The Dark Knight Rises Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman
Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 164 Minutes
Release Date: July 20, 2012
In Christopher Nolan‘s 2006 film, The Prestige, Cutter (Michael Caine) explains, “Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts.”
“The first part is called The Pledge. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t.”
“The second act is called The Turn. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back.”
“That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call The Prestige.” Ladies and gentlemen, that’s The Dark Knight Rises – the third act to an astounding magic trick by a world-class illusionist in director Christopher Nolan.
Nolan’s 2005 film Batman Begins represented The Pledge by showing us an ordinary man, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). “As a man I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed. But as a symbol, as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.”
2008′s The Dark Knight was The Turn, with Nolan taking an ordinary man and propelling him to extraordinary acts. After stopping the Joker, Batman and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) set in motion a conspiracy that labeled The Dark Knight a fugitive and preserved District Attorney Harvey Dent’s reputation as a crime-fighting crusader. The Batman vanished into the night, a disappearing act that allowed Gotham City to rally around their fallen White Knight and pick up the pieces.
Now, with The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan brings Batman back from his self-imposed exile. Eight years after the Joker’s sinister deeds, Bruce Wayne has become an eccentric recluse, traumatized by his own inability to save Dent and the love of his life, Rachel Dawes. Batman and Gordon’s lie for the greater good paid off, though. Organized crime has been crushed under the weight of the Commissioner’s anti-crime Dent Act and Gotham City is finally prospering.
As rookie cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) points out, “Pretty soon we’ll be chasing down overdue library books.” Gotham’s time of peace and prosperity may be coming to a close, however, with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with an unknown agenda. Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) is one of the 99%, a woman driven to desperate measures who will butt heads with the city’s 1%, namely Bruce Wayne.
Far more alarming, however, is Bane (Tom Hardy), a muscle-bound terrorist with a ghastly maw of twisted metal, whose plans for Gotham’s reckoning force Bruce Wayne out of retirement and back into the action. Hardy’s Bane is a ruthless, no-nonsense bad-ass whose sole motivation is to break Batman and leave Gotham City in ashes. When Batman and Bane go toe-to-toe, it’s straight-up Wrestle-Mania III main event material, like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. You’ll feel every bone-crushing blow as these two titans battle for the soul of Gotham.
The Dark Knight Rises is a sprawling, epic film that provides a spectacular conclusion to the one of the greatest trilogies in movie history. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway threaten to steal the film away from Bale and Hardy – and the entire ensemble is on point with memorable performances, namely Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth.
Hathaway is the definitive Catwoman. No offense to Michelle Pfeiffer for her portrayal of Selina Kyle in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, who turned all of Batman’s villains into the same schizophrenic sociopath. Nolan’s Catwoman is influenced by Batman: Year One, Catwoman: When In Rome, and other titles – creating a strong, nuanced character that feels directly in line with the source material.
Nolan’s third (and final) Batman film is easily this generation’s Return of the Jedi – minus the Ewoks. It’s a stunning, action-packed film that provides an extremely satisfying ending even if it doesn’t quite meet the high standard set by its predecessor. While it is destined to be nitpicked to death and compared to The Dark Knight endlessly, The Dark Knight Rises is hands-down the most exciting, emotionally engaging blockbuster you’ll see this summer.
Christopher Nolan, Wally Pfister, and everyone responsible for these three films should be commended for their work. They have pulled off a glorious bit of movie magic in three parts. The Dark Knight Trilogy is a beautiful, enchanting illusion – one that will not be soon duplicated.
Watching these films I’ve grinned from ear-to-ear like an 8-year-old kid, I’ve laughed, and punched the air with excited fists, and I’ve shed tears – sweet, geeky tears of joy – the kind of emotional release and purification that can only be inspired by a genuinely moving piece of art. The Dark Knight Rises is pure cinematic catharsis at its best.