Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Brooding, Edge-of-Your-Seat, Exhilirating

Bruce Wayne, the billionaire philanthropist of Wayne Enterprise, has turned into a recluse. It’s been 8 years since District Attorney Harvey Dent’s (aka Two-Face) death for which Batman has assumed responsibility. While lamenting in his solitude, Bruce (Christian Bale) meets a jewel thief named Selina Kyle, known underground as the Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Meanwhile, an underground army is gradually taking Gotham down its knees, headed by a warlord called Bane (Tom Hardy). He has effectively disarmed the city by trapping its 3,000 police force in the sewer tunnels. 

For 3 long months, the city turns into a chaotic society with no effective law enforcement. Moreover, a thousand of Gotham’s inmates has been released to the streets. What’s worse, they want to segregate Gotham and its 15 million populace from the rest of the world to destroy the “corrupt” ways inherent in the governance of the city, i.e. “to fight the decadence of Gotham”.  Bane eventually gets hold of the 4 megaton nuclear reactor which, when unstable, becomes a fully primed neutron bomb, with a destructive reach covering 6 miles. Needless to say, this becomes an urgent matter because Bane wants to blow the city into smithereens.

Bruce’s curiosity about the mysterious jewel thief has him donning his cape again, but this leads him to Bane and his minions. A rookie cop-turned-Special Agent John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) turns to the hibernating Bruce for help. He somehow knows of Wayne’s alter ego and the city is in dire need of a hero, what with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) falling ill. And would a dark knight turn his back on Gotham when its survival is on the line?

Bruce Wayne steps back into the spotlight. With Wayne Enterprise running bankrupt, Wayne has to rise up from his seclusion.

The Catwoman triggers the return of Batman.

Christopher Nolan’s final installment is an engaging ride into the psyche of retribution and heroism. Despite its contemplative tone, Nolan deftly covers the iconic bubble of these comic book characters, turning two-dimensional personas into real people with plausible motivations. Alfred Pennyworth (the resplendent Michael Caine), Bruce’s butler, is particularly heart-wrenching as he emotionally blackmails his “Master Bruce” against becoming Batman again. Selina – the Catwoman – oozes with mischievous and malignant charm as she slithers her “paws” around Bruce, She believes that she is beyond redemption, thus she moves around with nothing but self preservation in her mind. Tom Hardy (who gained 30 pounds for the role) is as menacing as the Bane that I knew from comic books. In fact, Nolan and Hardy’s depiction of this behemoth “beast” is astounding. He frightens me so. I am absolutely impressed by how this film is able to retain the essence of comic characters the way they were originally conceived.


There are moments of utter agony: when Bruce is overpowered by Bane, demasking him, taking him prisoner, then breaking his back (his vertebra protruding from his back). Bruce is left almost-invalid and thrown into a pit alongside other prisoners (this pit was said to have been partly filmed in the Indian city of Jodhpur). During a conversation with one of the inmates who asks him why he doesn’t fear death, Bruce replies: “I fear dying in here while my city burns.” Despite a lingering undertone of hopelessness, Nolan turns the exposition into one of endurance and optimism; that no adversity is too difficult to overcome. And that human beings – like Bruce Wayne – are capable of rising from personal and moral catastrophe.

Morgan Freeman is Lucius Fox who runs Wayne Enterprise fro Bruce Wayne. He also "suits up" Wayne's alter ego.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays John Blake whose fascination with the "rich orphan" Bruce Wayne gives him clues as to Wayne's alter ego. Blake was an orphan himself. What's more appetizing is how his character is primed to give us a possible follow up featuring a famous sidekick! 

Selina Kyle as the jewel thief.

Anne Hathaway as the adorably mischievous Catwoman.

Marion Cotillard plays Miranda Tate whose character I refuse to expound further as this will cramp  your viewing pleasure. She plays a pivotal role and gives you one of those "ohmygosh" moments!

The Batman

Bane: intellect and brawn in one scary package.

The Catwoman rides a bike.


The comic concept of Bane - sure makes you wanna return to buying those expensive DC Comics again!

Bane in one of his more contemporary comic depictions.

What's Gotham without its crusader?


Armando dela Cruz said... <-- Cathy, we have the same thoughts on this one. Although I like 'The Dark Knight' far better, 'The Dark Knight Rises' made me heartbroken as the movie series ends now. (P.S. Ngayon pa na si Joseph Gordon-Levitt sana si Robin, tsk tsk. Nolan, y such an a55h*le ryt now? HAHA) Nice review! :D

Cathy Pena said...

Don't worry, Armand. Batman won't end. The "end" here only refers to the Christopher Nolan trilogy, not the franchise. If this proves to be a great success, Levitt just might don the "Robin" cape very soon! :)

Cathy Pena said...

Btw, I left a comment but it won't allow me. :)

Armando dela Cruz said...

IDTS Cathy. Nolan is already prepping up for another franchise which is Superman. It will have sequels and he will be too busy to even think of resuming his presumed "ended" series. It makes me sad but delighted that he's taking on to produce the reboot for Superman [SUPERHERO FAN HERE].

Well, that's weird...that my blog won't allow you to comment. How rude my blog! :D

*BTW, I was wondering kung saan ka nanunuod ng mga Cinemalaya films...wala kasi akong orad eh. :/ Sa trinoma lang kami nakakapanuod. (MGA DAYO pa lang napapanuod ko)

Cathy Pena said...

Yes, I know so, Armand. Christopher Nolan's Trilogy of the Batman is done, dead, kaput! But not the franchise... there will be several other Batman flicks long before you and I have had our grandchildren. :)


Thanks for the review but you used a wrong poster here. Milla Jovovich is not the film. It should be Anne Hathaway .

Cathy Pena said...

@ Dear DJ:

Ohmygoodness! You're so right! I just completely ignored the written cast because it has the correct title anyway. I got that from an IMDB link.

Thank you for pointing that out! :)