Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Dir.: Christopher Nolan; Cast: C. Bale, M. Caine, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, G. Oldman, M. Freeman, Tom Hardy et al.)

Note: These being early days in the life of the film, this review attempts to steer clear of the plot and possible spoilers.

With The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan took on a Herculean challenge, by seeking to make a trilogy of what were a couple of magnificent films. The third film can easily be a Waterloo, The Godfather comes immediately to mind. Part of the reason being the bar being set very high by the predecessor(s).

Having said that, Nolan does brilliantly, ending the saga with an epic finale, a mesmerizing crescendo – the only issue being: it pales in terms of sheer drama vis-a-vis The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises has its moments, but falls short of being a masterclass, a legend.

If The Dark Knight was haunting, The Dark Knight Rises is menacing. If The Dark Knight was a tale of cat-and-mouse game of wits, The Dark Knight Rises is gladiatorial in terms of contest

If The Dark Knight was haunting, The Dark Knight Rises is menacing. If The Dark Knight was a tale of cat-and-mouse game of wits, The Dark Knight Rises is gladiatorial in terms of contest. If The Dark Knight was about brains and nerves, The Dark Knight Rises deals in brawn and the heart. If Joker was an “unplanned” enigma of horror, Bane is a bulging force of terror.

The screenplay by the Nolan brothers leads to a number of magical moments – some humorous and some others poignant. Ironically, it is the screenplay which leaves one with a sense of unfulfillment in some phases. Hans Zimmer’s music is brilliant and he does superbly to accentuate the physical mood of the piece. Like in The Dark Knight, the music lends the on-screen action an extra boost and adds to the experience. However, the storyline and construction disappoints. Given the role of stunts in the piece, there were instances of mediocrity that were jarring in the context.

The casting is adventurous, and the ace is Anne Hathaway. Fans may have been apprehensive when the news of her presence had emerged initially but Nolan does a wonderful job in blending the The Devil Wears Prada star into this dark franchise. Her presence adds a refreshing twist to the broody state of affairs while skillfully avoiding being the spoilsport in the process. The other lady in The Dark Knight Rises, Marion Cotillard, is up to the task as well and reminding one of her earlier works like A Very Long Engagement. Christian Bale does justice to the legendary character yet again with both his mask on and otherwise. Gary Oldman continues to portray Commissioner Gordon in his effortless style. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as Alfred and Lucius Fox respectively. Masters that they are, they manage to leave the mark of their calibre in their limited screen time. A chunk of the screen time belongs to someone else though, whose dominance could possibly pan out in other ways. And finally, Tom Hardy. This man had the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes of the Batman villain after Heath Ledger’s unforgettable performance and it must be said that he manages to carve his own niche in the gallery of rogues. It was no mean task and both the makers and the actor need to be commended for this.

In the final analysis, like its protagonist, the franchise does manage to hold its own in the face of a seemingly impossible adversary (though in its case, one of its own creation) and in the annals of the iconic superhero Batman, Nolan and his team will go down as having written a glorious chapter and having spawned an entirely new approach to depicting comic-book characters in a real-world setting in a spectacular yet credible manner which is a tremendous achievement in itself.

The Dark Knight Rises IMDb link

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