Writing the final act of any play or screenplay is tricky. How do you wrap up the story while injecting new life into it? How to you make it a rollicking thrill-ride and yet stabilizing everything finally at the same time? How do you make Act 3 as “cool” as Act 1 and Act 2? Director Christopher Nolan openly discussed these dilemmas. “The Godfather III” and “Return of the Jedi” as anti-climatic finales come to mind. Now you can add his own “The Dark Knight Rises” to that underwhelming list.
The movie picks up with Bruce Wayne nearly a decade later and living as a recluse. He walks with a cane; the effects of his Batman days mixed with his Bruce Wayne playboy image days are noticeable in his limp and pained expression. It takes the able burglar Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway) to discover all of this for is, and in doing so she breathes new life into the series and draws out Batman at the same time.
On the evil end of things is Bane, a heavily built man wearing a breathing apparatus that makes him sound not unlike a British Darth Vader. He has a hate for everything, or nearly everything just as the last movie’s Joker character did, only with the mask there is a lot lost in the translation. Bane would have been more evil without his mask, perhaps something that had been part of heavy scar tissue on the face to suggest a traumatic event…but then the Joker did that.
In short the evil character Bane was no Joker and the movie suffered for it.
There were some set piece action battles and a cool-looking air vehicle for Batman but this movie felt like it was just putting us through our paces as an audience for 2 hours and 45 minutes. And when the climactic moment(s) did occur they were more of a lift out of the scriptwriting fog than anything else. “The Dark Knight” of 2008 was a much better movie than “The Dark Knight Rises” of 2012.
Although there were seeds sown for future installments in this series I hope that this Dark Knight saga has finally met its end. It was cool while it lasted (mostly) but too long in ending.