The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (2011) Director: Christopher Nolan

Batman standing in Gotham with a flaming bat symbol above

★★★★☆

For the final installment of his Batman trilogy, Christopher Nolan co-wrote the screenplay with his brother, Jonathan Nolan. The film contains much of the original brilliant cast, though it adds Anne Hathaway (as the cat-woman-esque character) as well as Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who plays a junior police officer, and perhaps a future “Robin” character), along with Tom Hardy (who plays Bane).

The plot takes place eight years after the end of The Dark Knight, in which a powerful criminal, Bane, forces an aging Bruce Wayne out of retirement as the Batman in order to save the city of Gotham from a nuclear holocaust. The film begins as Bane abducts a nuclear scientist from Uzbekistan. The city of Gotham, meanwhile, has found peace due to expanded powers of the Dent Act, and Bruce Wayne lives like an aging recluse while Wayne Enterprises loses money for its deactivation of a nuclear reactor that could have been weaponized. Bane sets up a secret underground criminal network in the city’s sewers. He acquires Bruce Wayne’s fingerprints in an effort to bankrupt him. He puts Miranda Tate in charge as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Thus, the Batman goes to find Bane in the sewers and is led into a trap. He is brutally assaulted by Bane and left in a remote underground desert prison. While healing, he hears legends of Ra’s al Ghul’s child who was left in the same prison to rot, but then eventually became the only person to scale the massive walls of the prison, and make the final leap necessary for escape. Bruce Wayne triumphantly completes the same journey. He returns to Gotham as Batman and battles Bane, only to be stabbed by Miranda, the woman he trusted with Wayne Enterprises. She reveals herself to be Talia al Ghul, Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, the child who climbed out of the prison (not Bane as we initially suspected). Batman chases down the bomb and al Ghul in a car around the city, eventually catching it and flying it over the water far from the city so the bomb can detonate, while the citizens of Gotham fear Batman has died in the explosion. However Bruce reappears in an epilogue. He had fixed the auto-pilot function on the craft and escaped in the nick of time. Both Bruce Wayne and Batman are presumed dead, and his home Wayne Manor becomes a home for young orphaned children. At the end, Alfred spots Bruce Wayne together with Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) his new love interest in a foreign country, casually dining.

As with his other films, Nolan drew inspiration for the story and characters from the DC comics, as well as from classic literature, in this case Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. The Dark Knight Rises is another brilliant film from Christopher Nolan, though it’s clear that The Dark Knight is the great, masterful achievement of the modern Batman series.

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