The third and final film in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ brings us into the world shortly after the events of the previous film, opening up on the funeral of Harvey Dent with Police Commissioner James Gordon giving a short speech.
Very quickly in this film the villain is introduced to us during a very odd heist involving an aeroplane, which shows us the lengths this new villain is willing to go to in his mission, whatever his goals may be.
Tom Hardy portrays the famous Batman villain Bane in this film, and looks great in the role as a very strong, powerful leader and dangerous foe for even this Dark Knight. However the main issue with this character in this portrayal is the odd choice of his voice, from his accent to the muffle of the mask he wears. Though the mask looks pretty awesome and mysterious in my opinion I think that the muffle made it an issue, which was the topic of conversation and debate when the movie first released with press screening attendants claiming to be unable to understand a word he was saying, whilst this carried on somewhat into the public release of the film I think it’s simple to understand him, but what I don’t understand is the choice of accent. In the comics and in animation Bane has been portrayed with a Mexican/Spanish accent which compliment his luchador mask and façade throughout. So when this film came around and Bane now has a very British gentlemen accent despite apparently being born and raised in a prison in the middle of the desert, it was hard to take him as seriously as he should have been. But more on that in the next post. For now let’s concentrate on the rest of the film…
We’re later introduced back into Wayne Manor with Alfred and Bruce Wayne, who encounter a thief disguised as a waitress, who steals Martha Wayne’s expensive necklace, which Bruce just so happens to have a tracer in it now. This thief inside Wayne Manor, if it wasn’t obvious by this point is revealed to be none other than miss Selina Kyle a.k.a Catwoman. Which Bruce Wayne discovers with a bit of detective work in the batcave. Which is great to see, although I’d have preferred to have a longer scene where we see him doing some actual detective work instead of just bringing up the finale with the results of his work, shown on screen already. I know they do that for pacing but in a film about a genius detective, we see very little evidence of his detective side.
As the plot begins to unfold, the regular cast of characters are presented alongside all new interesting characters including Miranda Tate (portrayed by Marion Cotillard), who isn’t all she seems, as well as the previously mention Bane (Tom Hardy), Selina Kyle (portrayed by Anne Hathaway), who forms a strange bond with Bruce Wayne and Batman as the film goes on, and Officer Blake (portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who somehow, still unknown clearly to a lot of people, managed to figure out Bruce Wayne was Batman, all whilst the young Blake was a kid in an orphanage.
The cast of this film, as always with Nolan’s films, is spot on with A-list stars scattered across the whole production. The plot is a little lacking in places but overall it makes for a good film to finish off the trilogy. More than that though, it’s a great way to bring Bale’s Batman one last ride before hanging up his cape and cowl.
Gotham has been without the Batman for 8 years since he supposedly murdered Harvey Dent (as seen in the ending of The Dark Knight, 2008). This story draws a lot of inspirations from The Dark Knight Returns, as well as Knightfall (hence why Bane is in the film) and so when the scene arrives in which we see Batman return to the streets of Gotham during a police chase, a young officer is confused and shocked whilst his elder colleague sat in the car with him tells him he’s in for a show now, which is reminiscent of the the Dark Knight Returns comic, because the younger generation often believe The Batman is either a myth or a just a crazy story the older generation tell, but they soon discover he’s very real. Knightfall references come in the form of Banes little side mission to ‘break the bat’ and when he succeeds, mostly due to the fact that Batman is not in any real fit state to fight what with the damaged knees, and so later, the part of the story in which Bruce Waynes is healed by the magic of the Lazarus Pit in the comic, we are given a real world pit which doubles as a prison and so the Dark Knight rises out of the pit (see what I did there) after some time in there learning more than he bargained for, now healed and ready for action.
However that’s just a few of the many comic book references in the film, as this film is filled to the brim with references not only to Bane or Catwoman stories but with a lot of odd story moments taken in bits and pieces from here and there. For one last example, the scene in which Gordon is taken to Bane by his thugs and then escapes via the sewer pipe, is very similar of Robins escape on the Knightfall story.
My issue with this trilogy is still that one bugging factor regarding the choice of Batman’s awful gravelly voice that he seems to use even when he’s alone as seen when Catwoman disappears from the rooftop after a conversation. It’s something I can’t get over. I also have the issue with The Dark Knight Rises, which comes in the form of the finales twist ending. If for whatever reason, you haven’t seen the film by now, this is your only warning for the big final SPOILER of the film.
The fact that Bane was merely a puppet, a protector for Talia Al Ghul though it is only slightly well hidden during the stories told to Bruce Wayne whilst he is in the pit, you can pick up on the little misleading interpretations of the story as whenever Bruce asks if the child mentioned was Bane, or simply states his assumptions out loud that they’re talking about Bane, the other character never acknowledge the name, they merely continue to tell the tale, which would lead most viewers to believe they are all talking about Bane when in actual fact the child turns out to be Talia Al Ghul, who in this film is also known as her fake name Miranda Tate. This completely dissolved everything Bane has done in the film, making his appearance as a criminal mastermind throughout the plot, nothing more than a façade to hide the fact that he’s merely being used as a decoy for the real villain. Whilst some might view this as a great plot device, I view it as a somewhat disappointing representation of a great villain, and therefore a lot of lost potential for the film. A similar idea was used in Batman Begins, with Scarecrow working for Ra’s and again, it makes a lot of Batmans greatest villains seem like sheep needing a shepherd and that’s not the case, so in film it comes across as these incredibly powerful villains such as Scarecrow, the master of fear, and Bane, one of the most powerful beings in Batmans rogue gallery, being nothing more than tools for a higher power. Maybe that’s what Nolan wanted but for me as a fan of these villains, I feel let down at all the incredible stories that weren’t shown through these villains alone.
Overall though, I think the film gets a 3/5 from me for being entertaining with great action, drama, and for the most part a decent plot until the ending, with lots of comic book references throughout which is always good. I think it’s a great addition to the trilogy, and a fairly decent finale for this version of Batman’s world.