|Batman (Bale) and Catwoman (Hathaway) in Nolan's epic finale.
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Produced by Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, and Emma Thomas
Written by Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, and David S. Goyer; characters created by Bob Kane
Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman
I'm obviously late in posting this. In short, I loved the film and think it's the best of Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. If you want to keep reading, there's more after the cut. (Spoiler-free)
Christopher Nolan's slam-bang finish to his epic, ground-breaking Dark Knight trilogy delivers a satisfying conclusion to the Batman legacy. In this finale, Bruce Wayne (Bale) has retired from being Batman and has been living as a recluse in Wayne Manor for eight years. When his mother's jewels are stolen by Selina Kyle (Hathaway), he discovers that a new villain known as Bane (Hardy) is in Gotham and might just force him out of retirement. In the midst of this struggle are Commissioner Gordon (Oldman), Lucius Fox (Freeman), Alfred (Caine), philanthropist Miranda (Cotillard), and an orphaned cop named Blake (Gordon-Levitt). The question is: Will Batman be able to save Gotham now that he's an outcast? That's a very brief synopsis because you shouldn't know more than that when seeing it for the first time. There's a great deal that happens that I won't even go into here.
For me, most of Nolan's longer films are too packed with plot. While this film is certainly heavy on it, Nolan manages to pace the film much better and avoids being too bloated, giving everything enough time to digest without rushing ahead to the next twist. The film is nearly 3 hours long, but I didn't notice at all. Nolan has achieved a brilliant structuring here, combining the reliance on Bruce's development in Batman Begins with the ensemble format of The Dark Knight. It makes for a wonderful send-off, with an ambiguous ending on top of all the twists. Also, the film has fine performances from both the new and returning cast, with Bale continuing to highlight both sides of Bruce/Batman and Hathaway and Hardy making their mark on iconic, but somewhat underwritten, characters. With Wally Pfister's always-beautiful cinematography and Hans Zimmer's thrilling score, the film is a great technical achievement. Although some have problems with suspension of disbelief, I was totally engrossed and was able to overlook some of the questionable choices that Nolan made. I do have a few minor issues with the film, but, on the whole, it's an epic blockbuster that flies by and does not disappoint. It's one of Nolan's best, and it's the best film I've seen so far this year. Go see it, if you haven't already.
Oscar Potential: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Makeup, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects