Eight years after Harvey Dent's death, Batman is a villain for the residents of Gotham City while Harvey Dent is a celebrated hero. Bruce Wayne(Christian Bale
) is in a self-imposed exile mourning Rachel's death, wandering the inner sanctums of Wayne Manor with the help of a walking stick. Commissioner Gordon(Gary Oldman
) torn by the lie he is living out and the truth about Batman. Alfred(Michael Caine
) and Fox(Morgan Freeman) is unhappy with the way Wayne is treating himself. To add to all this, Wayne Enterprises have been losing money. As you can see, when Christopher Nolan
opens up the concluding part of the trilogy, Gotham City is safer than it was in the recent years but our favorite characters are all in despair. But the status quo isn't permanent because of four people; Bane(Tom Hardy
), an excommunicated member of League of Shadows, Selina Kyle(Anne Hathaway
) the cat burglar who has no permanent allegiance to anyone, Miranda Tate(Marion Cotillard
) an investor on quest for clean energy for the world and John Blake(Joseph Gordon-Levitt
) a cop who believes in Batman.
Unfortunately, the third installment in the trilogy pales in comparison with the second part but is similar in many ways to the first part. Like the first part, Bruce learns the necessary skills for being the caped crusader. The interesting part of the movie should have been how Bruce learns all the skills second time around in order to defeat the villain Bane. As this process happens over a period of 5 months while Bruce is held captive and his city in a state of siege, the joy of viewing is watered down to boredom. Moreover, Bane is all brawn and no brains which translates to Batman learning to endure the ordeal instead of matching the villain with intelligence. For a concluding part, there are homages and re-appearance of characters from previous versions namely Ra's Al Gul(Liam Neeson) and Jonathan Crane(Cillian Murphy). However, this writing is not so interesting to create drama. Thankfully, Joker does not appear on screen anywhere in the movie. Any tampering with that character would have been equivalent to sacrilege. Ironically, this movie lacks a strong villain like Joker.
With a bigger canvas and a larger cast, Christopher Nolan succeeds only at two points in the movie - The entry of Batman although painfully late and the ending of the movie. For the entry of Batman in full gear, Nolan chooses a chase sequence in a busy freeway. Cops are chasing Bane and gang in their getaway motorcycles which carries hostages strapped to it. Suddenly, the lights goes off. The light comes back. We hear the sound of the Badpod. The hostage is freed. The villain crashes the bike. You see Batman riding the Batpod with the camera following behind him. The cape is dancing in the air. The music climbs up. This entire scene is visually beautiful and exciting while it connects the franchise lovers immediately to the scenes of the second part. The ending is Nolan-esque. He makes the viewers wonder if it is an end or a new beginning. As a bonus, he throws in a neat surprise just during the climactic fight. After the grand entry of Batman, nothing much happening. Even the fight sequences between Bane and Batman are uninspired. While the previous movies used fast cuts to force the viewer to think quick and fast action, this time around Nolan uses traditional techniques. This makes Batman's action sequences seem clumsy.
Performance wise, there are only two people who makes their presence felt despite the weak script. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle not only looks good in the catsuit but also shows the conflicted emotions very well. She has dual personality; selfish and caring. Anne is a pleasure to watch both during action scene and also during emoting. And yes, she can ride the Bikepod! Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox continues to give an endearing performance. He is the only one who can tease Bruce. Watch out for the glee in his eyes and the dialogue delivery during his meeting with Bruce where he invites the latter to check out the R&D part of the building. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake acts well. but fails to make a definite impact. He is the person with no conflicts and also represents hope. It is sad that this character fails to invoke empathy.
Strictly for Batman fans.