Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Mark Wheeler at the regional premiere – with no spoilers

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I set myself a few ground rules when I was invited to The Dark Knight Rises regional premiere. One, no spoilers! There are many reviews and rumours flying round the net and I’ll neither confirm nor deny them. Two: no gushing review, however good it is. I don’t want to come across all fan boy-esque. And three: NO SPOILERS – enforced by friends who had booked their tickets months ago for opening day, two days after I’d see it.

So to begin, I was very surprised to see Arnie reprise his role as Mr Freeze.

All Christopher Nolan’s Batman flicks have been great, but overall Rises is the best of the bunch. OK, Dark Knight had Heath Ledger’s Joker, which is still an unmatched performance, but the story and journey in Rises sets it above the others.

This isn’t to say Rises doesn’t have some great performances, Michael Caine’s portrayal as faithful butler Albert makes him more and more of a father figure, and the emotional attachment he displays for Bruce Wayne is genuinely touching. I’m man enough to admit I was holding back a tear at one point.

Tom Hardy as Bane is genuinely menacing. There had been much criticism previously that in previews and trailers Bane’s voice was unintelligible, but I’m pleased to say except for some small instances this has been sorted. The rookie cop played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an essential and creative character and even Anne Hathaway turns in a solid performance as Selina “Catwoman” Kyle rather than just being eye-candy.

Bane: genuinely menacing

You needn’t have seen the previous two films to enjoy Rises but it is a fantastic continuation and conclusion to the Batman legend Nolan has created. He stays close enough to the comic canon to please hardcore fans but also distances himself enough so as not to rip them off. He’s managed to create a realistic Batman world using elaborated real world science to create his friends and foes, rather than just superpowers.

More than eye candy: Anne Hathaway turns in a solid performance as Catwoman

I don’t want to delve much deeper as I’ll end up in spoiler territory. To summarise this is a wonderfully shot and crafted film full of emotional ups, downs, twists, turns and surprises – along with moments that will have fanboys and girls grinning for joy while squirming in their seat.

Batman does indeed rise and the film lives up to the hype.

Oh, and Arnie isn’t really in it.

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