It’s eight years after D.A. Harvey Dent has died. Dent is lauded as a hero, and many criminals have been locked away as a result of the Dent Law, which gives police more expansive powers when arresting criminals. Everything seems tranquil, Batman (Christian Bale) has retired and is viewed as a villain to most of Gotham. Bruce Wayne has become somewhat of a recluse, dealing with physical pain and mental exhaustion. Newer, younger cops like Detective Blake (Joseph Gordon Leavitt) and Foley (Matthew Modine) are ready to stop crime in the name of Harvey Dent, and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is being put out to pasture. Despite the seeming tranquility, several situations are lurking just below the surface. A maid in Wayne Manor is really a cat burgler, named Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and is trying to steal Bruce Wayne’s mother’s favorite pearls out from under his nose. If that isn’t bad enough, Selina kidnaps a Senator. While on the trail of the missing Senator, Commissioner Gordon follows two street criminals into the sewer, and finds a city beneath the city, being run by criminal mastermind named Bane. (Tom Hardy)
Bane is planning nothing short of a revolution in Gotham City, he says he wants to give power back to the people. As he emerges from the sewer, Bane’s first act is to short Wayne Enterprises stock, making it essentially worthless, and shoot several stockbrokers in the process. Bruce hears from Alfred (Michael Caine) that Bane was trained by Ra’s Al Ghul (Liam Neeson) but then excommunicated from the League of Shadows. All of this is enough for Bruce Wayne to want to don the Batsuit again, but first he has to prevent an energy source, that Wayne Enterprises helped develop for peaceful purposes, from falling into Bane’s hands.
First Bruce turns over power of Wayne Enterprises to Miranda (Marion Cotillard) the scientist working on the peaceful energy source, and then Batman seeks to find Bane, but he needs Catwoman’s help to find Bane. Batman’s first encounter with Bane does not go well, and he ends up in Gotham City jail, with a wall that has only been scaled by one person, according to rumor, and that is Bane. Does Bruce get out of prison? Does he take on Bane again? Does Bane learn to convert the peaceful energy source into a nuclear weapon?
Despite all the hype, this movie is truly a worthy sequel to the Dark Knight. For the first hour and a half I did not think so and was ready to pan it, and ready to come up with snappy one liners about Bane, calling him Mr. Clean in a gas mask. I was also wondering tongue firmly in cheek, whether it was a sequel to Inception with all the stars from Inception in this movie. Cotillard, Leavitt, Hardy, I was expecting Leo Dicaprio to hop out of the woodwork any time. But then, a strange thing happened in the last hour of the movie. The story came together, Bane became more than a fat arch villain, he began to exploit the verbiage of the 99 percent for his own craven goals, and that turned this movie for me. Then there was a huge plot twist toward the end of the movie which turned the movie into an absolute treat to watch. There is also and Inception type twist near the end, that I will not divulge that is also fun to speculate about. That’s what makes Nolan’s films so much fun, there’s always more to them then meets the eye. It was also fun to see Neeson again as Ra’s Al Ghul as well as Cillian Murphy as Sandman in this sequel. As good as this movie was, it requires the viewer to have a working knowledge of the first two movies, as such this is a sequel that doesn’t work as a movie on its own, usually that matters, not this time.
The acting as expected was top notch. Bale owns Batman, he plays it better than anyone I’ve seen, no one should play this role for a long time unless it’s Bale, he’s perfected the duality of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Tom Hardy won me over as Bane, at first, I thought he was just a bellowing blowhard, but the details of his character and the way Hardy played it was superb. Anne Hathaway also won me over, I really didn’t that she could pull off a complex, sophisticated performance, but she did, although I still think that she’s too young for the role. My favorite performance belongs to Cotillard who has to give a complex and multilayered performance, and boy does she deliver. Cotillard is a fantastic actress, and it’s getting to the point where I’d pay to hear her read the phone book. Joseph Gordon Leavitt is one of the best young actors in the moies today, and he does not disappoint here. This is by far the best movie of the year. See it.
My first viewing of this movie came on July 21st, in the wake of the senseless killing of 12 people in Colorado, who wanted nothing more than to escape the problems of society by watching a movie. Little did they know they’d soon confront a grave problem facing our society, a madman with a gun. I send my deepest condolences to the families who lost members of their family in the shooting spree. While it was surreal seeing a movie with police standing guard outside the theater, movies are a way of life for me, and I will never give that up, no matter the circumstance. I subsequently saw the movie two weeks later, and enjoyed it just as much, still saddened by the tragedy that happened two weeks before in my favorite venue, a movie theater.
The Dark Knight Rises. Rise out of your chair, go to a theater and see it for yourself.