I got to see the new Batman film at Utopolis this week. This eagerly-anticipated motion picture from the Marvel Comics franchise is two and three quarter hours long, almost double the 90-minute length of most films nowadays. But as long as you don't gulp down your drink in the first quarter of an hour and need to dash off to the loo midway through the screening, you'll be glued to your seat for the entire 165 minutes.
Directed by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception) and starring Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Fighter), Anne Hathaway (Alice in wonderland, The Devil Wears Prada), Tom Hardy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Inception), Gary Oldman (Harry Potter series, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Morgan Freeman (Invictus, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption), Michael Caine (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Harry Brown),...
Set in Gotham city, but so obviously shot in New York City, the film starts off with Bruce Wayne as a recluse in his mansion after taking the blame for Harvey Dent's crimes eight years beforehand. Batman has not been seen in the intervening period, but nor has he been needed as the city's serious crime rate dropped significantly.
However, a new nemisis appears on the scene, the terroist Bane who possesses both the brains and brawn to terrorise all those with whom he comes into contact. What he is after and who he works for only become evident as the plot unfolds, as nothing is what it seems. The film, a piece of cinematic theatre, takes the audience on an intense and emotional journey with a central character that is truer to the original Batman character than many of the series and films to date.
The Joker does not feature in this film as a tribute to the late Heath Ledger, but Catwoman plays a significant role in the dark tale with action sequences and one-liners aplenty and in equal measure. Michael Caine plays his role too as Bruce Wayne's butler and in wonderfully linked in in the final scene, as no loose ends are left untied. Anne Hathaway is suave as her Catwoman character abd Gary Oldman ralies the troops as the Chief of Police, but it is Christian Bale who steals the show, not for his character, but for the way he plays Batman and Bruce Wayne. Maybe the voice should't be as rasping as it it, but let's not quibble.
Christopher Nolan has scored a home run with The Dark Knight Rises. His first two films in the franchise were really good, but this one has elevated him to another level altogether. His next project is writing and producing Man of Steel - watch this space!
The recent Spiderman film was something special, but the Dark Knight rises is the Summer Blockbuster to rival all others.