In arguably the year of the superhero, the universe’s greatest saviours and villains are not only battling it out amongst themselves, they are also battling it out for that coveted number one spot, and the series of awards sure to follow. With the huge box office smashes ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ already setting a ridiculously high benchmark; Spiderman raking in $62 million in its opening weekend, and The Avengers a staggering $207 million, The Dark Knight Rises promised to top these all. And this was by no means an empty promise. I managed to secure an invite to the exclusive midnight IMAX showing of the final instalment of the batman series, and was left rendered almost speechless.
From the opening credits, it is clear that this film is not going to disappoint. Opening with possibly the most incredible aerobatic stunt one’s mind could have possibly even dreamt of (involving two aeroplanes mid-flight and an awful lot of awesome) this film is every bit as action-packed and stunt-heavy as we all hoped. Within ten minutes of the film, this feat has left audience members wide-eyed and open mouthed – but this is by no means the epitome of awesomeness in this film, no sir. This is just the beginning of an incredible journey into the most mind-blowing and unfathomable action sequences one has only ever dreamt of.
Director, Christopher Nolan, who famously refused to have any of the trilogy shot in 3-D, instead has opted to shoot most of the action with specialised IMAX cameras, which capture images at such high quality, it is the closest thing to real life 3-D, without the chunky glasses and inevitable anti-climax. The action is breathtakingly realistic, and with the huge, cavernous IMAX screen surrounding every iota of even your peripheral vision, it is hard not to become entirely absorbed within it. The cinematography is truly exceptional in this film. With beautifully artistic shots of Wayne manor, the intricately detailed bat-cave, death-defying stunts on land and in the air and huge panoramic shots of the entire city being destroyed – this movie has it all.
The first curious character and commendable performance is that of Anne Hathaway as the enigmatic ‘Catwoman’. Hathaway’s performance is truly remarkable, flitting with expert skill between the façade of the damsel in distress and the smirking, sultry character which is the real Catwoman. Hathaway oozes effortless elegance and irrefutable charm, paired with sassy retorts and impossibly smooth trickery. If ever there was any doubt of Hathaway’s abilities as a ‘serious actress’, coming from such films as ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and ‘The Princess Diaries’, her incredible performance in the Dark Knight Rises instantly dispels this. Her love/hate, or more appropriately cat/bat relationship, with Christian Bale’s character of Bruce Wayne is both intriguing and unnerving – you can never quite guess which way their fated meetings will go. Avoiding the custom of kitty powers a la Halle Berry’s 2004 Catwoman, Hathaway exudes sultry cool and unleashes merciless ass-whoopery on anyone who stands in her way.