‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is the second part of the blockbuster trilogy that began with ‘The Dark Knight’. Director Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus is one of the most acclaimed films of all time, and continues to inspire fans decades later.
While the first film in the trilogy, ‘The Dark Knight’, focused on the crimes of a single individual, Harvey Dent, this installment explores the rise of a larger criminal organization led by Bane (played by Tom Hardy).
The Cinematic World of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’
If you’ve never seen a Christopher Nolan movie before, then you may be wondering what to expect from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. This installment in the franchise begins in the same ominous manner as the first, with a city under siege by a rampaging terrorist named Bane.
The city is Gotham, and the events of the film take place six years after the destruction of most of the city in ‘The Dark Knight’. Bane has risen to power in the interim, plunging the police force and the people of Gotham into chaos and anarchy. The only resistance movement left is the Insane Brotherhood (later renamed the ‘Resistance’), which is led by a former colleague of Bane’s named John Constantine (played by Michael Caine).
The cinematic world of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is an urban sprawl, with Nolan favoring long shots and establishing shots over close-ups as he did in his previous films. This allows the viewer to get a sense of the vastness and the overwhelming nature of Bane’s forces, as they stream into Gotham from all directions. In one memorable scene, two armored trucks filled with soldiers enter downtown Gotham, and the crowd panics, fearing the worst. The next scene has the convoy stopping at a red light, and the occupants have time to survey the area and size up the situation. This is followed by a tracking shot that lingers on the trucks as they drive through the streets, eventually leading to a chase scene where they are caught by explosions and fireballs.
What we have here is a war between the forces of good and evil, and a fascinating example of Nolan’s use of sound and music to create a realistic and immersive experience for the viewer. This is especially true in the vehicles sequences, where the score by Hans Zimmer is used to augment the action and create an atmosphere of dread and foreboding. For the most part, however, the score serves as a backing track for the dramatic dialogue and performances.
The Rising Criminal Organization of Bane
Based on the comic book series ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ weaves a tale of redemption and resistance that is as sprawling and ambitious as the films that inspire it. In the saga of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, as in its source material, Bane is a cunning, brilliant, and ruthless opponent of the hero Batman (played by Christian Bale).
Like many others before him, Bane seeks to overthrow Master Bruce and usher in a new world order. He also harbors a grudge against Batman for foiling his first plan, which involved taking over the city in a bloody coup d’état. What follows is an elaborate plot that has Bane and his gang of mercenaries kidnapping wealthy Gothamites and holding them for ransom. This is, of course, an old plotline in comics, but Nolan takes the concept and gives it a new spin. In one memorable scene near the beginning of the film, Bane gives a speech to a frightened crowd, explaining his goals and the need for resistance. His speech is chilling in its tone and delivery, and Hardy’s performance is superb.
Bane begins his campaign of terror by blowing up multiple police stations and releasing hundreds of criminals onto the streets. With Gotham badly damaged and overrun with violence, Bruce feels compelled to step in and protect the city as it searches for peace and stability. The hero Batman appears in the last film of the trilogy, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, six years later, having assumed the mantel of a crime-fighting vigilante. He sets about tracking down and fighting the criminal organizations that have sprung up in the years since his retirement, determined to clean up Gotham and restore order to the city.
The Dark Knight Rises’ Legacy
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is the last film directed by Christopher Nolan. It is fitting, therefore, that the director ends his trilogy on a high note, leaving audiences both satisfied and hungry for more. The film was a huge critical and commercial success, becoming the second highest-grossing movie of all time, only trailing ‘The Avengers’. It also won multiple awards, including an Oscar for best production design.
What is most remarkable about ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is how faithful it is to its source material. As mentioned above, Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ was the direct inspiration for the film, and the director went to great lengths to ensure that the film was as faithful as possible to the graphic novel. This is especially evident in the fight scenes, where the choreography is nearly identical to that in the comic, and where the camera angles and movements are often very similar. As a result, the fights in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ are some of the most impressive and realistic that have ever appeared onscreen, and fans of the comic will find much to love.
The success of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ has made Christopher Nolan a brand name among action movie fans. If you’re a fan of the genre, then be sure to see this acclaimed filmmaker’s next project, ‘Dunkirk’, in which he reunites with many of his ‘Dark Knight’ collaborators. This will be followed by ‘Tenet’, another Batman movie, and ‘Windstorm’, which is set for release in 2021.