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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » August 29, 2012
Film review
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The Dark Knight Rises
August 29, 2012   
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The final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy clocks in at 2 hours, 45 minutes. The idea of the script was to tie up various narrative threads and solve all the mysteries from Batman Begins from 2005 and The Dark Knight from 2008. And perhaps to leave a door open for spin-offs with a different protagonist, now that we see billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale—American Psycho, Fighter, 3:10 to Yuma) retiring as Batman.

Though a premature retirement, it is well-deserved. The events depicted in The Dark Knight forced Batman/Wayne to spend eight years living the life of a recluse. He now has to rise to once again defend Gotham City against a new villain who makes Batman’s all foes from the past pale in comparison. Bane (Tom Hardy—Inception, Layer Cake) is a muscle-bound mercenary with the habit of breaking the necks and spines of those who cross him. While not as distinctive a character as Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, Bane still has plenty of charisma. He is slightly reminiscent of Darth Vader from Star Wars because of his muffled voice coming from behind the bizarre mask he always wears. As it turns out, the tangled tubes protruding from the device are there to relieve the pain from gruesome, permanent injuries Bane sustained to his face and nose while serving time in a mysterious prison long ago. It is soon revealed he used to work closely with Ras Al’Ghul (Liam Neeson—Rob Roy, Schindler’s List, Taken), the sinister leader of the League of Shadows, the quasi-mafia, sect-like organization which Batman challenged in the first part of the trilogy. Like his mentor, Bane is determined to obliterate Gotham at all costs, even if it means losing his own life.

Just like in the old days, Batman has a handful of close friends by his side, including Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman—Leon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter series), tech-wiz Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman—Amistad, The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy) and faithful butler Alfred (Michael Caine—The Cider House Rules, Prestige, The Quiet American). This time, he also finds new, young allies in the form of sultry burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway—The Devil Wears Prada, Get Smart) and police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt—Inception, 50/50). In their battle against Bane and his thugs, the main characters get considerable backup from Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard—La Vie en Rose, A Good Year, Nine), a somewhat enigmatic investor in clean technology. Whether her intentions are good is revealed in the climax of the movie.

To those who have seen Nolan’s previous box-office smash, The Dark Knight Rises might too frequently seem like déja vu, because Caine, Cotillard, Gordon-Levitt and Hardy all gave memorable performances in Inception. Some of them do not even make the effort to reinvent themselves in their new roles, Cotillard being a case in point. The French actress basically reprises the grimaces and gestures of Mal, the main female character in Inception. Gordon-Levitt does not breathe much fresh air into his role either, which is a bad omen for any possible follow-up to the good vs. evil saga set in Gotham City.

What is also annoying about The Dark Knight Rises is that Nolan likes pathos in his movies. Police officers go to fight to the death donning their parade uniforms, American flags flutter in the wind, children in an orphanage watch Batman’s stunts in awe and so on. All with a lofty score by Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Gladiator, Inception) in the background. Some scenes drag on as a result, so that viewers can’t help but yawn.
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