Christopher Nolan's last entry in his Batman Trilogy is a fitting end featuring powerful performances, intense action, hard hitting revelations and one of the best and most gratifying conclusions to a cinematic saga ever. Taking place eight years after the events of the last film, Batman (Christian Bale) most come out of self imposed retirement to face the brutal might of the vicious mercenary Bane (Tom Hardy), and the dangerously playful and highly skilled cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway).
As with the prior two films, Nolan brings back a cast of veteran and fresh gifted actors to the forefront in yet another ambitious and compelling drama based on DC Comics legendary detective. Christian Bale's turn as a battle wary, injured, bruised yet not beaten Bruce Wayne/Batman was spot on. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox continues to be the sage like advisor and go to weaponeer of The Caped Crusader. Gary Oldman is to this date the definitive cinematic version of Commissioner Gordon.
Joseph Gordon Levitt was a treat as Detective Blake and his character arc and heroic evolution is the best payoff from the film's ending. Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose, Public Enemies, Inception) was full of surprises as the lovely and tenacious business woman Miranda Tate. Tom Hardy (Bronson, Inception, Warriors) delivered the goods as the monstrous and muscle bound Bane, and while not as memorable as the late Heath Ledger was as The Joker, Hardy made sure his take on the villain who broke the bat was just as visceral.
Of all these amazing performances the very best and true highlights of the film were Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway. Caine should be nominated for an Academy Award for his heartfelt and emotional take on Alfred Pennyworth. While not necessarily my first choice for the role, Anne Hathaway brought Selina Kyle/Catwoman faithfully to life with finesse, beauty and tough as nails resourcefulness. Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Wind, And The Band Played On) and Nestor Carbonell (Lost, The Dark Knight) were a pleasant addition to an already impressive cast.
Heavy on drama and character development 'Rises' still does a good job at delivering some of the best action sequences from the entire series. From an edge of your seat airplane hijacking opening, a violent encounter between Batman and Bane, an explosive terrorist attack upon the city and a dynamic air to ground battle with a new flying toy, this film hardly slows down.
As awesome as this adventure comes across it isn't without It's minor flaws. Bane's filtered mask made it difficult to understand what he was saying in a few instances while Bruce Wayne made a miraculously unbelievable recovery from a severe back injury in under a few months. For a film which relied heavily on "realism", Wayne's speedy regeneration was not very realistic. This is yet another reason I'm glad Nolan won't be making more of these. It's time a new creative team take the helm and ground Batman back into his fantastical world.
Flaws aside THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is an entertaining tour de force and unforgettable comic book based opus. Thanks to director Chris Nolan the Bat Signal shines brighter and the legend of Batman endures...forever.