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The Dark Knight Rises (Official Novelization)

Titan £7.99
Author Greg Cox
Review by David Stonehouse

The Dark Knight Rises has proved to be a massive hit with fans and critics alike. Chris Nolan’s final instalment of his Batman trilogy had a lot of expectation to live up to and, fortunately it didn’t disappoint. A lot of fans will certainly want to revisit this fantastic adventure again. These days there isn’t a massive wait between the cinema release and the chance to buy your own copy to watch at home but if you really can’t wait until the DVD/BluRay release at Christmas there is always the official tie-in novelization to feed your addiction.

For anyone who doesn’t know the plot (and let’s face it – you aren’t likely to be buying this unless you’ve already seen and enjoyed the film) The Dark Knight Rises is set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. The Joker is long dead and Batman has disappeared, taking the blame for the ‘murder’ of Harvey Dent. The crimes of Twoface have been concealed and Dent has become the figurehead of a new age of law and order. The city is at peace and crime is under control but it is a peace built around a lie. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, hiding away in Wayne manor and struggling with injuries he sustained fighting the Joker. The cops have become lazy and complacent and no one in Gotham is prepared for the arrival of the terrifying masked terrorist Bane who plots and prepares in the tunnels before bringing the city to its knees. The only person who might be able to stop him is Batman but it may be too late for the battered and broken Dark Knight to rise again.

Greg Cox’s novel sticks rigidly to the screenplay delivering every scene from the film in a taut and pacy style. This is a big complex film and the faithful adaptation clocks in at a satisfyingly chunky 400 pages. It’s a tense and enjoyable read but doesn’t allow for any additional depth or detail. Bane, Catwoman and Bruce Wayne are fascinating characters and you would expect a novel to be able to offer a little more depth and insight but this never really happens, which is a shame.

What the novel does do particularly well is clarify the film’s very dense and complex plot. There are subtleties in the Nolan brothers’ script which may not be obvious without repeat watchings of the film but that are clear and logical in the more leisurely pace of the book. This is an intricate and very skilfully plotted story with none of the cop-outs or short-cuts that often mar big action movies. The connections to the previous films are also made more explicit here.

As tie-in novels go this is a good example. It retells the movie accurately and recreates the action well but without offering anything additional to make it truly indispensible. Nevertheless, it’s a good story well told and, packaged in the iconic burning skyline bat logo artwork, will make a nice souvenir for any Dark Knight fan.