“So that’s what that feels like” – Thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises

Posted: August 7, 2012 in Everyone's a critic
Tags: , , , , , , ,

No direct spoilers but yes, if you read between the lines, you should get it. So beware J (especially those of you who have been hiding under the rock and have not seen the movie)

This is not going to be a review. Its far too late for that & quite a few of them have already surfaced & been devoured the way any prime real estate has been devoured by our politicians (see what I did there). These are things that I jotted down during the repeated viewings of the movie & finally got a chance to document it

1. First things first, TDKR is not TDK or Batman Begins. Given the collective expectations around Nolan & the movie, it was going to be a massive triumph just to get a movie out. In that regards, TDKR is a damn fine comic book movie but not a great movie that way TDK or Batman Begins was.

2. <<SPOILER ALERT>> That being said, you cannot help having a huge (I mean it, literally huge) smile at the end of the movie. Nolan may not have satisfied the critic in you but he definitely makes the fan boy in you take a major inner whoop & celebrate. All you can do is to restrain from yourselves from hugging the person sitting next to you & generally beam outwards in barely concealed joy <<SPOILER END>>

3. TDKR is pretty much the conclusion of a great journey that began in Batman Begins. While TDK is a movie of a lifetime, Batman Begins is pretty much the movie for me. Why TDKR is all the more special for me, is the way it ties in to Batman Begins. Liam Neeson in Batman Begins in his process of educating Bale mentions that the Batman needs to be something more, he needs to be “A Legend, Mr. Wayne” & that to me, is the theme of TDKR (even if telegraphed quite openly right from the beginning)

4. Too many things to gush about which have all been captured elsewhere. Nolan’s story, direction, ideas & action set-ups; Bale’s acting; A phenomenally awesome score by Hans Zimmer; The IMAX experience (This movie has to be seen in Imax); No 3D (yaay); Brutal combat sequences; The tie-ins to the 1st 2 movies

5. There are too many things that do not work as well in the movie as well. Bane’s motives; Bruce Wayne’s apparent recovery from all injuries (no cartilage eh?); The Put options trade (deserves a post on its own); Too many convenient appearances; the rushed relationship between Bruce & Miranda among others

6. I was among those who really did not want a Catwoman in the movie when the casting was announced (memories of that therapy-requiring horrible Halle Berry movie still surface despite being repressed deeply). But Anne Hathaway blows one away in a powerhouse performance. Slinky, seductive, capricious, & wickedly selfish, she steals every scene that she is in.

7. Tom Hardy’s terrific body of work continues as Bane. An extension of his roles in Bronson & Warrior, his representation as a physical opponent of Batman is perfect. He is brutal & reflects this in fighting technique as well. Despite the mask hiding most of his face, he packs enough emotions & expressions through his eyes than what Katie Holmes manages in the entire 1st movie

8. I was not really surprised at Joseph Gordon-Levitt knowing who Batman was. I had kind of rationalized it by imagining Joseph Gordon to be the kid who was with Katie Holmes when they are saved in the Narrows by Batman in Batman Begins. I had expected that of Nolan. But we all knew that kid grew up to become Joffrey Baratheon (& got bitch slapped by Peter Dinklage)

9. Michael Caine’s confrontation with Bale is one of the most powerful moment of the movie & brilliantly acted. Its also a moment in the movie where silence is used effectively. There is no background music in the movie. A brilliantly shot scene

10. That moment, the 1st sighting of Batman in the movie was really something. As the cop says to his junior, “Oh boy, you are in for a show tonight, son” perfectly sums it up. It reminded me of that scene in Superman Returns movie (Hey, I love that movie, ok?), when Superman reappears to save the out-of-control aircraft(An interesting comparison, Superman arrives to save the day when something really big goes down whereas Batman is more of an on-the-ground kind of guy, the stakes do not seem that high but yes, they are. Discussion material for another post, I guess)

11. The sequence when Selina Kyle disappears when Batman turns away was an awesome moment. Plus his dialogue J

12.Logically speaking, Bane is the child of 2 legacies; Ra’s al Ghul & Joker. Ra’s’ through the destruction of Gotham & the Joker’s through pushing people to act like a mob & make them lose the sense of all propriety. I guess that was the point that Nolan did not push the envelope on. Joker’s play on the 2 boats in TDK is probably one of the strongest parts in the movie. Through Bane, this could have been played along further. There are early indications of that when Selina Kyle whispers to Bruce Wayne during the ball to the discussion between the cops & the trader at the stock exchange. Nolan subverts that debate to a great extent by having the prisoners freed from Blackgate do the dirty work of dragging the rich from their homes onto the street, rather than the 99%. I guess a more powerful ambitious movie would be how Batman (or Bruce Wayne) restores the status quo of when the poor, the homeless, the 99% (metaphorically speaking) are with Bane for addressing the imbalance. Would he take on the people of Gotham to save Gotham? (But I am sure such a movie might not be run that well in the theatres)

13. I guess, this is the biggest problem I have with TDKR. Batman actually KILLS someone in the climax of the movie. That sequence when he shoots down the driver sitting next to Talia from The Bat. It again ties into the problem I had in Batman Begins when he does not save Ra’s from the speeding train crash. The acknowledged Batman lore in comics as well as the animated series is that the Batman does not kill anyone and goes out of his way to save people (even if they are the bad guys) (remember, the scene is TDK where he saves the Joker)

14. Overall though, this has to be one of the finest trilogies of all time or as the Guardian puts it, The Godfather of our times. If I were stuck in an island with a choice of 5 movies (or movie series) to take, this would be my 1st choice.

15. I really really really want The Bat & The Bat Pod!!!!!!

  1. bforbihag says:

    So you’ve come out to defend the TDKR! Damn man. It was a bad movie by any standard. No character development. No story development. Even the scene with Micheal Caine comes up a bit abruptly. Like Bruce Wayne, the movie suffers from a broken backbone and we’re supposed to believe it becomes whole by a rudimentary rope support. Even without comparison to the absolute greatness that TDK was, TDKR is a mediocre movie at best!

  2. Uttara says:

    Vinay! Can I say that I was waiting for your review. ANd it almost feels like you penned down my thoguhts to the word!

    For me Batman Begins was the movie that made me fall in love with this series. Sure The Dark Knight was good but remove the Joker and Ledger and there’s a void I’d hate to see. For me this series or any Batman film is about him – Batman and that’s where Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises score. Yes TDKR doesn’t deliver a critically outstanding movie but hell the fangirl is me is happy. I wanted Batman and Bale to get a chance to bring back the magic of Batman Begins and with Neeson, Caine and Hathaway, he does it with brilliance.

    Great review and I’m going to read this piece again

    PS: When are you back?

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