The year is 2023 and the world is a very different place. Gone are the days of simple living and peaceful citizens. Now, chaos and crime rule the streets.
New York City has become a battleground as rival gangs fight for control of the lucrative drug trade and police officers are being targeted for assassination by criminal masterminds.
The most feared gang among them all is The Knights, who rule the city’s East Side with an iron fist. Their boss, Edward Nygma, is a twisted criminal genius who keeps his crimes hidden beneath a public persona. He trains his men in stealth, martial arts, and psychological warfare, using his Robin (Harley Quinn) as a pawn in a game of cat-and-mouse with Batman (Bruce Wayne).
As Gotham becomes a more dangerous place, Batman and Commissioner Gordon seek help from allies and foes alike in an effort to bring down The Knights.
This is the story of how Batman became the Dark Knight.
A Dynamic Duo
The Dark Knight Rises starts seven years after the defeat of the Joker (Jack Nicholson) and his army of clowns. Bruce Wayne, now retired and living as a recluse, vows to fight crime from his new home in Gotham City. It’s here that we see the emergence of a new kind of vigilante – driven by a sense of righteousness and determination rather than anger or fear. In one of the film’s most iconic scenes, Bruce pleads with Alfred (Sean Pertwee) to return to Batman’s (formerly) active career.
“I want to help,” he says. “But not as Batman. I want you to train me so I can fight crime as a regular guy. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll even save your life.”
We watch as Alfred reluctantly accepts his former boss’s request and begins the task of bringing Batman back from retirement. Together, they train for combat with a group of thugs and test out Batman’s new weapons and gadgets.
Much like the Dark Knight trilogy which preceded it, The Dark Knight Rises is structured around a series of brutal fights that showcase Batman’s greatest weapons and abilities. The film opens with a prologue which introduces us to a world in shambles – with chaos and anarchy reigning supreme. In this dark future, The Joker is back and on the loose. He terrorizes Gotham City with his circus act, forcing the police to beg for help.
When it comes to cinematic representation of the infamous villain, few can hold a candle to the unique genius of Jack Nicholson. Here, we see The Joker in all of his glory – a man driven solely by his twisted sense of mischief, and perfectly cast with the help of Australian actor, Mark Hamill. The film’s climax arrives in spectacular fashion as we finally get to see The Joker’s sinister plan unfold – with one of the most iconic villains of all time leading an army of thugs in a battle royale against the entire city. It’s a spectacle that has become as iconic as the Dark Knight himself.
Everything You Need For Life In Luxury…
With The Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan and his team have delivered a fitting finale to an already-iconic trilogy. The film continues the storyline of how Batman became The Dark Knight – with Nygma (Willem Dafoe) emerging as the new King of Gotham and The Joker back once more to wreak havoc and dish out justice.
Nygma’s plans for world domination are unveiled in a stunning display of cinematography and special effects which showcase the best the modern cinematic world has to offer. Cinematographer Danny McBride creates a visually striking Gotham City which pops off the screen, while legendary make-up artist Dick Smith gives Nygma an unforgettable makeover – covering his entire body in scars, paint, and prosthetics. It is clear that Smith spent a long time perfecting the design which would become one of cinema’s most recognizable villains – and he doesn’t disappoint, channeling the inner demon of what makes Batman such an indelible part of popular culture.
A Powerful Villain
Unlike many other comic book movie villains, we actually get to see Nygma’s motivation and psychology. In the comics, Nygma’s motivations are usually shrouded in mystery – often stemming from his own traumatic past. Here, we learn a lot about the character’s back story, which turns out to be more tragic than one would think. When we discover that Alfred’s (Paul Giamatti) late wife, Nora, was also the sister of The Scarecrow (Danny Elfman), one of the main architects of Batman’s armor, it finally makes sense why Nygma is driven to create the perfect fear gas – to help him cope with the loss of his family.
It is clear that director Christopher Nolan drew a lot of inspiration from the comics when creating this character. Unlike the Joker, who is often referred to as the anti-hero of the Batman mythology, Nygma is presented here as a powerful and cunning villain who is also willing to exhibit human qualities.
A Changed Batman
This version of Batman is very different from the one we saw in the previous Dark Knight films. Gone is the billionaire playboy – he has now completely dedicated his life to fighting crime. With The Joker now in prison, it is clear there is a void to be filled by those seeking revenge against the criminal underworld.
That drive for justice leads Batman to take on a new persona. He dons a simple yet effective uniform consisting of dark-coloured utility outfit with a Batsuit’s cape, cowl, and boots. This is a stark contrast to the colorful and extravagant get-up he sported in the previous trilogy – chosen, most likely, to contrast the character’s new heroic persona.
However, being a man of principle, Batman still won’t kill. This is why he is hesitant to throw down with numerous gangsters in the film’s initial fight scene. Once he has taken them on, he quickly dispatches them with his trademark intelligence and strategic thinking.
A New Generation Of Villains
While the previous films mainly focused on villains from Batman’s past, The Dark Knight Rises delves into the future of crime in Gotham City. In the film, we see the emergence of two new iconic groups of villains. The first is an army of supervillains led by The Riddler (Ivan Reitfel), who seeks to rule Gotham with an iron fist. The second are the hulking, muscle-bound bruisers known as Bane (Tom Hardy), who seeks to destroy Gotham’s economic viability – striking fear into the hearts of the city’s wealthy elite.
Batman and his allies must now do battle with these two groups of villains, with combat sequences chock full of elaborate special effects and spectacular set-pieces that are certain to please fans of the Dark Knight franchise.
A New Way To Tell The Story
Aside from the fact that it’s been seven years since the last film, the biggest difference between Batman 2 and The Dark Knight Rises is the tell-all-style approach which director Christopher Nolan and his team have taken. We know more about Nygma and The Joker’s back stories here, as well as the motivations which cause them to do what they do. Nolan has also stated that he wanted to take this opportunity to explore what makes Batman such an enduring character.
The Dark Knight Rises is the culmination of everything which came before it. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but instead takes everything which came before and builds upon it. This allows the filmmaker to tell a story in a new way, while also reminding us of the motivations and justifications for Batman’s actions. It is a bold and brilliant move which results in an exciting new entry to a franchise filled with excitement.