It has been eight years since catwoman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
This, likely, will be Christian Bale’s life. Even when he is promoting a different film, he’s required to answer questions about his time in the Bat suit. That’s the impact Christopher Nolan’s trilogy had on the pop-culture community. So during a SiriusXM Town Hall meeting on behalf of Exodus, Bale was asked about – and weighed in on – the controversial ending of The Dark Knight Rises, and whether Bruce Wayne left the citizens of Gotham high and dry.
The real world threats of terrorism, political anarchy and economic instability make deep incursions into the cinematic comic book domain in The Dark Knight Rises. Big-time Hollywood filmmaking at its most massively accomplished, this last installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy makes everything in the rival Marvel universe look thoroughly silly and childish. Entirely enveloping and at times unnerving in a relevant way one would never have imagined, as a cohesive whole this ranks as the best of Nolan’s trio, even if it lacks — how could it not? — an element as unique as Heath Ledger’s immortal turn in The Dark Knight. It’s a blockbuster by any standard.
Inducing Selina to take him to Bane, Batman gets more than he bargained for; physically, he’s no match for the mountainously muscled warrior, who sends the legendary crime fighter off to a literal hellhole of a prison, with the parting promise of reducing Gotham to ashes. Seemingly located in the Middle East, the dungeon resembles a huge well and has been escaped from only once, by none other than Bane, who is said to have been born there and got out as a child.
Here, as elsewhere, there are complex ties leading back to the comic books that link characters and motivations together; with Bruce and Bane, it is with the League of Shadows, which occasions the brief return of Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul, last seen in Batman Begins. A solid new character, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s resourceful street cop John Blake, is a grateful product of one of the Wayne Foundation’s orphanages. Many of the characters wear masks, either literal or figurative; provocatively, Batman’s mask hides his entire face except for his mouth, the very part of Bane which is covered. This is just one of the motifs the Nolans have used to ingeniously plot out the resolution to their three-part saga, which involves at least one major, superbly hidden surprise.
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