REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises

It’s just about the most anticipated film of the year. But did it live up to the hype?

Set eight years on from The Dark KnightTDKR is dark. Very dark. The residents of Gotham worship the memory of a corrupt cop, villains terrorise the city from the protection of the sewers and Bruce Wayne is a tortured soul who hasn’t been seen in public for years. Happily, he eventually reappears to (hopefully) save the city from the baddie of all baddies, Bane. Yay!

Will he return… Won’t he return… What do you think?!

One thing I hated about the film was the gratuitous violence peppered throughout. Civilians were killed left, right and centre; there were shootings and endless fights and even the odd bit of neck-breaking. It was grim and, if you’re a massive wuss like me who can’t even sit through a fight scene in Eastenders without having to look away, it doesn’t make easy viewing.

Christian Bale was excellent as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Anne Hathaway was mildly irritating but generally very good as Catwoman. All eyes, however, were on Tom Hardy, who stole the show as Bane.

Where to begin with Bane? I have endless questions – why was he strutting around in a sheepskin coat? Why was the mask he wears never explained? (The lame ‘he got in a bit of a fight’ sequence didn’t really cover it.)

Hardy – who had buffed up massively for the role – would have made a very convincing villain were it not for the fact that big, bad-ass Bane spoke with the unusual intonation of an eccentric English lord. We’re meant to believe that this guy grew up in a cave underground in the Sahara or something (it got a little tedious and I zoned out for a while…) and is now set on destroying Batman and Gotham and yet – and yet! – he talks like some kind of crazy aristocrat. His ridiculous accent was made all the more ridiculous by the fact that it was practically inaudible at times owing to his mask. Oh, Bane.

The film’s plot was clever but rather convoluted, and you’ll either start puking violently or cheering wildly at the ending (which I will surmise cryptically thus: Bruce fulfils his butler’s wishes).

Actually, you know what? I’m going to say it – I LIKED the ending. It was gentle and at odds with the dull violence that filtered through the rest of the film, plus it led to the unexpected appearance of Robin (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was, FYI, really brilliant as the young, disillusioned police officer who got Bruce Wayne to return as Batman).

The cast at the UK premiere

I also liked the fact that the ‘super heroes’ are shown as real people. When they get punched, they fall to the ground. They cry out; Batman breaks his back during one particularly hideous fight scene. Bane cringes in pain when his mask is touched. It adds a more humane element and makes the characters seem far more than just your average comic book heroes.

So yes: in short, go and see it and, if nothing else, just marvel at Bane’s accent and fall in love with Alfred, the super-loyal butler. And, like me, start off a bit of a cynic and, by the end of it, feel genuinely sad that it’s the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Boo.

In cinemas now.

By Katie Byrne.

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2 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises”

  1. Bane didn’t grow up in the prison he was sent there. Nor did he escape from it. He was rescued, so your point about his accent appearing from nowhere is clearly flawed. The only problem with his voice is in the prologue where they re did it. As his voice is TOO clear in comparison to everyone else shouting on the plane. As for Banes violence, that has been taken from the comic books and wouldn’t make sense if he was any different. He does actually break Batman’s back in the comics, so needed to be done really. Go watch it, if you don’t understand some of it or want more details, read about it. Be proactive then go see it again as it is a great film with some flaws but over all, outstanding. But the Dark Knight is the best of the three.

    1. Why did Bane end up in prison (and I still don’t understand where the ridiculous accent comes from, or what the device on his face does)? I don’t necessarily want to have to do a load of back-reading before/after a film, let alone go and see it again – especially if I didn’t enjoy it *that* much. I just felt that parts of it could have been made immediately clearer – not everyone who goes to see it is going to be a Batman buff! Agree that The Dark Knight was my favourite of the three, too. I wonder what the ending of DKR meant in relation to the fact that it was the end of Nolan’s trilogy?

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