To call Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) “master” of the summer blockbuster would be putting it lightly. His latest film “The Dark Knight Rises,” the epic conclusion of Nolan’s Batman franchise, is by no means an exception.
“The Dark Knight Rises” picks up eight years after “The Dark Knight” ended, and Gotham’s days of organized crime are becoming a distant memory. The Harvey Dent Law, named after Gotham’s dear departed white knight, has put away hundreds of mobsters, cleaned up Gotham’s streets and turned the city’s police force into a collection of complacent mall cops. The stalwart Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is about to be fired because he can’t adjust to peacetime police work, and is still covering up the lie which has vilified Batman, Gotham’s currently unsung hero.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) has been living as a virtual recluse since the death of Rachel in the last film, retired from acting as Batman, and kept company by his caretaker-cum-butler, Alfred (Michael Caine). Wayne is pulled back into the land of the living when a cat burglar (Anne Hathaway)–she’s never actually called “Catwoman,” but the implication is blatant–enters his home disguised as a maid and makes off with his mother’s pearls. Once again abusing the privacy of Gotham, Wayne tracks her down and the two form a flirty alliance. Their relationship is based on her desperation to escape her mounting criminal record and his desire for information on a growing threat to the city, a mysterious figure named Bane (Tom Hardy), which only a denizen of Gotham’s seedy underbelly could provide.
Bane, it turns out, is an expelled member of the League of Shadows, which Wayne is also a graduate of. But when Wayne left the group to fight against Ra’s al Ghul’s plans for chaos and destruction, Bane intended to complete this “noble” work by destroying Gotham once and for all. After Batman has been physically bested by the brutal villain, kidnapped and stripped of his fortune, he is forced to watch from a distance as all hell breaks loose, struggling against insurmountable odds to return to his helpless city. Bane’s army of malcontents patrol Gotham, which quickly devolves into a war zone, cut off from the rest of the world, and left to fight for its own life–or become a literal crater.
In the aftermath following the tragedy of the Colorado midnight premiere, fans continued to rally around the movie–proof of the film’s cult following.
“It would be difficult for any future Batman film to surpass Christopher Nolan’s end to the trilogy,” Ava Giuliano ’14 said.
Nolan is working with nearly all of his favorite actors on this project, and it shows. Though it is nearly impossible to compete with Heath Ledger’s unforgettable performance in the previous film, the ensemble cast could hardly be better. But with so much cool stuff happening, we are willing to overlook the little things. Sure, there are some gaping plot loopholes, such as a lack of explanation of what happened to the Joker and the fact that the talented Tom Hardy wore a mask that literally restricted his ability to act. We’ll forgive them because hey, it’s the new Nolan movie, and at the end of the day, it’s just that cool.