. Michael Caine steps forward as the father figure that Bruce Wayne needs, and his short appearances on screen are just heartbreaking; he cares in a way that Wayne struggles to understand. Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman reprise their roles as the support system behind Batman, albeit in slightly reduced capacities.

The Dark Knight was about outsmarting a cunning and mischievous villain, but The Dark Knight Rises takes conflict back to it’s basic roots and Batman encounters the most physically challenging villain to date. The set pieces back up the physical strength of the villain, and these are on a scale we have not seen before in this franchise. Entire streets are filled with Gothamites fighting for their city, but it comes down to hand to hand combat on the ground.

Christopher Nolan has created a story that is epic, although slightly rambling. There are times where the audience may struggle with the sheer wealth of information being thrown at them, but it is clear that this story has been set up since Batman Begins, so an understanding of the stories that have gone before is vital for the sake of understanding the movie. The pacing of the film is fantastic – 164 minutes almost zip by – although there is a section in the middle in which the pace drops, information slows and the film feels sluggish and bloated. Happily, this is quickly resolved and the pace speeds again. For the sake of the film though, it seems that this should have been rectified.

In all, The Dark Knight Rises is the film we have been waiting for. The villain may be entirely different than the ones we have encountered before, but this is what makes this Batman’s biggest challenge to date. The film is a human drama combined with a disaster movie that is brought to the screen on an epic and spectacular scale. Although the pacing is patchy and there seems to be a little too much going on, Christopher Nolan has done the characters and his vision of Gotham justice, and given the Dark Knight the send off he deserves.

Rating: 4.5/5

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