Fitting valedictory for ‘Batman’By Rito P. Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In “The Dark Knight Rises,” Christopher Nolan delivers a fitting valedictory for his genre-defining “Batman” trilogy. As the visionary director of “Inception” and “Memento” examines the conflicting motivations of his tortured superhero (Christian Bale), he smartly reintroduces a formidable moral provocateur in the Dark Knight’s parallel universe to further shake up Bruce Wayne’s chaotic world.
Bane (Tom Hardy) is as sinisterly calculating as he is physically intimidating, and hovers over Batman’s metropolis with an aura of overwhelming malevolence that makes even the slithery and usually fearless Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (the purr-fect Anne Hathaway) quiver in her fur—and pray for nine more lives!
The grueling work just never lets up for Gotham’s masked vigilante—but, after eight years of inactivity brought about by the death of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Harvey Dent aka Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart) in 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” the dashing playboy has become an eccentric (and physically handicapped) recluse who no longer finds joy in the bustling city he has sacrificed so much to save.
However, when Bane threatens to bring Gotham to its knees (by blowing its clueless inhabitants up into smithereens—no spoilers here), Bruce is shaken out of his apathy and is forced back into the swing of things, with the help of Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and rookie cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). But, does Batman still have what it takes to stop his vengeful nemesis?
As Wayne deals with his grief and unshakable guilt, Nolan cuts a swath of gloomy foreboding by creating an escalating atmosphere of mayhem. As he steers the film to its dazzling finale, he effectively juggles edge-of-your-seat spectacle with moments of soulful sobriety that allow his exceptional actors to squeeze gravitas out of their comic-inspired characters and turn in moving performances.
Predilection for anarchy
Hardy’s characterization is nowhere as transcendent as Heath Ledger’s indelible, Oscar-winning turn as the Joker in the superhero franchise’s previous instalment – but, Hardy is just as terrifying in his distinctive and well-delineated portrayal of a man whose predilection for anarchy is driven by loyalty and vengeance.
At two hours and 45 minutes, despite its impeccable production values, the film is simply too long – so, halfway through its convoluted narrative course, where it should have started wrapping up its tale and reined in its protracted philosophizing about guilt and redemption, the movie loses some of the spark established by its briskly paced beginning and Nolan’s novel storytelling tack.
Thankfully, the exposition picks up again as its shocking twists are revealed, especially when Miranda Tate, played by the superlative Marion Cotillard, begins to unravel! For fanboys and comic-book geeks who grew up idolizing Batman and the people in his life, it’s a treat to see how Nolan skilfully “introduces” a very valuable character in the Dark Knight mythology without making it seem gimmicky, just as he wraps up his conclusion to the acclaimed trilogy. It’s a hair-raising and exhilarating moment, that’s for sure!
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