The hype for this film has been building up since 2008, when The Dark Knight arrived in theaters and blew us all away. Almost immediately after that, whispers began as to who the next villain was going to be, and just where Christopher Nolan was going to take us next. Well the wait is finally over…and this film delivers and is much deserved of all the hype it has generated.
This is a very different film than the previous Nolan Batman efforts. It is truly a study in masterful storytelling. We all knew that this film was going to be epic, but not THIS epic. Christopher Nolan managed to get us to look past the cape and cowl, and has given us a glimpse of the consequences that devoting your life to fighting crime can bring. In this film, we see a physically and psychologically beaten and battered Bruce Wayne, haunted by the events that transpired eight years prior in The Dark Knight. In fact, this film is much more character centric than the previous films. You truly get a sense of just how much the Batman has affected everybody’s lives.
The acting in this film is superb, nobody, and I mean nobody, misses a beat. Christian Bale once again blows you away with his portrayal of Bruce Wayne. You truly get the sense that Bruce is broken and tired from Bale’s performance. Michael Caine is phenomenal as Alfred. His performance really pulls you in and nearly brought me to tears at some points in the movie. You can feel just how much he cares for Bruce Wayne. Gary Oldman comes through once again as the heroic father figure Commissioner James Gordon, showing the same blue collar tenacity that he has throughout this excellent trilogy. Tom Hardy is truly terrifying as Bane. It was a different kind of terror, however. The Joker was terrifying in The Dark Knight because he was unpredictable; you never knew if someone was going to live or die with him on screen. Bane is a brutal monster, and you knew someone was going to die, the question was when. Tom Hardy managed to strike this fear just by his facial expressions. When you look into Bane’s eyes, all you see is a cold and calculated monster. Anne Hathaway was regal and mischievous as Catwoman. She brilliantly walked the line between good and evil throughout the film, leaving you to question each and every one of her choices.
The film as a whole is beautifully shot. Set with a backdrop of cold, wintery Gotham City. The story is fluid and moves the film along well, never getting stagnate. There are little easter eggs peppered throughout the film that help the story progress nicely. Not to mention the tantalizing surprises that leave you with just enough information to want more. Overall, this is a beautiful film. It has a strong emotional backbone and is full of action, tension, and gut wrenching performances. This film breaks the mold of lackluster “threequels” and certainly raises the bar extremely high for not only the next cinematic reimagining of Batman, but superhero films as a whole. I give this film a 9.5/10.