By now almost everyone will know the plot of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, so we wont go over it again (head to Chris’ review for a comprehensive summary). Instead, we’re getting stuck in – like Bane in an air-borne attack on a plane!
Josie: I love Batman. I think it’s fairly unusual for a lady to declare such a love, but I do. In my final year at university I wrote 6000 words on Batman Begins and you don’t do that just for fun! Just to clear one thing up though: I’m not enamoured by one particular incarnation of the Caped Crusader. I love the idea of him and what he stands for. He’s not strictly a superhero like Superman, but Batman is a Super Man. See what I did there?
Alex: I’m going to be blunt. It’s not as good as The Dark Knight. But it isn’t far off.
Where as TDK is an epic crime thriller, The Dark Knight Rises is a war drama, set on American soil. Like the previous instalments, it visualises America’s greatest fears and takes a mainstream audience to the edge of comfort, leaving them dangling off a precipice, staring into the abyss.
It’s also blockbuster that believably suggests our hero has come up against a foe he can’t defeat. This is exposed in a brutal and at times shocking fight between Batman (Christian Bale) and Bane (Tom Hardy), where for the first time on screen, Batman is made to look inferior – almost pathetic. Batman is broken. Bane victorious. Catwoman declawed; her actions to gain her freedom leading to the exact opposite. From here, anything goes.
Josie: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is an elusive little minx but that’s what you would expect. She’s a good fighter and equal to Batman but her character is somewhat lacking. There’s no real sense of her apart from being a body in a ridiculously tight suit. She’s absent for a large chunk of the film and as a character she’s slightly like Black Widow, whose skill is her amazing ‘acting’. It might seem unbelievable but women can be superheroes too. Catwoman gets close but not close enough.
Alex: Inevitably Batman does rise, but as a different man. Suddenly he is Bane’s equal, resulting in a final act that is Nolan’s greatest accomplishment. Earlier Bane gleefully says hope is what breaks men. But it’s this hope that turns against him, meaning his disbelief is his undoing more than Batman’s fists.
But what fists they are. The final battle between them a heart-stopping flurry of violence. All this played out in front of a back drop of a thousand men fighting in the streets – the build up to this epic brawl like nothing I’ve ever seen.
Josie: There are some spectacular fight sequences and the climax is nail biting. But the film seems disjointed at points, mainly because the timeframe feels so long and also because key characters were airlifted out for a bit and then brought back. There are several plot holes but not so glaring to be irksome.
Alex: Marvel might win the fun war, but nothing tops Batman’s ultimate sacrifice at this film’s climax and the emotional wallop that comes with it. Like all of Nolan’s work, the ending embodies a theme of justified deception, as well as the theme of this film: liberation.
Josie: It’s a good film but it is massively over hyped. The story is solid but can a film that has been bombarding us for months stand up to such high expectations?
Alex: Despite my adoration for it, TDKR is not a perfect film. But it is a satisfying one – one that matched my ridiculously high expectations.
Josie: Despite my whining I did like this film a lot. It finished the trilogy well and Christopher Nolan really pulled it off with true style.
Alex: It’s the end of a trilogy that embodies our world and our time. 50 years from now we’ll still be talking about it. It’s our generation’s Star Wars. And dare I say it; maybe it’s the better trilogy.
Alex O’Neill & Josie Lovett