It’s been 8 years since the Dark Knight last fought for Gotham City. We find him bruised, battered and reclusive – he’s become Gotham’s Howard Hughes. Hiding from the world and showing the frailty of a boxer that’s gone far too many rounds. The Batman we knew is only a fraction of the man we see before us. He’s in a state of retirement and in the immortal words of Sgt. Murtaugh “Too old for this shit”.
But once more he is called upon to save Gotham. The city is besieged by a militia, with aims to disrupt the social structure and terrorise its citizens. All the law enforcement, public services and support for the city are shutdown and the people of Gotham are held captive. Echo’s of the current political climate are evident – the ‘one percenters’ of Gotham are put in mock trials for their decadent luxuries and lifestyles. But ultimately all of Gotham’s citizens are looked upon with equal disdain, by the militia’s leader…
Enter Bane. A human doppelganger for the hulk, except he doesn’t need to be angry to inflict pain – His violent, crushing, punches are delivered with very little effort or rage. He has no fear – his ability to feel pain, both physically and emotionally, is gone. He’s faster better and stronger than our hero, and for all the brawn there is plenty of brain.
The initial face off between the two men is a sad sight – Bane toys with Batman, beating him senseless, like Mike Tyson, in his prime, against a frail Muhammad Ali. Nobody wants to witness that. Bane only lets him survive the ordeal so that he can witness the epic destruction of his beloved city.
“When Gotham is ashes….you have my permission to die” – [Bane]
Director, Nolan, takes us to the depths of despair and holds us there for most of the film. Bringing back the motif of the earlier films in which a symbol can be used to inspire the masses to take back their city – Gotham can no longer rely on its one saviour, it needs to stand up for itself.
Obviously it’s very difficult to write a review of a film in which you don’t want to give too much away. I won’t go into the specifics of the final act, but what I will say is that you can draw some indirect parallels with Nolan’s last film Inception. The ambiguous ending is not immediately obvious at first viewing, but a definite ‘spinning top’ moment occurs in the final scene of the film. Which I’m sure will spark some debate in the near future.
Overall I’d say the film is a ‘must see’ if you’ve followed the series, you’ll be satisfied with the finale and the way Nolan has handled the film in such an epic arena. The film clocks in at 2 hours 45 min long, but never did I feel like time was dragging – every scene is worth its weight.