Warning: major "Dark Knight Rises" spoilers lie ahead.
"The Dark Knight Rises" is a wonderful film filled with wonderful characters. But it is by no means perfect, and that extends to the roster of men and women filling out Gotham City for Christopher Nolan's trilogy-ender. Some rise, some fall, some stay exactly where they were when they first began. And while I wouldn't go so far as to call any of these characters outright clunkers, there's no denying that some of these folks never meet their fullest potential.
Without further ado, here's my list of the main "Dark Knight Rises" characters in ascending order of awesomeness.
8. Lucius Fox
He's played by Morgan Freeman and he gives Bruce the Bat. He... doesn't do much else. Even his role in the climax of the film is ultimately pointless; he's waiting for a delivery that never arrives. Lucius would have better served the film in death, his body left hanging on a Gotham bridge for the world and Bruce to see. For all of its heights, "Rises" falls when it comes to stakes. The death of Lucius, like [SPOILER] in "Avengers," would have gone a long way towards fixing that problem.
7. Talia al Ghul
Rewatching "Rises" knowing who Miranda Tate really is is a lot of fun. Marion Cotillard is positively devious in the role, even if she only gets to show her true colors for a few minutes. And therein lies the problem. You only have minutes to spend with Talia. It's a shame that the twist comes at the eleventh hour; had her true colors emerged moments after Bane broke Batman's back, I think both the character and the overall film would have been improved tremendously. It doesn't help her cause that she dies like a total goon. Talia breaks out of the world's most formidable prison as a little kid, only to die in a car wreck, without a single Batman punch-out? Lame.
6. Alfred Pennyworth
Another victim of screen time, or lack thereof, Michael Caine's Alfred ultimately has little to do in "Rises." He does pave the way for a great last-minute twist, and his confession of the Rachel Dawes letter is positively heartbreaking. But Alfred's complete disappearance from just before the second act all the way to the conclusion prevents him from ranking any higher, especially when there are so many other excellent leads to consider.
Like Mr. Horowitz, I'm eating my words regarding Tom Hardy's Bane. The "Inception" actor is phenomenal as the towering back-breaker, doing wonders with his eyes, with his physicality and, yes, with his voice. He's the physical threat Batman needed, and he delivers fully. My problems with Bane lie solely in story. His role is diminished greatly by the Talia twist. He's rendered a henchman, no longer the mastermind he appeared to be. And, like Talia, he goes out like a chump. A great villain in the "Dark Knight" trilogy, but a good few paces away from being the best.
4. Commissioner Gordon
As early as "Batman Begins," the casting of Gary Oldman as Gordon was an immediate sign that Nolan's Gotham would be a city well worth visiting. Oldman has consistently delivered the goods throughout this trilogy and it's no different in part three. The Harvey Dent cover-up weighs heavily on Gordon, turning one of Gotham's finest into one of its saddest souls. Though Gordon hits his lowest of lows in this film, Oldman's performance peaks in "Rises."
3. John Blake
The overt "Robin" reveal is no less clumsy than Charlize Theron's giggle-inducing delivery of "father" in "Prometheus," but that doesn't make the fan-service any less wonderful. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the best live-action Robin to date not that he had much competition to begin with. Kudos to Nolan for figuring out his Robin riddle, for finding a way to fit this iconic Batman character into his very specific Batman universe. It's a perfect combination of writing and acting that makes Robin John Blake not just one of the best characters in "Rises," but one of the best in the entire "Dark Knight" trilogy.
2. Bruce Wayne / Batman
Three rattled cages and meme-worthy growl voices later, Christian Bale has solidified his standing as the best live-action Batman to date with "The Dark Knight Rises." Physically, mentally and emotionally, the Caped Crusader of "Rises" is as weak as he's ever been until the end, that is. Some have taken issue with the idea of a Batman who's given up. But do you really need to be reminded about why we fall? Nolan and Bale picked up our hero at his lowest point ever, and hoisted him to brand new heights. The fire rises, indeed.
1. Selina Kyle
To quote an old friend: "Well hello, beautiful!" Anne Hathaway's Selina was at the heart of "Dark Knight" doubt from her initial casting to first looks at her costume and beyond. But she shut her detractors right up with her performance in "Rises," pretty much from the starting line. She's smart, she's confident, she's sexy, she's everything you could possibly want out of Selina Kyle. Hathaway will go down as one of the very best takes, if not the best take, on the feline fatale. (Pfieffer fans, direct your vitriol this way.) Make no mistake, Selina completely steals the show right out from under Bruce an appropriate feat for the heist-happy thief.
Rank the "Dark Knight Rises" characters for yourself in the comments section below!