After the events leading up to the death of Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne is a recluse, having retired his alter ego of Batman. When Gotham is threatened by an evil new super villain called Bane, Bruce is forced out of retirement and dons his cape once again but having health problems takes its toll on his body. As a much stronger man, Bane seems to be too powerful for Bruce to beat and he becomes imprisoned by Bane in a far off land; escape is almost impossible. With Gotham now under Bane’s control and an atomic bomb due to explode, Bruce must gather all his strength to escape, return to defeat his nemesis, and save his city from annihilation.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Director: Christopher Nolan
Running Length: 165 mins
Starring: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy
Genre: Comic Book, Action, Thriller, Crime
As the third instalment of Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ brings the epic Batman story to a neat conclusion. Clearly having a definite design for where the story was going from the very beginning, Nolan has tied up all the loose ends and created a contained story but has also left some parts open for future movies to be made in the same vein. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ doesn’t really bring anything new to the franchise that wasn’t included in the previous instalment, ‘The Dark Knight’, it is simply a great quality movie which can be enjoyed as part of the trilogy or as a stand-alone film.
The main criticism with this movie is the character of Bane, he is a terrifyingly, powerful criminal with a meticulously planned agenda. The mask he wears makes him physically intimidating but the voice that comes from it makes him slightly comical for all the wrong reasons. It can also make his dialogue a little difficult to hear at times. However, in an unusual turn of events, one of the good things with this movie is that it succeeds in making Batman himself an interesting character. The Batman stories are often only good when the villains are good because Bruce Wayne, as a millionaire playboy, can be a difficult character for people to relate to or care about. However, by bringing him down to earth and making him come back from his lowest possible point makes him much more believable.
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is an excellent finale to the series which is bound to be enjoyed by Batman fans as well as anyone who enjoys a good action film. As with the previous two installments in director Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman’ trilogy, the tone has been set making the city of Gotham a very believable, and adult, world. The film does not attempt to make itself ‘child-friendly’, although it doesn’t actively seek to make itself totally inaccessable to children either. Read our more detailed comments below to help you decide if this film will be apprioate for your children.
IS ‘THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The opening scene is set on a small plane where CIA agents hold several criminals who have hoods over their heads. The agents open the plane door while it is in flight and push two of the men dangerously close to the edge, telling them that they want information. The lead agent then shoots his gun out of the door to threaten them even more. It is soon revealed that Bane is on the plane and his people attack via a larger plane above them. The lead agent asks Bane what his plan is; Bane replies ‘crashing this plane with no survivors’.
A doctor is also on board and Bane grabs him and puts a needle which is connected to a thin tube into his arm, blood can then be seen in the tube. When Bane leaves the smaller plane, he tells one of his men to stay behind, which this man is happy to do. The plane then crashes to the ground and it is clear that everyone left on board has been killed.
Bane as a villain uses very strong, brutal violence against his victims. He hits a woman hard in the face with a motorcycle helmet and hits another man’s head against a desk which knocks him unconscious. He crushes a man’s throat with his hand, the man gags for a couple of seconds before dropping to the floor; he also forcibly breaks another character’s neck.
One character confronts Bane and yells at him, Bane then grabs the man’s face and, although the camera cuts away, a cracking sound can be heard. The camera then focuses on the face of a different character who winces as the man’s muffled screams can be heard in the background for several seconds. The dialogue in a later scene explains that this character’s body has been found in a dumpster.
There is also a scene where two characters become intimate. They kiss passionately before the camera cuts away. They then lay together next to a fire, wrapped in blankets but are naked underneath and continue to kiss. Nothing explicit is shown but it is clear that they are sleeping together.
Bane orders several people to be hanged and their bodies to be displayed ‘where the world can see’. A news report then shows these people hanging from one of Gotham’s bridges. Although this is shown from a distance and nothing too strong is seen, it is still clear what has happened.
Under Bane’s rule, a make-shift court is set up by Gotham’s criminals where people are brought to face the criminals’ version of justice. The sentences are ‘exile or death’. When exile is chosen, the people are sent out to walk across frozen water where they inevitably fall in and are killed.
The ‘exile’ method is chosen twice in the film. The first time this is shown the characters in question are being forced to walk across the ice despite knowing the danger they are in. There are several close-up shots of these character’s faces, which shows that they are all afraid of what is about to happen, although they are powerless to stop it. Whilst none of these are established characters that a child may care about due to plotting, any children who are sensitive to a hopeless situation and fear of impending death may not like this scene, although it is over in around 1-2 minutes
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ as the third and final ‘Dark Knight’ movie is a well paced and well thought out action movie. Like many Nolan films, some of the characters fail to create any emotional attachment in the viewer but the high level of action and quality of the acting makes this only a minor complaint. This movie is very much aimed at a mature audience and it is likely to be too scary for younger children. We feel that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ should be appropriate for kids aged 10 and over but we advise caution for children who are sensitive to violence.
- Violence: 4/5 (Bane is very strong and rarely uses any weapons to fight or kill, preferring to use his bare hands which makes many of his scenes quite disturbing)
- Emotional Distress: 3/5 (there are two emotionally charged scenes involving Alfred. One towards the beginning of the movie and another at the end)
- Fear Factor: 4/5 (Bane’s physical presence is intimidating and threatening, especially with the metallic mask that he wears on his face. Everyone is afraid of him, even his own men)
- Sexual Content: 2/5 (Selina Kyle (known as Catwoman) often wears very tight clothes. One shot shows her leaning over a bike and her behind is shown in close-up)
- Bad Language: 2/5 (infrequent cursing and blasphemy)
- Dialogue: 2/5 (Bane’s dialogue can be very threatening)
- Other notes: Deals with themes of returning to the responsibility of a difficult, public life after years of solitude, understanding and accepting your own weaknesses, betrayal, belief in yourself and sacrifice for the greater good.
Words by Laura Record