Here at Set In motion, we were always taught that to write a good essay one should have a strong introduction, and a lasting conclusion.  That way, even if the middle bit isn’t fantastic, people seem to forget about it.

Clearly Christopher Nolan was paying attention in his English class (or the filmmaker equivalent I guess), since both the introduction and the conclusion of The Dark Knight Rises were phenomenal.  And even better, the conclusion left viewers (well at least this one) grasping onto the edges of her seat, waiting for the impossible to happen…and, wanting. Another. Movie.

For those who haven’t yet seen the latest (and Nolan says last) instalment of Batman, don’t worry, I won’t include any spoilers.  Set In Motion isn’t a website that promotes sadism after all (ever wonder why there were no 50 Shades of Grey reviews?  Well, actually, that’s more because it’s a crap book).  However, if you still want a general review of the film, to get a taste of what is to come…please, read ahead.

The Dark Knight Rises is a film that brings together an impressive array of some of the finest actors of our generation (and the previous generation too…Michael Caine is OLD), along with a massive budget, and one of the most positively reviewed (both critically and commercially) directors of all time.  Yet I still kinda assumed something would go wrong.  It didn’t.

First, the cast.  While actors like Christian Bale, who may be legitimately bonkers, were always going to bring it in the acting stakes, performances by supporting cast members like Gary Oldman and Michael Caine added that extra layer to the character depth, providing us with an insight to the complexities that is “the Batman”.

As per usual, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a treat, but let’s be honest, when isn’t he?  (Seriously, is there anyone who has seen this guy and not instantly decided he is the greatest guy ever?).  However, the real standout for me was Tom Hardy as Bane.  While some would fail miserably in their attempt to be scary behind a mask that makes them sound like Sean Connery, Hardy provided the depth that allowed viewers to really FEAR Bane, both on a physical level (he picks up and tosses Batman to the ground…HOW?), and mental level.  And when there are twists in the film plot (another of Nolan’s specialities), we have to re-assess our feelings on who Bane really is, which gives enormous credit to Hardy who is playing what is essentially “pure evil”.

The overall direction of the film.  At no point were there scenes that shouldn’t have been there (which is saying something, the film goes for almost three hours).  The special effects were both other-worldly while maintaining a semblance of reality.

A personal favourite for me was the sound editing.  By far some of the best sound editing that has been done in a big block-buster film in a very long time.  The metaphoric chants of the prison, which originate as a sound of foreboding whenever Bane appears, to one of victory for Batman.  The emphasise of certain sounds in a sea of chaos; a clock ticking, a child singing to a doomed crowd.  In action films like these, it is so easy for the audience to get lost amongst the confusion of what is really occurring, yet Nolan extracts the most influential sounds of the scene and enhances them, trapping the viewer into the moment.

Another standout of course was the storyline.  While Nolan always brings it in terms of “where the hell did THAT come from?”, his continual ability to surprise and entertain us with a superhero who has been around for decades is a true testament of his originality. At no time was I bored, or even confused, by what was occurring.  And the actual premise of the film, which is that social anarchy has to occur in order to restrain the balance to the people (think Occupy Melbourne, but you know, something actually happening), is both relevant and accurate…and scarily could perhaps one day occur.

However, as much as I enjoyed the film, there were the occasional moments that didn’t sit with me.  There were at least a dozen occasions where I was like “How is that even possible?” to which the only solution was “It’s Batman. Go with it”.  Secondly, as with all superhero, or even good vs. bad films, the bad guy is invariably undone by their inability to keep a monologue short.  Which I understand is partially necessary, to give depth and whatnot, but at the same time, it’s old.  It’s done.  Think of another way to defeat them already.  Thirdly, despite the fact that Batman is clearly the good guy in these situations, he is continually used as a scapegoat to both the media and the police force.  Which is sadly another cliche that is overused (Spiderman?  Even Harry Potter for goodness sakes).

Overall, this is by far the best film of the year (that I have personally seen).  Whether or not it can be topped by hugely-anticipated films The Great Gatsby and Les Mis, we shall have to see.  But as a fan of the comics, and of Nolan’s other works, I can say I walked away from The Dark Knight Rises, not only satisfied, but already scheming in the possibilities of a spin-off.

As a final note, I’d also like to give my condolences to the 12 innocent people who were killed and the 58 people who were injured in the massacre that occurred in the United States.

What did you think of the film?  Blow your mind?  Off to see it again?  Let me know!