Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises
Published: 19 July, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Living in Gotham City must be pretty hard.
It’s permanently rainy, and the dark skies mimic the gothic atmosphere on the streets.
This is a society that is a picture of urban Armageddon, a place that could do with a dollop of solidarity to get it back on its feet. Instead, it gets corrupt cops and dodgy DAs, mega-rich businessmen and cut-throat crooks.
The only antidote is a lone wolf vigilante with relationship issues.
Since Highgate-born-and-bred director Christopher Nolan took on Batman in 2005 and gave us this not-for-kids trilogy, there’s been a parade of truly gruesome nasties.
They owe their incarnation to the chief mobsters of the organised syndicates from Chicago, New York and Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s.
We had Cillian Murphy as The Scarecrow, who used hallucinogenic gas to get his way, Heath Ledger’s knife-wielding Joker,
and then a bent DA called Two Face.
Now we have a baddie called Bane, a bloke with a muzzle across his chops that makes actor Tom Hardy seem perpetually angry. Added to the mix is Catwoman, played by a well-cast Anne Hathaway.
The final part of Nolan’s series goes like this. It has been nearly a decade since Batman hung up his cowl and stuffed his cape into a cupboard. He had become a fugitive, taking the rap for the death of crooked district attorney Harvey Dent.
Batman was labelled his killer, and has therefore decided it prudent to get back into a belfry and not show his whiskers for a while.
Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale on brilliant form) is a recluse, hobbling about Wayne Towers on a stick, seeing no one, and taking little interest even in his company, Wayne Industries.
But the emergence of super-crook Bane – who appears in an opening scene that is armrest-squeezingly good – and his plans for Gotham mean the Caped Crusader has to dust off his outfit, do some stretches and get back on the Bat Bike.
This film looks great, and there’s a vein of humour that tips a wink to contemporary foibles: stockbrokers are portrayed as figures of fun.
The gadgets are superb, Catwoman looks ace. Perhaps she could have been darker, nastier and crazier – but Hathaway ticks many other boxes anyway.
Let’s face it, a film with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman in senior spots has to have some welly to it.
Nolan has shown he is a superb film-maker with earlier efforts such as Memento, and this is another feather in his cap: he has taken the old Batman away from camp laughs and kapows! for good.
But there is one massive problem with this dark and violent film, which is a charge that sticks against all of Nolan’s Batman films.
Batman is a character loved by children, a superhero that youngsters should be able to enjoy.
By re-casting it as an adult story it misses a demographic that would ultimately get the most out of the Batman films.
I’m not overly inclined to spend too many hours of my life sitting through hugely long superhero films that are far too violent for my son to accompany me to see.
It’s happened time and again with comic-book heroes brought to the big screen in the past decade.