Normally I leave my reviews for my sister site Lost and Forgotten Films which, as of late due to time constraints, is more about reviewing films just out in theaters. But this film has many aspects which relate to today's world and while the film was far from perfect, it pluses were much more than the minuses. I will keep it spoiler free so as to not ruin the really great ending.
The movie takes place eight years after the Joker was caught and Harvey Dent aka "Two Face," is killed leaving Bruce Wayne/Batman broken in body and spirit. He has become a recluse whose fading fortune is hurting the charities he once championed. While having a party for Harvey Dent's memory, Bruce watches the gala from afar as Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway looking spectacular in tight leather) makes off with a valuable heirloom from the Wayne Estate.
Meanwhile, Bane (A humongous Tom Hardy) is busy escaping from a CIA controlled jet with Dr. Pavel, a Russian scientist Bane needs, crashing the plane in the process in a thrilling sequence that sadly would not be replicated for most of the film.
The first act establishes the characters we know like Morgan Freeman's Lucious Fox, Michael Caine as Alfred and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon. New ones like good cop Blake ( A magnetic Joseph Gordon Levitt which is good because I swear he's in the movie more than Batman), new CEO of Wayne Enterprises Miranda (Marion Cotillard of Inception as well. It's like half the cast was in this), and dick cop Foley played in a welcome return by Mathew Modine, whose career was killed by Cutthroat Island.
Batman is forced out of retirement after Bane steals all his money after a daring Wall Street heist and holds the city hostage with a giant nuke. Batman gets the crap beat out of him by Bane at one point, echoing the famous scene in the comics of Bane breaking Batman's back and throwing him into a prison half way round the world. This has been the problem with some of the haters out there but I had little issue with actually. The passage of time in this movie is handled rather poorly and can be confusing to some people who can't follow a non-continuous time line, which the film isn't. It's not Memento, Chris Nolan's first movie, or anything like that, but time does skip around for weeks at a time with no mention of it.
The main problems from the film involve a really SLOW middle act which should have been trimmed or tightened a little. Characters that are supposed to be of huge importance probably should have been introduced in previous films to establish some better character arcs. New and very important characters like Miranda, Catwoman and Blake should have been around at some point since the first film and not introduced in the last act of a trilogy. It would be like not having Gandalf in Lord of the Rings until the last film. It doesn't work.
The other problem I had were the rather lame fight sequences. Fight scenes are my favorite part of just about any film, especially super hero films, and here they had all the impact of a being hit with a wet sponge. I don't know who the fight co-oridinator was in this movie but he sucked. Batman and Bane duke it out with no good martial arts or even a batwing or two. Just punches and let me tell you that gets boring after a while. The resolution of Bane's character is kind of lame too with a terrible death scene and a questionable story arc revealed late in the film.
However, the slights aside, the film is a written masterpiece of subversive story telling. Chris Nolan can say what we wants about this not being a political film but it is anything but. The news may have actually hit upon something, although not in the conspiracy way that Fox would suggest. Bane IS a representative of the Tea Party Movement and even Occupy Wall Street to a certain extent. He is a populist figure using his power to get the underdogs to rise up with him and take over the city from the rich elites. The only problem is, he's just using the people for his own nefarious purposes and will eliminate millions of them without a second thought, a plan he actively tries in the film.
We have heard the movie used Bane as a reference to Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital ties. The funny thing, while I believe the Bane/Bain reference is entirely coincidental, the fact remains that Bane IS MITT ROMNEY. Mitt is trying to get people to vote against one's self interests so he can step in and slaughter the rest of us. We keep hearing that Mitt is a man of the people and he's looking out for the underdog. But he has no policy ideas that have been mentioned so far that will work and if things like the Paul Ryan Budget plan are ever enacted, society will collapse as we know it. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration, if that plan is ever enacted in it's entirety the country will spin out of control. If starvation, disease and poverty are what you want for you and your kids by all means vote for ANY GOP candidate come November. Just remember if you do that you will be voting for this man.
The film is a great piece of screenwriting with a few glaring problems. In no way is it better than The Avengers but few films this year will be.
4 stars out of 5