By Ameen Khan
Eight years after Batman took responsibility for Harvey Dent’s crimes against the city of Gotham, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is deteriorating physically and emotionally in his beautifully appointed mansion, waited upon by his faithful man Alfred (Michael Caine).
He has no purpose. The city is apparently crime free, his name is ruined and he lives in deep despair – shades of an earlier Batman. Alfred encourages him to find his happiness beyond his past, maybe get married and settle down, but it falls on deaf ears.
But the city is in trouble, mysterious evil forces are rising up and Batman must rise to the challenge. Leading the charge against freedom is Bane (Tom Hardy) – a great villain with the ability to impose himself physically and psychologically upon his opponents. Discover he was born and grew up in a notorious pit prison in South America. He wears a mask that desensitizes his face following several botched surgeries; he has iron will and he doesn’t care for human life. He is the most dangerous psycho there is.
If you think a steel cage fight between Bane and Batman would be interesting, you’re right. Theirs is a match made in cinematic heaven between two super powers, one young and driven by evil passion, the other an ageing, remote tarnished hero who wants to help once again.
Bale does a great job pulling together Batman’s established dark soul, will to preserve peace for the citizens and squash evil doers. Watch for him actually rising, it’s an incredible sequence. His inner darkness and sickness of the soul reduces him before his elegant comeback organically and profoundly.
Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman has fresh angles. She is involved in a very close friendship with Holly (Juno Temple) so her relationship with Batman, although complex, looks platonic. She is a Robin Hood, stealing from the wealthy to give to the poor and disenfranchised of Gotham City. She’s noble, sharp and somewhat jaded, and simmers with some unnamed issues. She is all about equality in social justice, wealth and the fight for freedom.