By Daniel Good
The phenomenal success (both critically and commercially) of The Dark Knight was always going to be something of a burden for its follow up. The former set a benchmark in the superhero genre and as the most anticipated film of 2012 there was an awful lot of expectation, the stakes were higher and there was further to fall should it not deliver, but it did.
The Dark Knight Rises managed to take the most significant elements of the previous films and build upon them; it had the incredible set pieces, it had the fluid changes of pace, it had the talent and perhaps most importantly, it had the emotion.
The film boast stellar performances from the cast, with many delivering the best I have seen from them, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway to name but two. I must also bring attention to Michael Caine’s portrayal of Alfred; the roles Caine has selected over the last ten to twenty years have often been questionable and as a result his performances have suffered, but throughout this trilogy he has given Alfred a deep and original edge which only gets better into the latter stages of this film.
Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker was going to need something really special to follow and I really think Tom Hardy gave us the goods. His depiction of Bane is menacing, intellectually challenging and brutal; you can almost feel the force of every punch he delivers, a wildly different villain to The Joker but no less vibrant and captivating.
Something that I had noticed across many of the previous Batman films is that Bruce Wayne is often pushed in to the background as a result of the eccentricity of his foes, but despite Bane and Catwoman’s presence, this film really is Bruce Wayne’s, it had to be. The character is developed and given the depth that he deserves.
Unchanged from the previous two chapters, the quality of Christopher Nolan’s direction is impeccable; a panic ridden Gotham under the white of snow brings a real beauty to the chaos which consumes this film, not to mention the ‘touchdown scene’ which most will have seen in the trailer, utterly breathtaking.
Along with the two prior films The Dark Knight Rises may have earned itself a place amongst the greatest cinematic trilogies of all time. Nolan draws a perfect conclusion to his trilogy, though not as daring as some had hoped (It is harder to take such risks in mainstream cinema) all loose ends are tied up whilst allowing room for growth within the final act.