It's eight years later, and Commissioner Gordon (Oldman) has allowed the press to create a myth that Batman was a villain. Badly injured, Bruce Wayne (Bale) has become a recluse, tended to by his butler Alfred (Caine). Then a new baddie arrives: Bane (Hardy) is part of the League of Shadows, trained by Bruce's old nemesis Ra's al Ghul (Neeson) to purge the world of human decadence. So Bruce turns to Wayne company boss Lucius (Freeman) to get back in fighting shape, deciding to trust a slippery cat burglar (Hathaway) and a rookie cop (Gordon-Levitt).
From here, the complicated, intensely focused plot encompasses a large number of important characters, portentous dialog (much of Bane's is unintelligible) and massive set pieces that drive the action inexorably forward. The scale of this is so big that it never feels like a fun summer blockbuster: this is a bold, long, very serious film packed with big ideas. It's not a lot of fun, but it constantly provokes us to invest ourselves.
The extended running time gives the actors the time to shine in their roles.
Bale has a terrific worn-out steeliness that feeds into Bruce's internal war: he wants to stay quietly at home, but knows he must take action, whatever the outcome. His interaction with Caine, Oldman, Cotillard and Freeman is packed with layers of jagged subtext. Hardy pulls some surprises out of the hat with Bane, especially in the final act. And Hathaway prowls and purrs through the film, stealing every scene while providing some badly needed levity.
As always, Nolan never simplifies anything, forcing us to work out the story's inter-connections and revelations. He also keeps everything grounded, adding gravity to spectacular action scenes that have very high stakes. Even more haunting are the textured themes gurgling throughout the film, not only Bane's anti-capitalist anarchists, but the more personal issues of family and loyalty that constantly force us to internalise each difficult decision the characters are called to make.
Run time: 165 mins
In Theaters: Friday 20th July 2012
Box Office USA: $448.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $1.1B
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Syncopy, Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, DC Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 270 Rotten: 38
IMDB: 8.6 / 10
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenwriter: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy as Bane, Marion Cotillard as Miranda, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, Morgan Freeman as Fox, Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow, Juno Temple as Jen, Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul, Matthew Modine as Deputy Commissioner Foley, Alon Aboutboul as Dr. Pavel (as Alon Moni Aboutboul), Ben Mendelsohn as Daggett, Nestor Carbonell as The Mayor, Josh Pence as Young Ra's Al Ghul, Vincent van Ommen as Chanter (voice), Tom Conti as Prisoner, Joey King as Young Talia Al Ghul, Warren Brown as Mercenary Security #1, Daniel Sunjata as Captain Jones, Sam Kennard as Special Ops Sergeant, Aliash Tepina as Hooded Man #2, Nick Julian as Caterer, Miranda Nolan as Maid #2, Aidan Gillen as CIA Op
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