Eight movie years have passed since Batman (Christian Bale) last donned the cape. He’s become a recluse, having assumed responsibility for District Attorney Harvey Dent’s crimes in the hopes that if theDent anti-crime act worked Gotham would be peaceful. It was successful until a cat burglar named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) put into motion a series of events that would draw the caped Crusader from retirement to fight his mightiest foe yet, Bane (Tom Hardy).
• Richard: 4/5
• Mark: 3/5
Richard: Mark, this story seemed like it played out in real life on our streets, albeit without capes, gadgets and murderous villains. When Selina purrs “You’re all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large, and leave so little for the rest of us,” into Bruce’s ear, it sounds ripped from the headlines. Such is the timeliness of the film, but is this is a summer blockbuster, or a treatise on the haves and the have-nots?
Mark: The movie comes out squarely on the side of law, order, and social hierarchy. Chris Nolan is smart enough to know that if he wants to make blockbusters he isn’t going to get financing from the 99 per cent. So the politics of the film are a bit confused, but the rest of it works. It’s smart, if a bit talky, and beautifully cast. The big question is: Is it as good as The Dark Knight?
RC: I think it is more easily comparable to Batman Begins. Both those movies have the same kind of tone. As for The Dark Knight, I’d have to say it’s as good, but in a different way. It’s a more structured, linear film, mainly because the villain is more straightforward. Bane is a troublemaker — he’s one part modern day terrorist, two parts Attila the Hun — but he lacks the Joker’s unpredictability, which is the thing that made the middle movie such a treat.
MB: Yes, what’s missing from this film is a great villain. It’s hard to enjoy Bane through his face mask — Darth Vader he’s not. Instead of The Joker, we now have The Mumbler. And many of the characters’ motivations seemed unclear to me, especially Catwoman, although I liked Anne Hathaway in the role. She gets the best lines AND the best outfits. But it’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt that really occupies the heart of the movie. He’s the only one that seems human in it, so kudos to him.
RC: Agreed about Gordon-Levitt but I liked Bane’s slightly nutty Shakespearean villain, even if some of his dialogue ended up sounding like a garbled mixture of drunken whispers and baby talk. Also, Hathaway, for my money, rocks it.
MB: She usually does, doesn’t she … If I seem a bit unenthusiastic about the movie, it’s just that the last Batman was darn near perfect. It’s a tough act to follow, but a few more action sequences and a more focused story would have helped.