Hathaway’s Catwoman lifts ‘Dark Knight Rises’
|Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne) and Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle) star in “The Dark Knight Rises.”|
|Photo: Ron Phillips|
Much time has passed since the events of the second Batman movie, “The Dark Night.” We return to a Gotham City that has its crime problem dealt with, so much so that it’s said the cops will soon be on the lookout for people with overdue books. A lot of the bad guys have been locked away with no chance of parole, thanks to a new anticrime law named after the late prosecutor Harvey Dent. Dent has become a martyred figure, the public never learning how he had gone to the dark side.
Batman has been vilified for killing Dent, and rather than trying to clear his name, a hobbling Bruce Wayne has retired his Batman alter-ego. Wayne lives a solitary life, only interrupted with visits from his dedicated butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and a glamorous jewel thief, Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Hathaway’s character, who can’t be trusted by either side of the law, is what saves the movie from being an all-consuming glum-fest. While Catwoman is as morose as everyone else in the movie (her life’s no bowl of Friskies), the wisecracking, manipulating thief seems to be enjoying the ride a bit, especially the time she spends with Batman and Bruce Wayne.
Catwoman (who is never referred to by that name) is only a supporting villain. The big baddie is Bane (Tom Hardy), who is kind of a cross between a circus strongman and Darth Vader. He has a populist streak but he’s mostly just angry, crazy and vengeful, a combination he shares with the majority of Gotham’s Most Wanted.
And with Bane at the controls, throwing into turmoil the lives of the city’s rich and poor, the movie has an intensity level higher than last month’s Spidey-Reptile skirmish. A startling, disturbing scene in a football stadium shows us the depth of Bane’s evil (as well as revealing that, based on one of the ads on the scoreboard, there are Giant Eagle supermarkets in Gotham City).
To combat Bane, a believer in the redistribution of wealth and blowing up cities, Batman will need all the help he can get. He’ll get it, in varying degrees, from Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Commissioner Gordon (a sometimes mumbling Gary Oldman) and a young cop named Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Gordon-Levitt is a fine addition to the cast.
There is a long part fairly late in the movie where neither Batman nor Bruce Wayne is on screen. It tests the audience’s patience, but the final act rights the ship and brings the saga to a satisfying and exciting conclusion. Nolan and Bale are supposedly done with the character, but I wouldn’t expect the franchise to go into hibernation. Gotham’s security forces won’t be tracking down lazy library borrowers anytime soon.
The movie, currently in theaters, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.
3 Stars (out of four)
Craig Marks is a cartoonist and editorial, sports and entertainment writer for the West Side Leader.
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