Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

That time is here. The time that everyone had been waiting for with bated breath. The most anticipated film of all time, perhaps, is finally here. The Dark Knight Rises, the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise delivers exactly what it promised to. Following up with the popularity of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, two of the most famous Batman films of all time, it was promised to be the epic conclusion to the Batman legend and it has been epic none-the-less. Now, to begin with, The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) is not a Batman film that portrays him as a superhero vigilante but it shows a more vulnerable side of Batman where he’s more flesh and blood and has his own weaknesses.

Disclaimer: The following section may have some spoilers, to avoid that, skip to ’The Verdict’ section below.

The Plot:
TDKR begins 8 years after Harvey Dent’s death and when Batman takes the fall for his crimes. Dent is celebrated as a hero in Gotham city on the anniversary of his death, oblivious to the truth about him, and so is how he put all of Gotham’s scum behind bars. Batman hasn’t shown up in the last 8 years and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Batman’s alter ego, has also been in a self-imposed solitary confinement in the Wayne Manor. Wayne looks visibly weaker, walks with a stick and is still mourning the loss of his childhood sweetheart Rachael Dawes (who dies in the Dark Knight.) Bruce Wayne spots Selina Kyle (Anne Hathway), a thief, in his house who steals his mother’s pearl necklace and his fingerprints and leave before his eyes. Meanwhile, Daggett (Ben Madelsohn), a businessman who has his eyes on the Wayne Enterprises, hires Bane to do the needful, but Bane has a plan of his own, and that is to fulfil Ra’s Al Ghul’s destiny to destroy Gotham.
Wayne enterprises is crumbling after having invested huge sums into Miranda Tate’s(Marion Cotillard) ‘clean energy project’ but that had been shut down when Wayne and Fox had learnt that their reactor can be used as a nuclear weapon too. Due to the diminished profits of Wayne enterprises, the charitable donations to the public of Gotham have also stopped, and Gotham is virtually staring into the eyes of its doom. Officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who has deduced Batman’s identity, and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) implore Bruce Wayne to return as the Batman, but Alfred (Michael Caine), his mentor and butler feels otherwise. He thinks that Bruce is neither physically, nor mentally ready to be the symbol he had wanted to and Alfred eventually gives up on him while Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). Bane launches an attack on Gotham’s stock-exchange, bankrupting Wayne. Wayne, meanwhile returns as the Batman, makes Tate the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, restarts the clean energy project and asks Kyle (Catwoman) to help him get to Bane.
Bane, whose face is covered with a gas mask to ease pain from old injuries, is the only villain who is physically more dominating than the Batman. He breaks Batman’s back, captures him and wrecks havoc on Gotham. Gotham is under siege as Bane turns the energy reactor into a nuclear bomb, traps the whole of Gotham’s police force under-ground and cuts it off from the rest of the world. Now, it’s up to Wayne to get back on his feet, escape Bane’s prison, turn the thief, Kyle, into an ally and save Gotham with the help of Blake and Gordon. Although he’s in for a shock as he finds out that there’s someone other than Bane who’s pulling the strings here.

The Verdict:

Bane, Batman, Catwoman

It would not be appropriate to compare The Dark Knight Rises with The Dark Knight or Batman Begins as it is a completely different story. Given the fact that nobody can replicate or even come close to what Heath Ledger did with his character Joker in TDK, TDK Rises does not concentrate upon one character or a villain. It is less of a Batman story and more of Bruce Wayne’s. With an ensemble star-studded cast, Nolan manages to justify the presence of each character to the hilt, even-though none of the actors get a major screen time, other than Bale. Also, the pasts and stories of each of them, might get a too much to handle if you’re not a Batman fan.

