In recent years, Christopher Nolan’s take on the Batman franchise has redefined what a comic book movie can be. His darker, more realistic approach to Batman gives us an entirely different experience to other summer blockbusters, particularly those based on comics.
Comparisons and competition with Marvel’s Avengers Assemble will be inevitable this summer but The Dark Knight Rises is sure to offer something entirely different. The Avengers is one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen this year with a relatively straight forward and light hearted plot, much like most comic book adaptations. However, Nolan’s Batman films have broken this trend and become something else entirely. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight have managed to be action-packed, unsettling and yet still highly intelligent and it looks as if The Dark Knight Rises will continue this trend. As the conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises is sure to have huge emotional impact, something the previous films have managed to execute perfectly.
A lot of the credit for The Dark Knight’s success can be given to the late Heath Ledger, who gave an astonishingly powerful and terrifying performance as the Joker. When announced that Ledger would play the Joker, I was unsure if he’d be able to compete with Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s take on Batman, but now it’s difficult to imagine anyone else in his place. Thanks to this casting choice, I now trust in Nolan’s ability whole-heartedly and his choice of Tom Hardy as brutally strong yet calculated Bane couldn’t be more perfect.
However, the introduction of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman has still left many fans concerned. The character has been handled poorly time and time again, particularly in 2004’s Catwoman. Initially I moaned with all the others, believing the character was both unnecessary and unwanted in Nolan’s take on Gotham, but after numerous trailers it now makes perfect sense. After the events of The Dark Knight, Batman is considered an outlaw, which leaves a gap for a character who is similarly outside the law. Although I still have my concerns about Hathaway, I’ve been proven spectacularly wrong by Nolan before and I’m fully prepared for it to happen again.
The strength of this already all-star cast (including Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman to name a few) is completed by newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. Playing two characters new to the Batman film franchise, (although speculation would suggest these may lead to much more familiar rolls…) the inclusion of these two can only mean good things as both actors have shined in recent years, particularly when working with Nolan on Inception.
Time and time again, Nolan has proven himself master of the intelligent summer blockbuster and with the foundations that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight have set, The Dark Knight Rises looks to be yet another smash hit and a more than satisfying conclusion to the trilogy for all Bat-fans.
By Patrick Doolittle