While most comic book movies are all about beating up villains when not beating over the head the audience with overblown special effects and undercooked plot points, the Batman series may be said to incorporate actual opinions about life as food for thought. Even if not necessarily a good idea.
And it’s a distinction no less evident in this final episode of the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, and coming as no surprise – considering the source as the originally rooted indie scribe Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia).
There’s also the potential outsider looking in point of view of Nolan as a Brit, engineering in The Dark Knight Rises the warped spectacle of an America in decline. And as expressed in the operatically orchestrated apocalyptic decimation of pretty much biblical proportions, of the Big Apple. But in effect uncomfortably dwarfing 9/11 as mere dress rehearsal in comparison.
Though as usual, the grandiose epic scale of the means to this sinister end involving massively lethal detonating devices, renders those implementing it or opposing the destruction, fairly inconsequential by comparison. In other words, Batman/Bruce Wayne and his chaotic entourage – counting Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s beyond the call of duty NYPD cop John Blake and cocky kleptomaniac with a cause Selina ‘whatever you do, don’t call me Catwoman’ Kyle (Anne Hathaway) – are mostly around for peripheral drive-by duty.
The main action in this Batman, is instead monopolized and upstaged by Tom Hardy’s cranky, mysteriously muzzled scary megalomaniac, Bane. And while endlessly spouting somehow through gritted teeth, a crackpot topsy turvy terrorist manifesto for global domination beginning with Gotham. And that is oddly overlayed with what seems like OWS 99 percent ranting discourse in reverse, intended to send sympathetically conceived One Percent cosmopolitan moneyed swells, to their collective doom.
All of which can’t help but bewilder politically along this jarring class divide – a wild NY Stock Exchange bad guy flash mob occupation aside – and implying a narrative agenda of mass movement malice. Which given the reported 250 million dollar cash infusion by investors into The Dark Knight Rises, doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.
In any case, even with dramatic overkill amid incendiary device mayhem activated as the IMAX enhanced main course, Hathaway’s subversively flirty thief mostly operating on the sidelines, nicely on occasion steals the three dimensional show.
2 1/2 stars