I remember when the Westfield shopping centre opened its doors to the public a few years ago, 2007 to be precise. I wasn't bothered about going. Why? Because I thought these big shopping centres were killing off local shops, boutiques and markets.
 
In the 1980s, Showcase Cinemas opened one of the UK's first multiplex cinemas in Derby and now operates nineteen multiplexes in the country. It launched Cinema de Lux as a chain of more luxurious cinemas in 2008. The first Cinema de Lux in the UK was opened in Derby on May 16, 2008 within the Westfield shopping centre in Derby, meaning that Showcase now owns two of the four cinemas in Derby.
 
I had previously frequented all of Derby's cinemas even being a junior member of the ABC Club and going to the Saturday Morning Picture Show watching Children Film Foundation shows there. Both cinemas have long since gone and are sadly missed. 
 
Then Cinema Deluxe opened up in the Westfield Complex in May 16th 2008 and still I wasn't interested.  Then I heard mention at the BBC station that the second film in the Batman franchise was coming to the Westfield Cinema Deluxe.
 
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had to be able to get in there to watch and review the film (stop calling me a hypocrite, don't you dare judge me!!!)
 
I contacted the head of PR who was based in the USA via email and was pleasantly surprised when she rang me back and said that the manager of the cinema would be contacting me to sort me out with admission to watch The Dark Knight and whenever I needed access to review a movie! My Birthday was now a weekly Friday event. 
 
So now you know why Batman and I are intrinsically linked. 
 
At the end of the previous Batman film called The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent the District Attorney turns bad due to the Joker, played by the legend that is Heath Ledger killing his girl. Harvey gets killed at the end of the film but in order to keep the legend that is Harvey as a beacon of Hope, law and Order, Batman says that he will take the blame for the death of Harvey and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) reluctantly agrees to this plan that will ultimately make Batman a "persona Non Grata".
 
Batman explains to Commissioner Gordon that "people get the hero they deserve", runs from the Law enforcement officers who suddenly arrive on the scene and for the next 8years is officially retired.
 
Now to the present day....
 
Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is now 8 years older but appears with his Howard Hughes beard and cane however without the extended nails and looks a bit mentally battered living in his soulless Manor.
 
We discover that Bruce's knees lack cartilage and technically he's let his body and more importantly mind resemble the Manor in which he is now a prisoner, his freedom was his mask and outfit.
 
The opening scenes in the film reminded me of James Bond or Mission Impossible where they have the hero doing stuff that gets you out of your seats then they role the credits. Apparently the legend that is now Christopher Nolan (Director) made this scene without CGI (which I find hard to believe but do believe) and those who've seen it will know how impressive this scene is, however if you haven't seen it, when you eventually do, and you will, it will get you sitting up in your seat!
 
What is the plot to the film?  I have already told you about the physical and mental state of Bruce Wayne the Anti Hero of this film; however who is he up against?
 
Well the City of Gotham (which is a comic representation of the real American city called Philadelphia, a place that developed a black musical style called the "Philly sound" that at one point in time rivalled Detroit's Motortown aka "Motown" sound but I’m digressing).
 
Gotham has turned its back against its number one son (which has gotta hurt hence the broken Bruce).
 
Then there's Anne Hatherway who plays Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman who is also an anti heroine in that she's a thief for hire but even though she appears not to care about anyone bar herself, however when the right trigger is pushed, LOVE prevails.
 
Then we have the main Nemesis for the man bat, Bane who has a mask which is a type of breathing apparatus that makes him sound like and if he had a black cloak would look like Darth Vader (am I right or am I right!) 
 
Like all super-baddies their aim is to take over the world however the difference with this baddy is that he wants to do it via what appears to be revolution (i.e., the support of the people).
 
In the film you see two images of Bane. The first is one where he is wearing an army jacket (Strategist) where he isn't seen by the masses. Then when he’s first revealed to the masses he swaps his Army fatigues for a Sheep skin coat giving the impression to me of a type of Shepherd carrying a sheep on his back but his true motives are revealed when he has to physically fight in public for the first time, he shows his true colours by removing his false coat thus revealing a body hardened and tempered by battles.
 
I remember seeing Batman Begins which was the first in the trilogy produced by Christopher Nolan and that was a game changer. The Dark Knight was famous for the Joker that was dark and scary. The critics said that it could not be improved on which is what was agreed when people saw The Godfather 2 which by popular consensus had superseded 1, however Godfather 3 never rose to the dizzying heights set by 1 and 2 (yes 3 was a great film but not as great as 2, discuss).
 
However, The Dark Knight Rises has everything but uses the adage "less is more” i.e. less CGI, Special FX and very interestingly/surprisingly less on screen moments featuring Batman which really did work.
 
I have to be honest and say that I didn't find this film particularly over long and thoroughly enjoyed this final outing of Batman featuring Christian Bale in the title role and Christopher Nolan as the Director.
 
Finally the finale was fitting and made me struggle to hold back the tears but also made me smile satisfactorily when the credits rolled....

Article by @gmanzen / 23rd July 2012

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REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises