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The Dark Knight Rises | The Clapper Bored

The Dark Knight Rises

I’m someone who’s willing to put my hands up and admit that I preferred Batman Begins to The Dark Knight. I prefer preamble to action, brooding awakenings to car chases. I am not an action movie man but Chris Nolan is a sufficiently intelligent filmmaker for me to retain some level of interest in his movies (except Inception). The Dark Knight Rises is a weird crescendo to a series that everyone seems to think peaked with Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning performance; it’s both elegiac and bombastic, a monumental testament to both intelligent, character driven cinema and summer blockbusters.

I had my doubts about the introduction of such a plethora of new characters but, on the whole, they’re seamlessly woven into the pre-existing fabric of the series. I wasn’t an Anne Hathaway fan but she nails the Catwoman part (hitherto a poisoned chalice) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes such a fine addition to the ensemble that you’ll wish they’d introduced him earlier in the trilogy. But, at the heart of the movie, are the returning cast members: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. It matters surprisingly little that Rachel and Harvey died in the last movie- the core that has been present throughout are still there to pack the emotional heat, whilst the new characters more than fill the void left by the deceased.

One of the main criticisms of the film has been the villain, Bane. Undoubtedly, he has less impact that Ledger’s Joker, although that was always going to be an unenviable task to follow. Hardy does well with the role but it’s all about physicality and he gets very little time to actually ‘act’- the voice work being weirdly dislocated ADR work- meaning that he feels ineffectual compared to the Joker. But when Bane and Batman come face to face, their confrontations are pounding and brutal in all the right ways, even if he’s not as instantly iconic as his predecessor. This is a film that packs as many punches as its central characters and whilst it’s not quite perfect, it’s a hellova finale to what’s been one of the most interesting and revolutionary franchises in modern cinema.

Nolan bows out of Batman with a bang: unrelenting, epic and as human as any superhero movie I’ve seen.

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4.5
Title: The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman
Running Time: Slight less than forever
Certificate: 12a

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