The world has waited with breath that is baited for the last four years to find out how it all ends. Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker’s filmmaker. Considered a God among fans and the industry, each film in his list of credits is a masterclass in storytelling, technology and the true limits of this medium. So can these talents translate when it comes to putting to rest the bittersweet conclusion to the most admired Batman saga?
Picking up eight years after the escapades of ‘The Dark Knight’, Bruce Wayne has become a recluse and Batman is retired. The streets of Gotham are clean and safe - a little too safe thanks to the heroic memory of Harvey Dent. The overwhelming sense of security Gotham now boasts leaves it wide open for Bane - one scary dude who’s come into town to finish what Ra’s Al Ghul started in ‘Batman Begins’. Bruce Wayne is forced to resurface to save his empire, save Gotham and, on the side, run interference with a feisty cat burglar wreaking havoc amongst the rich and powerful.
Once again, picking from his extremely vast and ridiculously talented pool of actors he’s already worked with, Nolan has added ‘Inception’s’ Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard to the mix, as well as Anne Hathaway, a worthy Catwoman. His skills knowing no bounds, Nolan has directed incredible performances from each of his players - Hathaway’s Catwoman being the most fun and enjoyable to watch, and Gordon-Levitt’s idealistic rookie cop John Blake is a wonderful breath of fresh air and a true joy to watch.
The visual scope of this film is still in keeping with the past two instalments but action-wise, we’re left a little wanting - that’s thanks to the story being a character piece this time around, dealing with the emotional aftermath of ‘The Dark Knight’ and looking to the future. Gotham has lived in a peaceful Batman-free world for the last eight years, and as just a man he can’t go on forever. So where does it end?
Nolan has directed incredible performances from each of his players.
Not quite as smart and polished a script as its predecessors and what we’ve come to expect from the dynamic Nolan brothers, there’s just a little too much exposition happening from all angles, resulting in bouts of forced and unnatural dialogue. Tension-breaking moments of wit and whimsy are few and far between, making the 2 hours and 45 minutes (the longest of the three) a little tougher.
With that, this reviewer is inclined to declare ‘The Dark Knight’ the superior of the three films thanks to the incomparable and unsurpassed, before or since, performance of Heath Ledger - a “bad” Christopher Nolan Batman is still ten times better than 99% of the drivel that comes out of Hollywood these days. This instalment may not hit the impossibly high expectations set up by the audience and Nolan himself, but it still packs a satisfying punch and delivers a conclusion far greater than anyone could have hoped or dreamed of.