The much anticipated final instalment to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ springs from the screen with fierce energy and unbridled enthusiasm. And much like the free popcorn and energy drink that came with last night’s premiere, the film left its audience edgy with caffeinated style adrenaline and thirsty (think: salty popcorn) for more! Luckily, Director Christopher Nolan ensured there was a sneaky set-up for yet another sequel towards the end of the film.
This isn’t intellectual or art-house cinema, it doesn’t make you think deeply. It is straight up highly glossy, cheesy cinema that drags the audience through some amazing action sequences, some highly Hollywood schticky one liners and gives them a sweet and believable (this term is used loosely and in context: you’ve already accepted that a fully grown man dresses up in a batman shaped rubber suit) resolution.
The villain in the Dark Knight Rises this time round is the mask wearing Bane. With an immediate vague visual association with other respirator wearing bad guys (Darth Vadar for one), Bane is presented as a monstrous, callous and calculating wall of veiny muscle. Unlike the Joker, who is unpredictable, unhinged and deeply, deeply crazy, Bane is presented as a colder more lucid form of evil. He appears to be unbeatable – there’s no way of cracking through his wall of muscle and cold rationality.
Then there’s Bruce Wayne. We see the man behind the mask at his lowest point. He’s vulnerable, fearful and broken. But as we all know, “even Rocky had a montage”, and the whole film hinges around Bruce Wayne/Batman’s redemption, a feat he can only achieve by facing up to his humanity and doing a shit load of push-ups.
Part of the pure joy of the film is the amazingly executed special effects that look more slick than superimposed. The other joy is in the characters, who despite constantly spouting kind of lame one-liners, are surprisingly real and relatable. Despite being more visceral than intellectual, the film does touch on some pretty big topics like identity, terrorism, justice, fear, deceit, bravery and as already mentioned, redemption. Another hand clappingly tense/awesome element of the film is that it deftly treads the line between predictable familiarly and dramatic tension. You know what’s going to happen, but you don’t know for sure what’s going to happen.
Descend into the darkness of the cinema and rise again on the other side of this excellent film, filled with the satisfaction of redemption, popcorn and caffeinated beverage.