James Holmes and his decision to shoot into a midnight audience for The Dark Night Rises aside, the The Dark Night Rises is an incredible, and incredibly complex, work of a movie. We have to get back to a discussion of the movie itself, because James Holmes act of committing the worst mass-murder in American history has had such an incredible topic-shifting impact that even a search on Google for “The Dark Knight Rises” yields content about the shooting and not the movie.
The third and what seems to be final (?) installment of the film series featuring Christopher Nolan’s take on the legendary Bruce Wayne and his bat-based alter-ego is the best one of the three. It’s better because of its incredible scale – scale of idea, sets, vehicles, and characters. It’s better – but not head-and-shoulders above The Dark Knight, because nothing can top the late-Heath Ledger’s performance as ‘The Joker.’
Where the Joker was just plain funny-smart, ‘Bane,’ played by Tom Hardy, is just plain scary-smart. Bane is an unhappy, energetic, bullying, intelligent, feeling, complex, and Frankensteinian man – the last because he’s truly a monster on the loose, drunk with amazing physical power, and not afraid to use it to kill people. In short, he’s one screwed up dude.
Bane’s only match is Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway in what is her best role yet. About two years ago I said Ms. Hathaway needed to get into a gym if she was going to be a credible Catwoman. Well, she not only did that, but managed to form a personality that is one-part sweet and the other part nasty and totally sexy all at once. Throw in some Spiderman-like wisecracking and you’ve got an iconic character that I’d love to see in her own movie. I do hope that comes to pass.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who’s become a favorite actor in Nolan’s movies, provides the grounded character who balances all the crazy folks around him. The arrows point to him as Robin, but a different Robin that what we have seen to date.
While this may be the final series in The Dark Knight trilogy, I have a feeling it’s not over.