Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard
One of the most highly anticipated films of 2012 was Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to Batman. Fans waited four long years to finally see how the story would end for the trilogy. Announcements of the musclebound villain Bane generated hype of whether the Bat would die or in-fact be broken like the story from Knightfall. All the hype led to unbelievable expectations and left audiences divided if it was a worthy conclusion to The Dark Knight Trilogy. Now, the film has hit homes everywhere for fans to experience on DVD… But is it worth the purchase?
The film takes place eight years after the devastating events of The Dark Knight. Billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, and barely shows his face in public. Mayor Garcia and Commissioner Gordon have established “The Harvey Dent Act,” which places stricter laws on organized crime. The once corrupt Gotham City is finally becoming a place of peace. That is until an evil shadow rises beneath the city that goes by the name of Bane. The sinister villain plans to destroy Bruce’s beloved city, forcing him to come out of retirement and fight for Gotham one last time.
Christian Bale returns as Wayne for the finale. In this entry, Christopher Nolan decided to focus on the Bruce character, rather than the persona of Batman. In fact, the Batman character only appears in the film for a little under a half hour. This doesn’t affect the experience though, because the story truly relies on Bruce Wayne. Bale revisits the role with tremendous vulnerability, making you feel as if he cannot do battle anymore.,which makes it have greater weight when he has to. Of all the performances in the trilogy, this is my favorite from Bale.
The opening sequence may not be as complex as the Joker’s, but Bane damn sure knows how to make an entrance. I still maintain the Bane intro is the best stunt of the entire trilogy. The first time I experienced the opening sequence on IMAX, my jaw was on the floor and I could not even move a muscle. Watching the plane ambush felt as if it was actually happening, which is very rare to say in a CGI filled Hollywood. I salute everyone involved in the creation of this spectacular scene.
I’ve heard various negative responses to the Tom Hardy performance of Bane. Some complaints I agree with, others I do not. It’s hard for me to find fault in a performance, when the performer made it entirely his own. I’m honestly shocked that anyone bitched after what we were given by Schumacher back in the 90’s. Hardy took the Bane character and applied a sinister wisdom to the role. Regardless of how you feel about the voice, when he speaks, you believe that he is a person of great intelligence and experience. In my opinion, Nolan and company found a true reinvention of the character. This is a distinguished Bane… And he is ready to kick some ass.
The film is definitely not without its flaws. Some characters feel completely wasted because of the story trying to accomplish so much in its near 3 hour runtime. A good example of this is the Foley character played by Matthew Modine. At one point in the finale you are supposed to feel sympathy for him but it just isn’t there. Another wasted role is Selina Kyle’s sidekick Jen played by Juno Temple. It’s just another major talent wasted in this film. I have other nitpicks but I don’t feel passionately enough to make them an issue when the film could have ended up so much worse.
Overall, The Dark Knight Rises is the best possible ending to the Christopher Nolan trilogy that anyone could ask for. Is it better than The Dark Knight? No… But did it have to be? It’s a miracle that the movie is even half as powerful without the presence of Heath Ledger. I believe in time, this conclusion is going to age well. Especially since the reboot is allegedly suppose to take a kid friendly direction.
Sadly for the DVD, the bonus features are lacking in content. I think this was a marketing effort to push people to buy the Blu-Ray instead. However, it does feature an interesting video entitled The Journey of Bruce Wayne. Regretfully, this is not enough to make the entire DVD worth it. If I were to make a recommendation, I would say go after the Blu-Ray if you can. Here is a list of the special features included on the Blu-Ray:
- “Ending The Knight”
- “The Prologue: High Altitude Hijacking”
- “Beneath Gotham”, “Return to the Batcave”
- “Batman vs Bane”, “The Bat”
- “Armory Accepted”
- “Gameday Destruction”
- “Demolishing a City Street”
- “The Pit”, “The Chant”
- “The War on Wall Street”
- “Race to the Reactor”
- “The Journey of Bruce Wayne”,
- “Gotham’s Reckoning”
- “A Girl’s Gotta Eat”
- “Shadows & Light in Large Format”
- “The End of A Legend”
The Dark Knight Rises is now available for DVD and Blu-Ray!