There has been massive excitement (some may call it hype) over another Hollywood, comic-book blockbuster this month in the climax to the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises (2012). The series comes to an end, jumping forward 8 years to a time of sustained peace in Gotham City in the aftermath of the previous films. However, as excitingly introduced early on in the film, there is a new evil in town, the terrifying Bane (Tom Hardy).
This villain is a proper villain: an obscured identity, a great voice and accent, power over his minions and in strength and one with such evil plans that Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) comes out of retirement to set Batman loose in order to restore peace. Anne Hathaway joins the trilogy also, playing the cleverly avoided Catwoman, and does well in this more serious role, making an intriguing and exciting addition to the film. With British writers and a British director, you know the story will be good and the multiple plotlines throughout the film, and indeed through the trilogy, are just as gripping as the characters in them. Honourable mentions also go to Michael Caine, still a great Alfred, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, collaborating with Nolan again, playing John Robin Blake (oh dear...).
At times, there are holes left in these stories, however, that viewers will just have to fill in for themselves, and at times there can be a bit too much going on to take in. Though this creates a desire to go back and watch again (as some I know have done!), it an be a tad overwheming. Either way, fans of the trilogy and action films in general won't care as there is plenty to keep them happy!
What stood out most for me was the soundtrack and overall mix. There is a sweeping undercurrent throughout, as often in Nolan's films, which helps build up the story, and in fact disappears at some of the most tense scenes in the movie. Batman and Bane's first fight is accompanied by only the sounds of the battle and the commencement of Bane's city wide attacks are the backdrop to simply a young boy's emotional rendition of the Stars and Stripes at an american football match.
The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting end(?) to this Batman trilogy and a thrilling action movie in its own right. A director's cut to fill in some of the glossed over plot lines would be nice but, with the screen version two hours and forty-fie minutes as it is, that's probably unlikely. One way or the other, it's a very enjoyable film but probably not worth the hype that preceded it.