The problem with films that carry a multitude of hype; is that sometimes this can overshadow the actual finished product.
The marketing for the Dark Knight Rises has been intense, with viral campaigns again implemented, four full trailers and enough posters to cover a wall with; so the pressure was certainly on for Nolan and co to deliver, luckily he passes the test with flying colours.
Fans expecting the Dark Knight mark II will be disappointed , as Rises is a completely different animal entirely, and better for it.
Eight years on from the Joker’s reign of terror, it’s ‘peace time’ in Gotham with Batman gone and Bruce Wayne a creaking, lonely recluse.
As a certain waitress/thief prophesises to Bruce; ‘a storm is coming’.
This storm manifests itself as the marauding Bane, a terrorist of epic scale not just in physical size but in terms of his endgame for the city.
Right from the outset we see he means business, and doesn’t suffer fools. The difference between this villain and Ledger’s Joker is the sheer physical advantage he has over our dark knight.
Questions are now posed of Batman; such as what if he can’t stop this monster from destroying Gotham?
There is also Alfred to consider, as he masquerades as the moral and human side to Bruce, as he preaches for him to let Batman go and try to live a normal life.
Does Wayne actually want to live this normal life? Or does he feel his ultimate sacrifice to Gotham will make his quest seem worthwhile.
There is a real emotional core to the piece, this isn’t just your average action movie, it has a soul.
The show stealer is Hathaway’s Selina Kyle (never referred to as Catwoman), as a thief with an agenda and a sharp tongue.
From the very first scene, she is magnetic, witty and seductive.
Clocking in at 2 hours 40 minutes there is also a lot of plot to take in. It’s a complex one, but Nolan uses all his craft to join all the dots. No stone is left unturned to give the viewer the conclusive chapter in the Dark Knight trilogy.
It’s hard to choose definitive scenes from Rises, as memorable action scenes are so frequent throughout; but the first meeting of Batman and Bane is stunning.
The sound is turned down, and two warriors go hell for leather in good old fashioned combat, with devastating consequences. I can certainly recall wincing throughout this scene several times.
A special mention should also go to the superb supporting cast, with Joseph Gordon Levitt’s John Blake the stand out, as the ‘good cop’ somewhat eclipsing Gary Oldman’s Gordon.
He is one of the only residents of Gotham who after 8 years, still believes in the Batman, and secretly yearns for his return.
From the previews there was also concerns raised about Bane’s voice, but this is never an issue. The voice comes across as a robotic Sir Ian McKellen, but believe me when Bane talks we all listen.
Surprisingly we are given significant back story on the character too. Unlike the Joker who suited being surrounded in mystery, Bane is given sufficient plot and motives to really connect him to the Dark Knight’s world.
The third film of a trilogy is usually where the seams come undone for a series, and plot is sacrificed for action sequences to wow audiences but this is not the case with Rises.
It pays enough respect to its predecessors, but stands on its own, with its own identity and creates a fresh, emotional and action packed final chapter.
Surely that’s all we could ever wish for.