The Dark Knight Ends: Casting, story line collide to create epic finale

The Batman trilogy has been one of the few movie series this year that has kept fans desperate for the next installment. The final one goes above and beyond what’s expected from a movie, mixing intrigue, suspense, and many, many explosions, that resulted in an astonishingly good conclusion to the saga.

The first two movies were spectacular, setting up the final movie of the trilogy for an epic finale. The movie delivered on many levels, from the adrenaline fueled hostile takeover of a plane, to the horrifying decline of Gotham, to Batman’s redemption in the Pit. TDKR continues the plot from the previous movies, and expands on it at the same time. Batman’s past comes to life, with his former mentor’s child infiltrating his world, without Batman ever having a clue.

The main antagonist, Bane, has a strong presence throughout the movie, including the Connery-esque voice provided by Tom Hardy. Bane always seemed in control of the situation no matter how chaotic it was. He was somewhat intimidating in that regard, considering he effortlessly made a fool out of Batman. That added another level of tension to the movie because the main character no longer seemed unstoppable.

Another element of the movie that really added a lot of depth and tension was the inclusion of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robin. Initially he just seems like another police officer, but as the movie progressed he gained a more significant role, helping save police officers trapped underground, and eventually assisting Batman in stopping the destruction of Gotham. Gordon-Levitt was a great choice for Robin, and hopefully his addition will preclude further movies that have the old partnership reformed.

The cast of the Batman series continually impresses me, starting out with Alfred the butler. The actor who plays this role nails it so perfectly I don’t think a single person in the theater remembers that he isn’t, in fact, a butler in real life. Everything from his accent, to the way he deferentially refers to Bruce Wayne. Additionally, Morgan Freeman as Mr.Fox is a great touch, as you can never go wrong when you have Morgan Freeman in a movie. In the second movie, when a grubby little worker at Wayne’s company tries to sell-out, Freeman utters some of my favorite lines. The delivery of this line was perfect, with just the right amount of incredulousity combined with his deadpan tone. “Let me get this straight. You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands; and your plan, is to blackmail this person?”

The leading actors in this movie did a satisfactory job, but I don’t think Christian Bale or Anne Hathaway really stretched themselves when it came to their roles. Considering that Bale was in a suit of armor for the majority of the film, at times, he resembled a glorified voice actor. Anne Hathaway’s role as Catwoman seemed tailor-made to suit her. It was one of the few times I actually enjoyed seeing her in a movie. In the end though, Christian Bale wasn’t anything spectacular as Batman.

One thing I didn’t like about the movie though was the ending. Bane’s plot to take Gotham hostage with the atomic bomb seemed a little pointless. If he wanted the city destroyed, just destroy it. Don’t play a game with trucks driving around the city, just blow up the bomb. If Bane really just wanted the leverage to control Gotham, all he needed to do was prevent the bomb from deteriorating as it did. Regardless of that minor inconsistency at the very end, the movie redeemed itself when Batman flies the soon-to-explode reactor away and saves the city. I thought it was very fitting, and almost not cheesy.

In the end, The Dark Knight Rises was a wonderful ending to the trilogy, and I hope that it’s a precursor to many more Batman movies in the future, if you’re a superhero movie fan, or not.

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