A Sombre End To A Wonderful Trilogy
Following the colossal success of The Dark Knight with a bigger sequel was always going to be a difficult task and in many ways The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t even try to outdo what’s come before. Instead, The Dark Knight Rises feels much more sombre with its tone; almost a hangover of sorts following the breathless action that consumed large portions of the previous film. With a story set years after the events of The Dark Knight and a more immediate focus on the damaging effect The Joker’s reign had on Gotham City, Bane steps forward as the main antagonist for the final film in this excellent trilogy.
The story begins eight years after the events of the previous film, The Dark Knight. With Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) exiled from Gotham and the city experiencing a rare bout of peace following The Joker’s anarchist reign, opportunist terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) takes over the city, forcing Bruce out of exile and to don the Batman persona once again to stop Bane’s reign of terror. With Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) thrown in as the proverbial wild card, there’s an interesting dynamic between her and Batman but most of this drama is overshadowed by the psychological mind games Bane orchestrates as his grip over Gotham tightens. Although there are hints at a potential sequel, The Dark Knight Rises is very definitive in the way it closes out the trilogy, ending in a satisfying manner for most of the characters.
For the most part Tom Hardy puts in a good performance as Bane, although understandably his performance does pale in comparison to Heath Ledger’s creation of The Joker during The Dark Knight. Reveling in his psychologically unhinged persona, Bane’s chaotic reign is still well written and menacing enough to cause serious issues for Batman and Gotham. There’s some genuinely unnerving moments too, especially one iconic scene that occurs early into Bane’s dominance where he addresses a silent stadium of shocked spectators with a chilling address. Christian Bale returns to play Bruce Wayne again and puts in another solid performance with the supporting cast largely unchanged too with the exception of Anne Hathaway whose performance as Catwoman does lack a little finesse needed to pull off the character but still reasonably good given the talented cast around her.
The Dark Knight Rises is a perfectly enjoyable action film with some good characterisation and another beautifully composed soundtrack accentuating the chaos on-screen. Unfortunately, alongside Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises pales in comparison, providing a solid but largely overshadowed ending to one of the best superhero trilogies ever released.