Needless to say that though the story line was great and mimicked a Tale of Two cities, it was the characters that really made the film and so I wanted to start off with Joseph Gorden Levitt's character. While JGL is always the kid from 3rd rock from the sun, he certainly has showed how much he has grown as an actor. On many of his movies, I always felt that he was incapable of portraying himself anything else other than a teenager. However, that was not the case in this movie. I totally saw the Robin thing coming. Atleast, if not Robin, some sort of Protege for Batman. I mean, he was an orphan, much like many of Batmans sidekicks. He was a law enforcer, meaing he believed in Justice and had the courage to fight crime. Speaking of his courage... He showed more courage than most of the cops, besides Jim Gordon, in the movie. He had skill, he was not afraid and he spoke his mind without regard for the consequences. True qualities that Robin (Of any kind) had. He even had a little acrobatic skill, what with the swinging into the batcave at the end. Of course, there was also the fact that like pretty much all other Robins, he deduced the identity of Batman on his own. He had the perfect haircut. Yet, he was not an unrealistic child fighting alongside a super hero. He was a cop aiding the vigilante. To top it off, I like how he never put on a hero's costume, yet, Batman hinted that he should wear a mask. You see, its the fact that the guy didn't become a sidekick for mere idol worship of his hero that made me appreciate what he was. It was also the fact that he wasn't 9 years old fighting along side Batman. It was the fact that he was a cop, trying to do good, who established a relationship with Gordon and Batman and made a name for himself as a rookie cop that impressed me on his character. He was the sidekick throughout the movie, yet, he did not wear the yellow and green tights, but he had some of the back story for many of the Robins. The nod of his real name being Robin kind of provided closure to the Batman fans that the Nolan Trilogy did have Batman AND Robin even if not in the traditional sense that Robin was the boy wonder. It was done nicely. It was a great nod and to tell you the truth, it opens up a lot more for a spin off sequel. Maybe not as the character being Robin itself, but perhaps Nightwing, or even, following closely to how the comics had gone after the supposed death of Bruce Wayne, he can be the new Batman. Batman was just a symbol. The mask was to protect the people he loved and thats all JGL's character needs to do at this point. By quitting the police force and entering the batcave with Bruce Waynes blessing and encouragement, its shown that he will take up some mantle in the future and follow in his inspirational Hero's footsteps.
As far as Jim Gordon goes... I always love the way Gary Oldman plays the part. Jim Gordon is the ideal compassionate cop and commissioner you want to see in any law enforcement agent. I am glad he survived the trilogy as well as seeing pretty much all my favorites survive. The one thing I really liked about this movie was that finally, from any media of Batman in an official canon or universe, Jim Gordon finally found out Batmans secret identity. The even more beautiful thing is that it was done on Batmans own terms, with him being the one to tell him. To me, when the name Bruce Wayne clicked with Batman in Jim Gordons head was the best part of the entire movie. The movie could have just consisted of those 2 minutes of footage and I would have bought 35 tickets to see it. It was what should have been done a long time ago in any Batman media.
Miranda Tate was no surprise to me, mainly because of rumors that circled the internet for months. However, what sealed the deal before the twist at the end was a few things... One, Bruce Wayne slept with her. When that happened, I knew something was wrong. Since, when does Bruce Wayne get involved with women? He has no time or desire for that. I just knew it was too good to be true. Her scar was also a revealing factor, which you wouldn't even pick up on unless you went to rewatch the movie, but only after watching Batman Begins. Two, she had an accent. Three, Ras Al Ghul had a daughter in the comics, Talia. So I knew his child was not Bane. It had to be a woman. It certainly wasn't going to be Selina Kyle. There weren't many other choices in the movie for female leads and there was most certainly going to be a twist in the movie, you could just sense it. So to me, it really wasn't a surprise that Miranda Tate was Talia Al Ghul. As far as the character goes, she didn't stand out to me. She was brilliant, attractive... Yes. She was integral and very much needed to the plot. But really, to me, she was the least important or desired character. Her role in the film made lots of sense, dont get me wrong. And Cotillard did a great job in her performance. But she certainly was not the highlight of the film for me. It just goes to show how great the film really was.
