The Dark Knight Rises
I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, the Batman returns but is it too late to save Gotham City? My review of “The Dark Knight Rises,” next.
With all the insane hype surrounding the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s masterful “Dark Knight” trilogy, can we all agree to take a deep breath and just focus on the movie as a movie? I hope so, because “The Dark Knight Rises” is a majestic, gorgeous, brutal and richly satisfying epic.
We pick up the action eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, who has become a post-mortem hero in a peaceful Gotham City. The Batman is no more. Bruce Wayne is a now a recluse, hobbling about on a cane. He can’t even stop a cat burglar from stealing his mother’s pearls.
Ah, but there’s a storm coming, in the form of Bane, a vicious thug with a metal cage on his face. Tom Hardy sounds like Sean Connery as he delivers monologues worthy of the French Revolution while encouraging utter anarchy.
With plot points about financial meltdowns, the haves vs. the have-nots and unrest in the streets, “The Dark Knight Rises” has clear parallels to the real-world America. And when Bane and his band of terrorists strike Gotham, it’s hard not to think of 9/11. This is a superhero movie in which the superhero has no magical powers; a superhero movie in which the action, even at its most preposterous, is more grounded in reality than in any other comic book film.
In addition to the Oscar-level cinematography and the sharp if occasionally overlong dialogue penned by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, “The Dark Knight Rises” soars with this amazing cast. Bale owns that Batman growl; Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are soothing presences as his oldest friends; Gary Oldman adds a Shakesperean touch to Commissioner Gordon. The newcomers include a purring Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Marion Cottilard as a gorgeous philanthropist and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a cop with a back story and a future. They are all outstanding. It is movie heaven to watch this cast at work. And though Hardy’s face is obscured by that mask, he delivers strong work as Bane.
At times the multiple storylines get tangled up and meander a bit. Once in a while I had a hard time understanding what Bane was saying from behind that mask. But these are minor issues compared to all the breathtaking action, all the memorable exchanges. And the final sequences of “The Dark Knight Rises” constitute the most satisfying five minutes of any movie so far this year. What a perfect ending. This is a worthy conclusion to one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time. I give “Dark Knight Rises” an A. I’m Richard Roeper and you can get all my reviews at richardroeper.com and on Reelz.