Blu-ray review: The Dark Knight Rises is this year’s most exciting release
The final instalment in director Christopher Nolan’s rebooted trilogy has finally arrived in home video. With so much hype and mystery (which is why you won’t be finding any spoilers here) surrounding the film, The Dark Knight Rises would only be bound to do two things: bust miserably or boom spectacularly. You’ll be glad to know that it does the latter – and what a way it does.
The city of Gotham has been sleepy for eight years. Harvey Dent’s (Aaron Eckhart) “death” enacted the Dent Act, sending a thousand criminals to prison without parole, and the city no longer relies on Batman. Wayne (Christian Bale) has become dormant; locked in his mansion, crippled and melancholy after the death of his beloved Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
A storm, however, is coming. Gotham is under threat by the emerging power of Bane (Tom Hardy), a self styled revolutionary and terrorist. He leads an army of criminals towards his one determination: the destruction of Gotham. Despite the city’s best efforts in the form of beloved Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and young, hot-headed police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), it is obvious that what Gotham needs is Batman.
Thus, the worse for wear Wayne prepares himself for the brutish Bane and his army, but his physical and mental disadvantages prove to be more severe problems than thought. Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) is a feisty philanthropist and romantic interest to Wayne, whilst the cunning and conniving Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) is a brilliant foil and hindrance.
If you’re going to compare this film to its predecessor The Dark Knight, you might be slightly disappointed. It doesn’t quite have the sadistic craze Heath Ledger’s Joker gave to the world, but don’t let this detract from the film – in its own right it truly is fantastic. Hans Zimmer’s masterpiece score sends goose pimples. Every moment is thought of: Catwoman’s introduction, the American football game, the first time you see the “Bat”, each scene carries its own empathetic music that creates a tense and epic atmosphere.
Christian Bale more than ever shines as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Despite playing this role three times now, he manages to bring a new side to Wayne. John Blake is the conventional hero complementing Batman’s anti-hero, Gordon-Levitt plays the boyscout to perfection – a necessary moral character that is consistently likeable. Tom Hardy is almost unrecognisable as Bane, perhaps one of his most demanding roles to date. Hardy’s Bane is an almost hypnotising evil; built on brawn and an unrelenting desire for the destruction of Gotham, Bane is formidable and it’s clear from the start that he is not Batman’s equal – he is deadlier.
Many have said that Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman steals the movie – believe the rumours. She is so stunning that when on screen she is the only person you look at. Hathaway finally brings to Catwoman class, wit and general badassness that Pfeiffer and Berry never could. Marion Cotillard, as ever, is gorgeous and gives a purposely understated performance. Batman trilogy regulars Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman yet again deliver. Caine’s scenes may be few, but you’ll be an emotional wreck by the end because of him.
If you didn’t know by now, Christopher Nolan has been anointed as the man who injected the dying Batman franchise with some much needed adrenaline. His rebooted series is darker, more adventurous and much more stylish. As his concluding direction in the Batman series (as he’s been saying – for now), The Dark Night Rises is such an impressive feat. He ups his game both scale and graphics wise, although apparently Nolan wanted a lot less CGI – if the first scene introducing Bane actually happened (which it supposedly did), then the film gets an A for stunt effort alone. It’s ambitious, to say the least, though it does mean that for a 164-minute epic there is a fair share of confused storylines which take a while to become comprehensible.
There’s a lot going on, but that’s understandable – after all this is Nolan’s last Batman film, and he and his co-writing brother Jonathan Nolan have some big ideas. Without saying much at all, expect major plot twists, scenes that make you grin widely, and unforeseen Nolan-esque endings.
The Blu-Ray version is a product of highest quality. Most of the scenes have been shot in IMAX which means that they will fill your LCD screen with the highest definition available on the market. The audio is crystal clear and you will be able to understand Bane’s scary talks even better than at the cinema.
There is also a supplementary disc rich of extras where you will be able to explore Nolan’s world with behind the scenes and those shots that did not make it to the final cut. A must-buy for Christmas 2012.
The Dark Knight Rises is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital video, to buy a copy click here
Watch the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises here: