There is a reason why Robert Pattinson is often typecast as heroes and monsters in the same role: he can play them all perfectly. The latest example is The Dark Knight Rises, where he takes on the dual roles of Batman and Bruce Wayne; in the comics, the character is known as The Dark Knight.
Based on the 2012 graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller, the film adapts the story of a man who seeks redemption for the events that occurred in The Dark Knight, in which he sacrificed his own life to protect Gotham City. The Dark Knight Rises continues the story of the caped crusader from avengeful caveman to billionaire playboy, as he struggles to redeem his past actions and save Gotham from Bane (played by Tom Hardy).
The actor takes on the dual role of Batman and Bruce Wayne with ease. While his physicality in the role will be familiar to most, his vocal performance as the billionaire recluse will be less so. As for the caveman incarnation, it’s hard to imagine anyone else but Heath Ledger playing the terrifying Dark Knight.
The Batman and Bruce Wayne Versions Are Superbly Executed
The Dark Knight Rises is directed by Christopher Nolan and adapted for the big screen by Nolan and his brother, David. The two-time Oscar-winning director takes on the mammoth task of adapting a 400-page graphic novel and making it into a feature film. This is the second time he’s worked with Christopher and David on a project; the first was The Dark Knight, which followed on from their brilliant debut, Batman Begins. While the first film won critical acclaim and became one of the highest-grossing superhero movies ever, The Dark Knight Rises is something of a return to form.
Nolan and his team of writers ensure that each scene and character beat flows smoothly from the last, keeping the tension high without sacrificing coherence or momentum. This is undoubtedly one of the best superhero movie series, adapting a graphic novel and keeping the integrity of the source material while creating a whole other layer of depth through their brilliant writing.
For those who have followed the Batman comics or seen the various incarnations of Batman on screen, this latest film will feel eerily familiar. However, the scope is far larger than any previous adaptation, making it an altogether grander experience.
The Casting Is Stunning
As mentioned, Robert Pattinson embodies all of these different aspects of the legendary character, turning in arguably his best performance to date. A native of England, he was born into a famous family of celebs; his great-grandfather was the stage actor and comedian Herbert Beerbohm Tree, and his mother is the novelist Jane Beerbohm Tree. He first found fame in the 2010 romantic comedy Love Ranch, followed by the sci-fi action thriller Real Steel. Since then, he has appeared in X-Men: First Class, The Odd Life of Timothy McTeague, The Silkwood Project, and the upcoming Death Note.
Robert Pattinson is joined by an incredible cast, which includes Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more. The British actor picked up a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his impressive performance as both Tom and Goggins Lawler in the dark comedy The Theory of Everything. The three-time Emmy winner plays a dual role as scientists whose work on expanding human capabilities is pushed to the limits by their egos. Oldman, who won an Oscar for portraying Winston Churchill in The Best Exotic Marrakech, portrays J. Alfred Prufrock, the eccentric billionaire who discovers the limits of artificial intelligence and attempts to destroy it. In the process, he creates an army of highly trained killers known as FRANKENSTEIN, whose leader he names himself.
Gary Oldman’s dual role as scientist and mad genius J.A.R.V.I.S. in Avengers: Age of Ultron was arguably the highlight of his career; he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Winston Churchill in The Best Exotic Marrakech, which we mentioned previously. He also appeared in the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will be released in November of this year.
Tom Hardy, known for his roles in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, plays a dual role as Sherlock Holmes and his own personal detective, Thomas (or Tommy) Hockley, in the upcoming adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The English actor won an Academy Award for his role as a hitman in Inglourious Basterds and landed a part in the highly-anticipated sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marrakech, due for release next year.
Other notable performances from some of the best actors in the world include Michael Caine, who will play the dual role of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes adaptation; and Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays both Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie, The Dragonfly Effect. The British actor won a Tony Award for his role as Sherlock in the Broadway revival of Frank Launder and P.J. Thornley’s The Man in the Brown Suit. Finally, we can’t forget about John Malkovich, who plays everyone’s favorite eccentric inventor, the brilliant Dr. Frankenstein, in the new Mary Shelley adaptation, Frankenstein, directed by Michael Radford. In this latest incarnation, John plays Dr. Frankenstein along with his assistant, Igor, who sports a very fashionable walrus mustache.
The Dark Knight Rises is a cinematic masterpiece, delivering one of the best superhero movies ever made. What’s more is that it continues the legacy of the Batman franchise, which is now in its eighth decade, as well as that of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has been going strong for over a decade.
There are several standout scenes that deserve special mention. One of the most fascinating is the mid-credit sequence, which sees Batman teaming up with Poison Ivy (played by Emily Blunt) to save the city. It’s quite an interesting dynamic, as they are polar opposites yet operate in perfect harmony, which makes the scene that much more compelling. Then there’s the sequence where Bruce Wayne’s parents are being killed by the villains he has defeated in the past, which is a brutal twist on one of the most iconic images from the comics. What’s more is that you almost never see Bruce’s parents being killed on screen, making this sequence that much more powerful.
The Joker And Harley Quinn Aren’t Forgotten
The Joker and Harley Quinn, both of whom appear in the above clip, are both important members of Batman’s rogues’ gallery. In fact, Harley Quinn is one of Batman’s former girlfriends who was later turned into a villainous, cartoon character. This is the first time in a while that they’ve appeared together on screen; in 2002, they had a cameo in Batman Beyond, however, this will be their first proper scene together in almost a decade. It is also worth noting that the Harley Quinn scene is one of the few comedic moments in the otherwise dark and gritty Batman film series.
Speaking of which, these are interesting times for the Batman franchise. While The Dark Knight Rises broke several records at the box office upon its release, it was also subject to heavy criticism from fans and other moviegoers; some even called the movie ‘soulless’ and accused Nolan and company of ripping off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The controversy somewhat stemmed from the fact that the Dark Knight doesn’t seem to have the same reverence for the characters and situations that made his predecessor so memorable; despite the fact that it was the first film to ever reach $1 billion at the box office, it was also the lowest-rated of Nolan’s Batman films, debuting at 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. Whether or not this is a problem for the future of the franchise is yet to be determined.