It is difficult to live up to the hype. And the hype and expectations are even bigger when it’s Christopher Nolan and his conclusion to the Batman trilogy. After years of waiting and months of buildup, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (TDKR) finally rises. Eight years after the events of ‘The Dark Knight’ Batman is nowhere to be found. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has hung up his cape. It takes the catastrophic threat posed by a mysterious mercenary named Bane (Tom Hardy) with a weird breathing apparatus to draw Wayne out of his self-imposed exile. Everything is at stake and Batman depends upon the aid of Commissioner Gordon, a hotheaded rookie cop (Joseph Gordon Lewitt) and (just maybe) a cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). In this third and last installment of his trilogy, Nolan goes steps further from where he left The Dark Knight.
I read somewhere a piece which described TDKR as a superhero film without a superhero. I don’t agree. Being a superhero doesn’t mean he should have extraordinary powers. Nolan’s Batman has a power of understanding and feeling of human emotions and pain. And he shows that in TDKR when he rises to the occasion proving what Superheroes are made of.
I have been a Batman fan since my childhood. But I had never imagined him to be the way Nolan showed it to us. TDKR is a true cinematic experience to behold. The movie exceeded my expectations in terms of action and entertainment. At times, the bigger the movie, the expectations grow even bigger with a few loose ends here and there. But here the colossal size of the film is a spectacle to behold and surprisingly you don’t get lost with all the explosions and extravagant action scenes. Nolan has made an intellectually challenging final film, where he sets out to reconcile the issues raised in the first two. It brings Wayne’s story to a suitably epic conclusion.
Remember the roof walking scene in Inception? Nolan takes that gravity defying scene to another level and introduces Bane which induces a sense of horror and shows Gotham’s real reckoning. Bane is no Joker. However, he is no less. Joker was a psychopath killer. Bane is a mastermind. Bane might lack the Joker’s iconic quality, but Hardy still commands attention in the film groaning with attention-commanders and the Vader-ish wheeze in his voice. He is intelligent and horrifying. I think this is Tom Hardy’s best role so far. Imposing yourself on others when your face is covered with a half-mask containing a voice box and an analgesic device that eases your constant pain and with just your eyes and voice to do all the acting is difficult. Bane is our Shakespearean villain. He emotes through his voice, eyes and action. And delivers a performance worth remembering coupled with a physical dominance strong enough to send shivers down your spine.
Anne Hathaway aka Catwoman is the best thing in movie. She is Catwoman, but unlike any of the Catwomen we’ve seen before. This Catwoman is as close as it could get to the comic book. Nolan also does an impressive job of weaving Catwoman’s story in the battle between Batman and Bane. The relationship between Catwoman/Selena Kyle and Batman/Bruce Wayne is by far the best and after the end you will agree with me if I say that this Catwoman deserves her own movie.
Christian Bale is more efficient and human than ever. Bale remains a strong moral presence and shows than superheroes can also fall. But they rise when required. Caine’s Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon are at their usual best. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is excellent as an honest young cop and I guess he’d be a significant figure were the franchise to be renewed (bringing back a lost character which Bale doesn’t like). Marion Cotillard (a rich philanthropist) provides the twists and turns in the film, but she needed a strong presence which she lacked when pitted amongst the biggies.
All of Nolan’s movies have deep psychological themes and this takes those in another new direction. As in Inception he showed the level of abstraction and depth. An equal amount of the same is present in this film too. Batman Begins shows how hard Bruce Wayne had to work to become Batman. In The Dark Knight, Batman says he has more of a right to be a vigilante than a couple of regular guys because, “I’m not wearing hockey pads!” Now in The Dark Knight Rises, crime fighting is for everybody. Nolan wants to take the symbol of Batman as someone trying to strike fear into the hearts of criminals and change it into a symbol of hope. The Dark Knight Rises wants us to love the idea of Batman—fighting crime for the good of the city—and forget the specifics of Batman.
Nolan kept me hooked to the movie. Not a single boring moment in my opinion and coupled with Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack, it takes the movie to another level all together. I think the music score brings enough excitement in the film and the chant haunts you. And the movie gets better gadgets too this time. Catwoman gets to ride the Bat-pod whereas Batman goes a notch higher with The Bat which looks like a converted Tumbler which can fly.
Every great story DEMANDS a great ending. And Nolan gives you that. Nolan brings back some old faces too in the film to keep the excitement levels up. Dedicated fans of the comic books are unlikely to feel surprised by many story twists here, but that is no surprise in itself ,given the DC icon’s extensive history. Nolan’s heart is focused on Bruce Wayne which shows by the end where Nolan doesn’t send Batman in the dark. He leaves enough scope for anyone who wants to take the series forward. Nolan’s conclusion of Batman is a grand spectacle. Might be long but then it requires that time to bond everything together without missing anything. Can Nolan take a U-Turn and re-vamp the DC Comics sphere? I wish so. Because if Avengers was about superheroes than TDKR is about the Superhero of Superheroes. Mr. Nolan take a bow
Rating- You can’t rate Nolan for this.