It’s the most anticipated film of the year, the end to one of the greatest trilogies we’ve ever seen and Blake, possessor of a Batman tattoo, has given it 6 stars out of a possible five. So just what is The Dark Knight Rises exactly?

On the surface level it’s a very appropriate finale.  And probably not what you’re expecting.  Finishing up at 164 minutes Bruce Wayne is at his end, turned into a recluse and resorting to hobbling around his mansion with a walking cane.  Batman no longer exists as the public has blamed the mask for all of its problems and Wayne’s public absence has caused the eccentric billionaire to go broke.  He refuses to come into contact with the outside world and only interacts when absolutely forced to.

But it’s now eight years since the timeline of The Dark Knight and a new villain has arrived in Gotham – Bane.  He’s incredibly limiting but his immense size and distorted voice (at times indecipherable) does a lot to make up for it.  Tom Hardy does a great job considering he’s just a huge bastard behind his own mask and his entrance to the film is nothing short of spectacular.

Problem is, after he’s arrived the film takes a damn long time before it picks itself up again and delivers anywhere near the height of the opening aeroplane scene.  We’re left with a paltry introduction to Selina Kyle (who, if memory serves me correctly, is never verbally referenced with the embarrassing moniker ‘Catwoman’) and shots of Wayne walking about and looking deep.

If that’s not enough for you then we have to go deeper and director Christopher Nolan has fortunately bequeathed a number of gifts for us to play with.  Minor spoilers but there’s a great scene towards the end in the setting of a kangaroo court with only two possible sentences – death or exile – and both of which end up being the same thing, reminiscent of the French Revolution.  Bane’s army is summoned through some kind of bizarre Occupy movement too.  Part of me was glad Nolan was bringing in such outside elements into the mix for his latest but at the same time, this is a film about a man that dresses as a bat and I’m left wondering if a film of that nature really can take itself that seriously.

The other biggest movement to take place is the wholly fascist nature that Gotham takes on after Bane declares himself the owner, destroying all the bridges in except for one that’s used for emergency supplies (and giving it that New York feel that basically every disaster or superhero film always has).  This, coupled with what appears to be Nolan’s misunderstanding of what Occupy actually is, leaves us with a very long film with the director and his brother Jonathon (the writing team) divulging into every political fantasy they’ve ever had.  To their credit it isn’t a wholly bad idea but once again this is a Batman movie.  I don’t want to, nor do I think anyone else except for Blake wants to, watch a heap of ‘boardroom’ scenes.  They have to tie everything together no doubt – or at least pretend to – but the finished product isn’t everything we’ve hoped for.

As with any film that follows another, comparisons are ultimately made.  No, it doesn’t touch the second and is about on par with the first.  Instead of truck flips and missing pens we have an excellent opening rescue mission then nothing for an hour.  Then there are a few fights and nothing once again.  I won’t discuss the ending here.

Nolan leaves us not with a bang but not with a whimper either.  A strong film that’s at times bogged down with the strange political natures the Nolan brothers want to discuss with you and also the reason it transcends just about every other superhero film in the genre.  The very reason I am giving it this rating is the final act and I can’t discuss it with you here.  It starts with the pseudo French Revolution and ends with something that’ll almost make you cry.  Just trust me on this.  I don’t want to spoil it for you.

[rating=4]

Nicholas Brodie - follow Nick on Twitter here: @fodusempire

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Co-Written by: David S. Goyer (Story) Christopher Nolan (Story/Screenplay) and Jonathan Nolan (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is released in Australia on the 19th of July 2012, and in the U.S.A and U.K on the 20th of July 2012. 

Nicholas Brodie is a writer with big hopes and tiny dreams. Possessing an MA in Film he is on hand to provide opinion pieces and reviews on what's new and, hopefully, still relevant.