The biggest film of our generation by far, how many of us could have predicted The Dark Knight Rises would be the most anticipated film in a decade after seeing Batman Begins? But here we stand, with £1million raised in advance ticket sales from IMAX cinemas alone (want to watch it in London? You’ll be waiting well into August), in just two days time we’ll see the release of what will almost certainly become the highest grossing film of all time.
We’re eight-years on from the death of Harvey Dent, Batman’s in retirement, Gotham City is free from organised crime (thanks to the Commissioner Gordon spearheaded Havey Dent Act) and Bruce Wayne is nowhere to be found. Perhaps overly reliant on the impact of its predecessor, an hour of beautifully shot and remarkably scaled scenes rush through the must know information (TDKR couldn’t The Godfather II, but we’ll never stop wishing it was). We’re introduced to Bane [Tom Hardy]; a masked mercenary intent on causing chaos the world over, Selina Kyle [Anne Hathaway]; a highly skilled cat burglar with an interest in Wayne, and John Blake [Joseph Gordon-Levitt]; a young cop with a hero worship of the former caped crusader. Three of the strongest cast additions you’ll see in any sequel.
The scale of The Dark Knight Rises is its most remarkable element. Between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan directed Inception, which, as incredible a visual feast as it was, will be forever marked as a mere nod to the all-encompassing action shots of TDKR. From the stampeding revolutionaries in their thousands, negotiating the streets of snowy Gotham, to the already iconic imploding football stadium in the film’s trailer; major event after major event is handled with jaw-dropping attention to detail and we can only imagine; infinite budget. If Hollywood needs a lesson in spending money (and it does), then Christopher Nolan is the man to give it to them.
The theme of uncontrollable chaos and humanity’s ability (or inability) to resist the debauchery of consequence free living is central to TDKR as it was Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, appropriately elevating our hero as the saviour of souls (souls and children), Nolan raises the stakes once again, creating the perfect crescendo for his Batman (we fear a reboot is not only inevitable, but near), pulling the trilogy together with its consistent comic book aesthetic and perfectly developed action movie essentials.
Many will attempt to draw greater sociopolitical meaning from the anti-capitalist rhetoric come domestic terrorism of Joker, Bane and Ra's al Ghul but the the overriding themes of power and powerlessness are pure comic book and pure Batman.
The Dark Knight Rises will become the highest grossing film of all-time and it deserves to. Our Star Wars, TDKR stops itself becoming the pastiche ridden Return of the Jedi of the series and elevates itself to one of the greatest cinematic experiences you're ever likely to enjoy.