Everything you like about Nolan’s take on Batman is here, the all too human characters, the realistic take on superheroics, and the highbrow storytelling.
But, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is more BATMAN BEGINS than it is THE DARK KNIGHT.
Simply put, the second film in the franchise transcends the other two entries with ease. Whether that’s due to the remarkable performance of Heath Ledger and the hullaballoo surrounding his death, which is where I’ve parked my money, or something else entirely different is open to debate. (Cue chorus of dissent)
Tom Hardy’s menacing raw physicality doesn’t reach the same heights as Ledger’s cackling insanity, leaving the audience a little emotionally distant at times as they try to unravel Nolan’s intricate plotting. This isn’t the unpredictable raw emotional struggle of the second film but a marathon chess match played out over months and years.
As a result it’s a little easier to poke holes in some of DKR’s more rushed plot points.
It was inevitable that a small whiff of overfamiliarity was going to end up permeating the franchise, especially considering its rampant popularity guaranteed the series would remain front and center in the great popular culture parody party.
We’ve seen these characters before, we’re familiar with the director’s auterly motifs, we know what to expect.
Nolan is making the smart call here, leaving the Bat-party at the height of his popularity, where he’s still calling the shots and not rehashing the past.