It’s the movie we’ve been waiting for all summer: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is the stunning culmination of writer/director Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN trilogy. Once again, Christian Bale is perfect as the magnetic and mysterious Bruce Wayne, millionaire orphan hero who finds his identity behind a mask, avenging the random torments humanity is heir to. His body broken, and now perceived as an enemy of Gotham, he is forced to confront a new nemesis.
We meet him in the movie’s impossibly exciting opening sequence which involves two planes in an obscenely daring midair skirmish, and a villain wearing what looks like an octopus strapped to his face. His name is “Bane” (Tom Hardy); I gasped when I heard it –wonder what Mitt did? So this time, it’s Wayne vs. Bane in a jam-packed plot that threatens to overwhelm, but instead commands our full attention. (One quibble– the sound is so layered, the dialogue is sometimes hard to hear.)
Enter Anne Hathaway who practically steals the movie in addition to Bruce Wayne’s jewels as slinky Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman. Hathaway is lithe and fierce, sexy and funny, careening out of windows and onto dance floors with effortless cool. Gorgeous in everything from black latex to wide brimmed hats and wasp-waisted pencil skirts, Hathaway’s Catwoman dispatches herds of thugs with a flick of her supple wrist and nary a hair out of place.
Joseph Gordon- Levitt brings his level gaze and unique screen energy to his role as Blake, an earnest young police officer who has, like Bruce Wayne, found a way to keep his own troubled past at bay.
The rest of this cast is a marvel: Marion Cotillard is scintillating as Miranda Tate, a powerful beauty and potential love interest; Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine slip comfortably back into their roles as Fox and Alfred, members of Batman’s inner circle, and Gary Oldman once again brings real dramatic tension to his role as the conflicted Commissioner Gordon who knows the truth about what went down at the end of the last installment.
Though clocking in at two hours and 44 minutes, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES never goes slack. Director Christopher Nolan has not only whipped up a series of ridiculously exciting, finely calibrated action sequences (my world renowned “sound” genius friend assures me the film will win an Oscar for sound effects editing), but he has paced this dynamic tale with his finger on every dramatic pulse point. Nolan knows when to let up, when to be quiet, when to let a flock of birds take off at precisely the right moment to leave you clutching your heart. He knows just how to straddle the comic book world of the implausibly plausible, while exorcising our real life demons, and the paranoia lurking around the edges of modern life.
The powerless among us– and these days that may be just about everyone –will thrill to the sight of greedy stock traders caught in the crossfire, clinging for all they’re worth to the backs of motorcycles driven by demon terrorists speeding into the night. Somehow Nolan has brought back the dark thrill and symbolic power of the Batman once again, a tormented superhero for the masses who just won’t give up.
DO NOT MISS “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES”!