The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan, and the story with David S. Goyer. Featuring the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the final installment in Nolan’s Batman film trilogy, and the sequel to The Dark Knight (2008). Christian Bale reprises the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, with a returning cast of allies: Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. The story picks up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, and sees a retired Batman being forced out of retirement when a new evil arises that threatens the newly found peace in Gotham.
In the aftermath of the events of its predecessor, The Gotham City of The Dark Knight Rises has had a time of peace, with little or no threats that provoke a vigilante hero to intervene. But the foundations of peace built on a lie will forever be as fragile as the hands of justice that built them. The end of The Dark Knight saw the death of Harvey Dent, after he went on a vengeful rampage against the ones who murdered his fiance, Rachael Dawson. Batman took the blame for his actions and his death, in order to save the hope that the citizens had on their home through Harvey. This was the signalling moment that blurred Batman’s lines of right and wrong, and made him “whatever Gotham needed him to be”. The Dark Knight Rises is forever seen as a film that could never get out of the shadow of its predecessor. The Dark Knight was an incredible work of art, with extremely densely layered writing and cinematography, and for this reason, The Dark Knight Rises, could never reach the standards that its predecessor had set. This was such a shame, because to me, The Dark Knight Rises was a fantastic installment in the series. If it was to be viewed from the scope of The Dark Knight, then it would pale in comparison, because The Dark Knight was just that great a film. However, as a film, and a story on its own, The Dark Knight Rises ends the trilogy on a more than satisfactory note. It perfectly resolves the inner struggle of Batman that was built up by previous films, and in many ways, acts as a satisfying conclusion on an otherwise eternal story. The film has a strange attraction in its tone and liberal semi-political ideals in its message. However, the political interpretations of its story does not make the film as a whole, a political film.
Its comic book counterpart, Knightfall, is a classic Batman story, that cements Bane’s mythology in Batman’s universe as one of his most dangerous rogues. Its narrative tells the story of the fall of the Dark Knight, while its live action adaption tells the story of the rise of the Dark Knight within the realistic setting of Christopher Nolan’s pre-established universe. Nolan drew inspiration from Bane’s comic book debut in the 1993 “Knightfall” storyline, the 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns, and the 1999 storyline “No Man’s Land“, where the government abandons the city completely when it is hit by an earthquake, forcing citizens to leave the city, which was an idea subverted in the film, when Bane blew up the bridges in order to prevent citizens from leaving the city. The film did an excellent job in confronting Batman’s demons and struggles and having him come to terms with the losses of his parents, and Rachael, and giving him even more conviction. Nolan’s Gotham is very flexible in depicting a broken Batman, and it cannot be mapped out in a traditional sense. The story generates a Gotham that is separated from the rest of the world, and signifies a dark and isolated Batman. One who chooses to fight his demons alone. When, by the third act of the film, Gotham citizens decide to join together and fight this scourge of villainy and take their city back, it in turn signifies Batman’s willingness to let people help him, such as Catwoman, and Talia, who ended up betraying him.
The Dark Knight Rises is a great film, and one that captures the depth and complexity of which the entire trilogy is known for. It is no way a better iteration than its predecessor, but is among the best films of all time.
The Geek Writer.