The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review

When the credits roll at the end of this overlong action epic, it feels like we've just turned the final page of an immersive novel. It takes about an hour to find its stride, but Nolan's final Batman movie is also thunderously complex and entertaining.

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.

Comments

The Dark Knight Rises Rating

" Extraordinary "

Rating: 12, 2012

Advertisement

More Christian Bale

Warner Bros Call Disney's 'Jungle Book' Cast and Raise Them Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett

While two high budget Jungle Book adaptations coming out within a year of each other from rival studios seems like a confusing prospect, it certainly...

Christian Bale And Wife Sibi Subtly Have Their Second Baby

Christian Bale and his wife, SIbi, have recently welcomed the birth of their second child. The couple married in January, 2000 and their first child...

Christian Bale Becomes A Father For The Second Time!

Christian Bale has become a father for the second time. The British actor and his wife, Sibi Bale, recently welcomed a baby boy into the...

Lead Film Roles That Could Have Looked Very Different

With Robert Downey Jr fitting so perfectly as likeable irritant Tony Stark, Christian Bale slipping so easily into the tortured billionaire psyche of Bruce Wayne...

Advertisement

See Heavily Eye-Linered Christian Bale As Moses In Ridley Scott's 'Exodus: Gods And Kings' [Trailer & Pictures]

Director Ridley Scott has dealt with some epic stories whether it's the might of the Roman Empire and the obsession with gladiators, slavering murderous aliens...

Exodus: Gods And Kings Trailer

Moses and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses grew up together as brothers after the former was saved from drowing in the Nile. However, Moses has not...

David Fincher Leaves Steve Jobs Movie After 'Ridiculous' Wage Demands

Oscar-winning filmmaker David Fincher has walked out on Aaron Sorkin's biopic of late Apple founder Steve Jobs after Sony Pictures turned down his "aggressive" demands...

Is This A Celebrity Which I See Before Me? Hollywood Actors Who Have Tackled Shakespeare Roles

There’s no better way of proving that you are a true artiste than taking on a challenging Shakespearean role. Not content with raking in millions...

Advertisement