PARTING is such sweet sorrow. Director Christopher Nolan completes his dark and brooding trilogy based on the DC Comics crime-fighter in suitably grandiose fashion, delivering not only the longest film in the series but also the most brutal, violent and satisfying.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (12A) *****
Replete with more than an hour of footage shot on IMAX cameras to enhance picture quality and truly immerse the audience in the pulse-quickening action, The Dark Knight Rises ends Nolan’s tenure on a giddy high.
It’s to the London-born film-maker’s credit that he resisted the urge to jump on the 3D bandwagon for the caped crusader’s swansong.
Certainly, the breathlessly orchestrated action sequences, including the spectacular opening aboard a huge C-130 Hercules transport plane, would draw bigger gasps in the eye-popping format.
However, Nolan has always focused on the characters and their twisted psychologies, and he puts all of them and us through the emotional wringer in this final chapter, co-written by his brother Jonathan. The script is a little too cute in places, inadvertently giving away one major plot point well in advance, but it certainly doesn’t hurt our enjoyment to be two steps ahead of the good guys.
Christian Bale brings typical intensity to the title role and the tender bond with Sir Michael Caine’s lackey continues to tug heartstrings.
Thankfully, Tom Hardy’s electronic vocals have been improved since early trailers so his masked villain is largely intelligible while Anne Hathaway slinks as Catwoman, purring some choice one-liners.
The Dark Knight Rises should satisfy ardent fans of the previous two instalments while delivering all of the slam-bang thrills required of a muscular summer blockbuster. Action sequences are adrenaline-pumping from the bruising fist fights, which fully warrant the film’s 12A certificate, to high-speed chases aboard the nifty two-wheeled Bat-Pod and the introduction of a state-of-the-art stealth aircraft nicknamed The Bat.
“The Batman has to come back,” whispers Commissioner Gordon at one point, echoing the sentiments of fans around the world.