Wayne has gone as off the grid as an internationally famous billionaire can for eight years, leaving rumors that he has become disfigured or gone mad. He only re-emerges because a mysterious thief forces him to, but he returns with a death wish from having lost so much. The world he saved still regards the tainted Harvey Dent as its unfallen hero, and its cowled crusader as the monster who killed him. Like Winston Churchill after World War II, he has been cast aside. Bane strides the stage as a modern Robespierre armed with the latest weaponry, with no apparent hero left to challenge him while he “liberates” the city as only a true madman can. As the story progresses, we find out that in some ways Bane is a mirror image of Batman, with the wicked self-righteousness of Osama bin Laden and Darth Vader. He takes his justice cues directly from the French Committee of Public Safety, and sits a fellow villain on the throne to rule for life or exile for the presumptively guilty. The Occupy movement might have gone in that direction too, but thankfully it never had a Bane to will it to power.
The third and final film in the Nolan Batman trilogy is the most hyped, but least predictable, of the three. While Bane lacks Joker’s wit and gift for misdirection, he makes up for it with cunning and brute force. The Dark Knight Rises is a five-star masterpiece despite one or two holes in the plot. The basic storylines go somewhat as expected, particularly if you are really up on your Batman lore, but once the opening exposition is done with, the action and twists come quickly with perfect pace. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is the best that has ever been put on screen by far, smouldering one second, playacting victim the next, landing on her feet from one disaster to another, some of them of her making, some not. Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines as the everyman cop who, as the disaster unfolds, rises to become an extraordinarily ordinary hero. Christian Bale’s Batman defines the character.