Eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, a reclusive Bruce Wayne brings Batman out of retirement to combat a ruthless mercenary with an army of fanatical followers who hold the entire city of Gotham for ransom.
I feel I have to begin this review by pointing out that The Dark Knight Rises is a beautifully crafted superhero blockbuster, because otherwise it’s going to sound extremely negative! The problem for me is that this film is somewhat lacking in the “X Factor” that made the first two instalments seem so very special. Let’s face it, Tom Hardy had an act that’s basically impossible to follow but when the script touched on the moral ambiguity of the character of Bruce Wayne – that he’s essentially a billionaire who goes around beating up poor people to maintain the establishment’s status quo – I thought that Nolan had done it again.
Unfortunately he chose not to explore the social implications, instead electing to hang a bomb over the heads of this “citizen’s revolution” reducing Bane to another hostage taking thug instead of a radical revolutionary. I also think that removing Alfred and therefore much of the humanity and humour from the equation was a mistake and I would have liked a little more ambiguity (a la Inception) as to the fate of the character. Plus I could also point out that the story is basically Rocky III crossed with Star Wars with yet another generic race against time tacked onto the end. All of these complaints conspired to make me somewhat disappointed with the film, but I reiterate; this is only by the incredibly high standards that were set by the franchise.
By any others, The Dark Rises is an excellent piece of entertainment and deserving of the highest praise as a fitting conclusion to a series that has single handedly raised the bar for the quality of mainstream cinema.