Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his imposed exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.
When his parents are killed, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne relocates to Asia where he is mentored by Henri Ducard and Ra's Al Ghul in how to fight evil. When learning about the plan to wipe out evil in Gotham City by Ducard, Bruce prevents this plan from getting any further and heads back to his home. Back in his original surroundings, Bruce adopts the image of a bat to strike fear into the criminals and the corrupt as the icon known as 'Batman'. But it doesn't stay quiet for long. Written by
Christopher Nolan (and cast) have pulled off what I hadn't dared to dream - a Batman every bit as good as Burton/Keaton's vision - and eradicated the camp, feverish memories of Clooney, Kilmer and (cough..) O'Donnell.
The story is as good an origin story as you'll find - covering all the major (true-to-the-comic) events, and not wasting ages on them. We see Wayne's all-important training period (previously ignored), and his connection to the Tibetan shadow-ninja clan led by Ra's Al Ghul. We see Bruce come up with ideas for his symbol, his costume, his gadgets, his car, his cave - IT ALL FITS SO PERFECTLY.
That's not all - Liam Neeson is perfect (as ever, when Lucas isn't writing his lines), Batman's first mad nemesis (the Scarecrow) is genuinely frightening; with some outstandingly scary 'fear' effects.. Gary Oldman looks just like a young Commissioner Gordon (and doesn't dominate), Morgan Freeman and Rutger Hauer give solid heavyweight support to the boardroom machinations at Wayne Enterprizes. I love Michael Gough(?) but Michael Caine is great as Alfred. It's only Katie Holmes who didn't ring true for me - not because of her performance, but simply because she looks all of 15 years old (sorry Katie). I am always blown away by Christian Bale, and this is no exception.
The fights are great, the Bat-gadgets all there, the car is amazing, the plot is thorough and exciting, Gotham looks great, Batman really is frightening & menacing (and lethal!).. And the scenes with the bats themselves FINALLY get across the idea of how scary they can be.
There is some humour, but it's fairly dry. The soundtrack, like all the best original soundtracks, is excellent - you hardly know it's there, but the emotions of the scene are enhanced and boosted. For the most part this is a serious Batman film, with plenty for long-time fans. This NEW Batman is one I'd like to see again. Bravo Mr Nolan, bravo.
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