There are very few events that are so highly anticipated as this week’s release of The Dark Knight Rises(2012), third installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. I do not doubt that Christopher Nolan is one of the Best Directors working right now. Even though he has directed only 7 feature length movies until now, he has cemented his position with every single movie. Considering the fact that every movie he has made recently has been as highly anticipated as this one is quite a feat for any director. It also helps that this is final episode of Batman Trilogy, which at least I do not have any qualms in calling the Best Superhero Series made ever. Considering the legendary status of first two movies which are quite often credited for being game-changer for superhero movies, with all the expectations and anticipations this movie had quite a mountain to climb and I am happy to say that Christopher Nolan delivers it yet again. It is very rare on this blog that I review new releases, mainly because I am usually late to the party. But, if I don't write about the most anticipated movie of the year, I really don't see what else can I do around here ?
Picking up 8 years after the events in The Dark Knight(2008) where Harvey Dent is still Gotham’s Messiah and Batman is a criminal wanted for his murder and hence is still in hiding, Gotham has been blessed with years of tranquility due to ‘Dent Law’. Envisioned by the man himself, this law has been criminals’ nightmare, successfully bringing the crime rate down and making the streets of Gotham safe for everyone. Bruce Wayne has taken off his mask as city no longer needs Batman and hence has been in kind of recluse in his own mansion with only Alfred to accompany him. One day, one clever and also beautiful thief by the name of Selina Kyle breaks into his sanctuary to steal his mother’s pearl necklace which also has his prints on it. After a long time, this small event gets better of his curiosity and he soon realizes that she is linked to a mercenary named Bane who has just arrived in Gotham. When his trusted friend and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon gets a taste of Bane’s wrath, Bruce Wayne soon realizes that it might be the time where he will have to come out of his retirement and put back his cape on. Despite Alfred warning him for not being ready to face him, when Batman finally confronts Bane, Bane comes on top of that encounter and even breaks Batman’s back. Badly beaten and almost physically unable to move, Bane puts him in a prison where it is almost impossible to escape from. Back in Gotham, with no one to stop him, Bane completely isolates Gotham from rest of the World and takes control of it. Bruce Wayne not only faces a humiliating defeat from the hands of terrorist but has to see the city, he is been trying to protect from dangers exactly like Bane, in complete anarchy. However, this is exactly where this Dark Knight has to rise from ashes to bring back what was rightfully his.
For some reason, every Nolan movie is and probably will always be remembered as Christopher Nolan movie rather than actors in it. It is rather a compliment to the brilliance of that man as I am yet to see a movie he directed with a bad acting performance. There are bunch of series regulars that we see here again but actual scene stealers are the additions to this already stellar bunch. Christian Bale is his usual self but with little bit more resolve and grit because of all his falling and rising. Tom Hardy, though quite limited because of his mask and rather incomprehensible voice, does great job with his eyes and his body language. I will not forget those eyes and his response in the very end of the movie when Batman damages his mask. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does good job as well as the cop who always believed in Batman. I did not expect Marion Cotillard to have as much screen time as she has but she not only looks pretty but also does pretty good job. Michael Caine brings much needed emotional depth to this movie. Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman, two returning veterans are as effortless as ever. However, by far the real highlight of this extremely talented cast was, you have no idea how happy this makes me to say, Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle. Selina Kyle is a woman with integrity and morales, even though she keeps on denying it in favor of being a tough, mysterious woman. Batman sees through this mask she has pulled over for her survival and reaches to that person who knows the difference between right and wrong. Ever since this decision of casting Hathaway was announced, I heard a lot about how miscast she is and even though I am not like smitten by her or something but ever since then I wanted her to prove them wrong. Well, she did some serious ass-whooping here.
To Tell you the truth, Christopher Nolan movies have a long history of being too convoluted for me to understand fully in very first viewing. I did not understand The Prestige(2006) after first viewing, The Dark Knight(2008) pretty much left me exhausted after and Inception(2010), well, a little too high. But I have loved very single one of them. This one is no different. I am quite sure that I will pick up few small threads here and there on 2nd and 3rd viewing, but still this is as epic as it gets. It is dark, it is grand, huge and it is every single thing I expected it will be. Wally Pfiser's cinematography and Hans Zimmer's score are two important factors in making it big, though I did feel like score was tad overused. Bane, though not as crazy as Joker was, his complete chaos of the city had much more purpose to it and I believe that can be just as terrifying. As a matter of fact, the threat Bane possesses is much more palpable to make us realize that all it takes is a little tumble of the cliff for even the most sophisticated of our societies to fall into the pit of anarchy. Fighting against your own fears, Rising from a fall to be a better man can be called as some of the basic philosophies that played instrumental part in Batman's foundation and he returns to his basics yet again in this final battle. Christopher Nolan brings a plethora of characters from Bat-world in this and deserves a real credit for making a brilliant use of all these characters to develop this gritty tale. Being the last installment in trilogy, it was probably needed for him to bring it all together but it doesn't feel like he keeps on throwing characters with no real purpose. Before going in, I heard a lot of people talking about first half being quite slow and lot of characters being introduced. I did not have any such problem, I actually thought it used it's time really well. Off course, because of Indian movies I am quite used to longer movies but I checked my watch only once during the whole 165 minutes.
Even though I think The Dark Knight Rises is an almost perfect ending to this trilogy, I won't go as far as calling it a flawless movie. I wouldn't even call it the best of the trilogy. Personally, I still haven't connected the dots properly and it feels little haphazard to me which - history is my witness - Nolan movies are anything but. It will probably make much more sense to me on subsequent watches, which I know there will be many, and then I will also be able to put it more into perspective. I also could not connect with Bane's political aspirations or the reasons why he did what he did. In case of Joker, it was chaos for the sake of chaos. Bane seems to have a little more motivation or thought process behind it. But at this point I am not exactly sure what it was? and it is very well possible that it's there in the movie but I missed it because of Bane's voice. Also, final twist does belittle his larger than life tale thus far. But TDKR does one thing that so many other concluding chapters fail to do, it brings the whole trilogy to full circle and therein lies its biggest success.Christopher Nolan really DOES know how to make blockbusters !!
Rating(out of 5):