Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Matthew Modine, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
In cinemas now.
To say this film has been eagerly anticipated is something of an understatement. Director Nolan set the bar incredibly high with his previous offerings Batman Begins and the Dark Knight so expectations were huge for this and I’m happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint. In fact it is magnificent – not a word I use lightly when referring to movies.
It picks up eight years after the last film and Bruce Wayne (Bale) aka Batman is a broken man – literally. Living as a recluse in his massive mansion he has a pronounced limp and is haggard and bedraggled, much to the chagrin of his loyal manservant Alfred (Caine) who wishes he would get out and about and start living his life again. An encounter with a glamorous cat burglar (Hathaway) restores his zest for living and proves just the kick he needs to get back out in the world. However, this is a world without Batman as his alter ego has taken the blame for the murder of Harvey Dent in order to ensure that his beloved Gotham can live in peace. Despite his sacrifice dark forces are still plotting the downfall of the city and when Bane (Hardy) arrives in town, as a hired mercenary working for one of Bruce’s board members, it isn’t long before all hell breaks loose. Add to this the fact that Bruce is bankrupt following fraudulent stock market transactions and that he has access to a powerful machine that would offer free sustainable energy for the entire city but could also be used as a nuclear bomb and you have a potent blockbuster recipe.
It is 45 minutes before our hero makes his appearance in this story and you really don’t get much Bat for your buck with the focus being very much on Bruce Wayne – when he does appear though it is spectacular and truly thrilling. Nolan has created a world with well rounded characters that are done full justice by the amazing cast. Bale has Bruce Wayne down to a tee at this stage and Tom Hardy as Bane is breathtaking despite the fact that he spends most of the movie wearing a mask so you don’t see his face. At one point I actually found myself feeling sorry for him – a testament to the fantastic writing. Cillian Murphy only appears in two short scenes but they are spectacular and he totally steals the show in them.
There is also a fantastic twist (which I obviously can’t divulge) that no one I have spoken to saw coming. It is set up brilliantly and when it is revealed your jaw will literally drop.
It was about an hour and a half into this movie that I realised it wasn’t in 3D like so many other summer blockbusters and it benefits hugely from this. It has a richness to it that would be lost if they had gone down the 3D route.
Surprisingly for a comic book adaptation they manage to steer clear of cheesiness and instead have gone for dark drama which is in keeping with Nolan’s intelligent style of filmmaking. Fans won’t be disappointed by the ending either which nicely rounds off the tale of the angst ridden hero. I think my heart actually stopped about three times watching this as it’s just that thrilling.
I really tried to find some faults with the movie for the sake of objectivity but while I had one or two very minor bugbears I have to say it is damn near perfect. It is incredibly rare that a film is so deserving of the hype surrounding it but in this instance it is completely justified.