Release date: July 20, 2012
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Story by: Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy
Running Time: 164 minutes
Batman, you’ve come a long way. The DC comic books notwithstanding, Batman has journeyed from the cartoony “bam!” “biff!” “pow!” of the Adam West television series of the ’60s — and its attendant 1966 movie – to seven ensuing feature films. From Tim Burton’s highly stylized, darkly comedic renderings to Joel Schumacher’s hyper-jokiness, the franchise was all but reinvented by Christopher Nolan, crafting three films verging on the Wagnerian, with their ever-increasing length, scope and portent. The comics? This Dark Knight? Surely, you jest.
As the franchise has progressed, it’s turned into a kind of onscreen resident theater company. Yet rather than multiple actors interpreting specific roles from the works of, say, Shakespeare, Shaw, Albee and Miller, it’s the insistent ring of the red Batphone that calls out. And it isn’t just Christian Bale, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton and Adam West who’ve answered. The TV series aside, we’ve had four Catwomen (including that standalone Halle Berry nightmare), three Robins, Jokers, Alfreds and Commissioner Gordons, and multiple Penguins, Riddlers and Two-Faces. As well as the many stars who showed up as various villains, vixens and sidekicks. Yep, Batman is a virtual Chiropteran hothouse of who’s-who. Or, given the franchise’s age, who was who.
And now, with The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan and lead Christian Bale are taking their final Batmanian bows in a story that co-writers Nolan, colleague/brother Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer have set eight years from the prior 2008 sequel of The Dark Knight. Per Goyer, “The reason we decided on a gap of eight years is that there needed to be significant enough time for the Batman legend to have faded a bit, and we wanted Bruce Wayne himself to have withdrawn behind a veil of rumor and mystery.” Here, we meet up with Bruce (Christian Bale) who isn’t doing well; limping around Wayne Manor in a Howard Hughes-ian melancholia, he mourns as much for Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent as his own lost self. He may have relinquished Batman but, in the process, he’s misplaced Bruce as well. Help eventually arrives, but not from Michael Caine’s Alfred, giving impassioned speeches about his refusal to stand witness to his beloved Master Wayne’s self-destruction. Instead, it comes in the slinky form of Anne Hathaway’s sexy grifter Selina Kyle (“Catwoman,” though never given that exact moniker) and the bulky musculature of Tom Hardy’s vicious Bane. When Selina manages to crack a Wayne safe that is supposedly burglar-proof, the conflicted billionaire is intrigued. And when Bane not only takes over Gotham, but exploits Bruce’s identity, causing him to lose his fortune, well, Bruce can’t help but jump into the batsuit once again. One half of the id coming to rescue the other … nice.
But considering the IMAX-ian bigger picture: How fares the farewell?
[For the full review and rating on doddle, please click here]