(Image taken from Wikipedia)
As a number of people know, I'm an avid Batman fan, even if I don't follow the current "new 52" version of the iconic hero. And, yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the third installment of Christopher Nolan's and Christian Bale's take on the Dark Knight. For the non-fan, the story was fairly coherent enough to follow without needing to read up on decades of the comic, and, for fanboys such as myself, there was enough connections to the comic for me to sit back and be satisfied.
I'm not going to give a synopsis of the movie; you'll just have to watch it for yourselves. What I did like were the following (in no particular order):
- The movie pays homage to Frank Miller's seminal work "The Dark Knight Returns", in the sense that the movie starts with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) now retired as the Batman, but is forced to don the mantle of the bat when his city is threatened by Bane (Tom Hardy). There's a sequence that's almost directly taken from the graphic novel when a pair of policemen, a grizzled veteran and a youngster, see Batman's reappear and the veteran tells the rookie that he's "in for a show".
- Bane wasn't exactly how I pictured him, but actor Tom Hardy made him truly menacing and terrifying. Now, if only he didn't have to speak through that contraption on his face ...
- Anne Hathaway was sultry and sexy as Selina Kyle. The form-fitting body suit helped.
- I liked the homage to the following memorable Batman storylines: "Knightfall", "No Man's Land", and, to a small extent, "Son of the Demon". Marion Cotillard was great in her role as Talia, daughter of Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson).
- Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman were excellent in their reprising the the roles of Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox, and Commissioner Gordon, respectively.
- I didn't realize how old Matthew Modine ("Full Metal Jacket") was, until I saw him as Foley, one of Gordon's lieutenants.
- The Bat-Cycle was freaking awesome in its design.
- I also liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, one of the few members of the police who still believed in Batman.
If I had one quibble, it was something one of my friends pointed out, and I agree with his criticism of the charge of the Gotham City Police Department in the penultimate showdown between Gotham's protectors and Bane's underlings. As my friend observed, it was too "Gangs of New York". Besides, charging men armed with automatic weapons in a frontal assault isn't what I call smart tactics. It may have worked in the American Civil War, but not here.
Another problem is the hoarse, raspy voice of Batman, more because I wound up watching a YouTube parody of how Batman got his voice. After watching that, I couldn't take the Bat-voice seriously, probably ever again.
All things considered, "The Dark Knight Rises" is a fitting end to a magnificent trilogy about the Dark Knight of Gotham. I'm hoping to watch it again, and follow the movie more closely this time to look for more eye candy.