Special to South Florida Times
Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Dark Knight Rises ushers in the end of an era, or as the marketing department says it, “the end of a legend.” The legend is the Batman trilogy, helmed by genius writer/director Christopher Nolan.
In Christopher and Jonathan Nolan’s script, we find a broken Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale), eight years after the death of Two-Face/Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Dent now is a hero and Wayne’s alter-ego, Batman, the villain.
That is until a new kind breed of terrorist — Bane (played by Tom Hardy) — decides to take out his societal frustration on Gotham City.
Bane is like a Joker hybrid: bigger, stronger, smarter and with the kind of depth that humanizes him in the end. A mercenary trained by the League of Shadows — the same people who trained Wayne — Bane takes it upon himself to carry out the league’s mission. He’s come to Gotham to wreak havoc on people who put vain capitalist desires above all else.
The Nolan brothers have cornered the market on writing heartfelt action films that keep their audiences guessing from start to finish. Their long-running movie times are beside the point. The Dark Knight Rises’ script is so ironclad and airtight that audiences are happy to fall in with an entertaining story.
Christopher Nolan, the director, exploits every scene, glance and plot point to advance the experience. So much so that the audience doesn’t see the surprises coming. It’s awesome storytelling.
With a facial mask basically covering Bane’s mouth and nose in an airtight seal, rendering his words almost incoherent although giving Bane more depth, Nolan apparently decided to dub Hardy’s voice so that viewers could understand Bane’s evil banter.
Bale tends to whisper his Batman’s words in a rasp that isn’t always understandable. Still, his performance as the hotheaded Dark Knight is a can’t-miss. He brings the best of Bruce Wayne/Batman full circle, from broken to healed. Hardy as Bane is one scary dude, the type of person you don’t want to tussle with. He has bark and bite — but also a history that humbles him. Just when the audience is ready to see him off to the underworld, he is somewhat redeemed — again a truly Nolan characterization, making audiences feel for the villain.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings Dark Knight Rises into focus as a rookie cop, John Blake, who still believes in Batman even though Bruce Wayne does not.
END OF BEGINNING?
End of the Batman franchise? Nolan and company would have their audience believe this is it for the Bat; but it’s not. In the last few minutes of the film, viewers come to realize that just because one legend ends doesn’t mean another can’t begin.
This may be the end of Batman, but be on the lookout for what else DC Comics has in store from the bat cave. Hopefully, the Nolan brothers will add their magic to that film as well.
Photo Courtesy of allmoviephoto.com/Ron Phillips