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle was just absolutely amazing! As far as character performances and character interpretation goes... She was my second favorite after Bane in this movie. Hands down, she was the best Cat Woman in history. Better than Michelle Pfeifer and most certainly far better than Halle Berry. She was a cat woman, but not The cat woman in this movie and I like that. In fact, Cat Woman of any kind would not have fit in Nolan's trilogy at all. But this version held true to all versions of the character. She was a "cat" Burglar. Her real name was Selina Kyle. She had a thing for Batman and Bruce Wayne. Though a thief, her heart was in the right place and could always be counted on as a backup hero. She went as far as sacrificing her life for Gotham. She was sneaky, sexy, smart and innovative. She was fun. Though she didn't call herself Cat Woman, she certain played with the Cat Burglar thing nicely by wearing pieces to her outfit that at times made her look like a cat, which you can tell the character playfully did on purpose, even going so far as to dress like a cat at a Ball in which Bruce told her she was Brazen for. Anne Hathaway was amazing. I really hope she wins some award for her performance as she had the best acting from anyone in the film. She made her character so interesting and so lively that one would hope they made a spin off movie with her in it, at the very least fighting along side JGL's new hero, whomever that would be. Actually, the casting for Selina Kyle was just perfect. Just like noone could do the Joker better than Heath Ledger, Noone could do CatWoman better than Anne Hathaway. It was just that good.
Bruce Wayne/Batman's interpretation in this film was interesting. It wasn't bad, thats for sure. Actually, it was quite a nice character development. Batman's return in this film along with JGL possibly taking over the role, fit well with the title of the film: The Dark Knight RISES. It showed what Batman meant to Gotham, how he was needed and still will be needed. Now, he is also very appreciated in Gotham and throughout the world. It went to show that Batman stood for something more than what was behind the mask, allowing his character to live on in some way forever. The only thing I would have wished for though was that we would have seen MORE BATMAN and less Bruce Wayne. In fact, the film hardly focused on neither of the two really. It seems that Bruce/Batman's role of importance in the film came after the following characters in order: 1) JGL 2) Bane 3) Selina Kyle 4) Jim Gordon 5)Batman. But still, with how the story went, with how they development the core of Batman and Bruce Wayne, with how it all tied in with the other films and how it was all wrapped up made this the best of the three none the less. And though it lacked screen time for Batman, it still felt like a Batman movie through out the film because of the mood and setting and because of the characters. There is more to Batman than just Batman himself. He would be nothing if it weren't for those around him and this film showed us that. After all, the character fell into a Howard Hughes state of mind for eight years because he was missing the universe around him that made him integral. What I liked about his character too was that the film showed how fragile someone can become and how easily broken he can be no matter how strong or how smart he is. But it also showed us what was at the core of Bruce Wayne, which was that when the chips are down, when he was fallen, he learned to pick himself right back up.
I really do not have much to say about Alfred or Lucious Fox. They played their roles, and did their parts. They fulfilled what was needed and thats it. In fact, that was rightly done. They got the screen time that they deserved. No too much more, not too much less. They performance and the interpretation of their characters were on par with the previous two films. Although the break out character in this was Jonathan Crane. His appearance was truly golden and perfect. Cillian Murphy is Awesome and he showed it in this movie even though there were only two scenes with him in it.
Last but not least is Bane's character. Lets face it, even though Tom Hardy is a great actor, there was more physicality involved in the role that there was pure acting. This was no Heath Ledger playing the Joker. Thats not Tom Hardy's fault and not the writers fault. It just was what the character was. Again, that doesn't diminish the character or the actor in any way. However, I will dare say it that Bane's character has been far more interesting and cooler than any other character in this whole trilogy. Watching him on screen in this interpretation was more enjoyable than watching any other character in the Nolan Trilogy. The depth of his character was truly intriguing. His genius was unparalled. His presence was far more present than any character in this trilogy and possibly more present than any character in any film. He was a match for Batman both physically and mentally. He pushed Bruce Wayne to the limits. His lines were great. Tom Hardy was great. The villain stuck very close to its comic counter-part just in a more realistic and menacing way. In fact, this Bane was much more terrifying than a venom induced comic book version of Bane. When you are the last villain to appear in a trilogy, you need to make sure that he is the one that can be matched with the hero. He needs to be the best of them all and Bane was. I liked him far more than the Joker, and I loved loved loved the Joker in TDK. It just goes to show how great Bane was. His story and Origins were not exactly what it was in the comics, but it lived up to who Bane was. Thats hard to do in itself and Nolan accomplished that wonderfully. Nolan also turned a b-list villain of Batman into an A-list Villain, forever shaping the importance of who Bane is in the Batman Universe. By far, personally, this is the most intrigueing and menacing character in this trilogy and my personal favorite.