Let’s look at the challenges that the makers of The Dark Knight Rises faced. How do you possibly follow up to greatest superhero movie ever made in the history of cinema? How do you dispel the curse of trilogies? How do you possibly live up to the expectations of millions and THE MILLIONS of fans who wants something even better than what you have offered earlier? Christopher Nolan takes all of this in his strides and wraps it around an atom bomb and thumps the trigger.
The Dark Knight released four years ago and in the meantime the fandom of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy has increased exponentially. Nolan’s lavish imaginations and passion for real emotions had taken his past two Batman installments to a level that no superhero movie had ever hoped to reach. The Dark Knight Rises is a movie making miracle and a proof that Christopher Nolan is truly emerging as the Superhero of a greedy movie industry. Not only did he refused to shoot the movie in 3D just for the sake of it but shot half the run time of the movie in groundbreaking IMAX. There are plenty of big action scenes and excellent character moments, and it makes for a sprawling epic in every possible way, the darkest, most complex segment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
If Batman Begins was a surprisingly gritty, no BS superhero beginning then The Dark Knight was a sequel of Godfatheresque level. The Dark Knight Rises is more ambitious and darker than the last two. It breaks the curse of trilogy brick by brick and is bombastic and behemoth in scale.
The first two movies were path breaking in their own rights, but it was quite clear that Nolan was saving all thrills and spills and surprises for the last stand. The Dark Knight Rises just raises the bar to stratospheric levels with gritty physical actions sprinkled with a good amount of CGI. If the The Dark Knight has an overturning truck, this one had a huge flying Bat-mobile. The effects were so realistic, it was difficult to differentiate between real and CGI and woven with Wally Pfister’s cinematography, the visuals were exhilarating. The false notion of Christopher Nolan not being a good action director were smashed with the brightly lit brawls of Batman and Bane and the brilliantly done chase sequences. The BIG prologue involving Bane can only be truly experienced on big screens, especially IMAX screens (next week again on
It is in your best interest that you keep away from the story details before watching the film – know that the plot takes eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, and Bruce Wayne (Bale) has turned into a recluse, as the villainous Bane (Tom Hardy) not-so-silently plots an apocalypse.
The recurring cast includes Gary Oldman who gives a more poignant touch to Commissioner Gordon. Bale as the tormented superhero is excellent and his frustrations and pain of losing everyone he loved, followed by his RISE is felt by us. Michael Caine’s Alfred, frequently on the verge of tears as he talks tough Cockney love to Bruce, imparts a depth of poignancy nearly shocking to viewers; they forget they’re in an action picture and recalibrate their sensibilities to accommodate Caine’s rich, naked portrayal. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is not as sexy as she is endearing but Joseph Gordon Levitt as the city cop (later a detective) is brilliant. Bane may not be the Joker but Thomas Hardy emotes as much as he can with mask on and in one of the scenes reduces Batman to a pulp. The only problems with Bane were his lines and were not completely audible. In a theatre with bad speakers, they can be incomprehensible. Even with bad speakers, Hans Zimmer’s background score will seem brilliant.
With a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes the The Dark Knight Rises is a bit bloated in the middle section. In making the biggest Superhero experience, there will be a few rough edges and the editor of the movie, Lee Smith, could have done a tad better job. The movie shift from a cave under Jodhpur and fast forward three months without consistency, and certain story threads disappears without an explanation, creating some unnecessary characters and plot-holes. These little things are a bit jarring but never catastrophic as The Dark Knight Rises is a truly immersive experience. Over the next couple of days we might hear complaints like Bane was not as villainous as Joker, but let’s be realistic, no one can outperform Heath Ledger as Joker. The few flaws never really weighed down the movie as for the slightly choppy middle section, the hour long climax more than made up for it. It’s just not the noise and fury of the climax that impressed but the narrative coherence, and the EPIC ending that dropped my jaw till the first row.
Even with enormous set pieces, monstrous scope and brilliant SFX, The Dark Knight Rises has something more. Nolan never lost touch with the human emotions and enormous expectations that his audiences had. It was brilliantly entertaining, a victory for mad passion and vision and a sly pay-off that gives you Goosebumps and you come out of the theatre, grinning ear-to-ear.