Christian Bale delivers a first rate performance as the broken, self loathing Bruce Wayne and the new spirited Batman. Anne Hathway, is probably the sexiest Catwoman ever and slips comfortably into the role. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are as good as ever as Alfred and Fox and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate looks ravishing. Now what’s disappointing about TDKR is that an actor like Tom Hardy is almost wasted as Bane. With his face covered with a gas mask, he has very little scope of performance with his eyes. Bane’s voice is a bit too ‘robotic’ in its feel and Hardy’s face is just seen for a split second in a flashback scene. Gary Oldman is at his usual best.
Hans Zimmer’s music adds to this visual extravaganza the aura of an epic borrowing it’s essence from Batman Begins.

The Legacy:
TDKR is true to its comic book characters and story. Especially the scene where Bane breaks Batman’s back. Batman is a symbol who only comes out at the night, and Nolan had taken care of this fact in his previous two films, but what is astonishing, here, is that the whole climax scene of TDKR unfolds during the daytime.
Tumbler, the Batmobile that Batman had been using in the last two films of Nolan’s franchise, falls into the hands of Bane’s crew and Batman gets the Bat, a new aviator mobile, whose autopilot, is a problem. And Nolan makes it a point to give some added moments of thrills to the Bat through his dialogs. Also, the Catwoman is great with the Bat-mo-bike.

Yes, Christopher Nolan Does it again and does it in style. He ends the greatest Batman movie with the grandiose ending it truly deserved. I would recommend you watch Batman Begins before going for TDKR for a better understanding of the final instalment and it would also help if you didn’t take Joker along with you to the movie hall.

My Rating: 4/5
And I would recommend that you go watch it twice.

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Movie Review: Warrior

A few reviews ago, Sudeep said that every review may not be a recommendation. Anubhav said that I should try not to divulge too many facts in a review. Bullshitting both these advises, I write this. Warrior! A film, a journey, a feeling. 2 hours and 20 minutes, utilized to the fullest. It is a shame though that this film did not even hit the theaters in India.

Warrior

If I may say, Warrior is by far one of the best films of 2011 and the best ever on contact sports. While films like Karate Kid and Never Back Down were ‘good films’ on underdog victories in martial arts or fight sports, but Warrior is different. Warrior comes with an emotional baggage that has nothing to do with impressing a girl or fighting her ex-boyfriend. Warrior is a film based on Mixed Martial Arts, a sport without many rules, and with last man standing, seemingly, as the only way of winning a bout. Warrior is a story of a dysfunctional family of Mixed Martial Arts wrestlers. When a wall street investor announces a five million dollar world heavy-weight competition in Mixed Martial Arts, Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) comes looking for his dad after 14 years only to train with him for the competition. Tommy’s older brother, Brenden Conlon (Joel Edgerton), now a physics professor and father of two, must also take part in the same competition and must win it in order to pay the mortgage on his house and keep his family afloat. Both Tommy and Brenden hate their father (Nick Nolte), who was a violent alcoholic, for deserting his family when they needed him the most.

Tommy gets into the competition riding the popularity of a YouTube video of him beating a famous wrestler while Brenden manages to fill in for an injured wrestler. But the story isn’t this simple. Tommy needs the money to support his brother-in-arms’ family and the brothers hate each other too. Now who wins and how is for you to find out but every punch and kick has more to it than meets the eye.

Tom Hardy in the role of fierce ring animal and fighter is impeccable. He possesses at the moment probably the most chiseled body in Hollywood and if he has done this with Warrior, I just can’t wait to see him as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. The only thing that could have been better for Hardy’s character is that it could perhaps have a little more depth to it, hence the scope for performance is limited. What Tommy’s character lacks, Brenden’s character makes up for in leaps and bounds. Joel Edgerton has given the performance of a lifetime. Both as an ageing wrestler and as a struggling husband and father. Nick Notle playing their father gives a sympathetic performance and his remorse as a failed father deserves an applause. One particular scene that I liked was between Edgerton and Notle in which Edgerton confronts his father for for coming to his house and says ‘unless your hands are working, you could have always called.’

The film has great cinematography and it moves at a rather quick pace in order to create the necessary build up. Fights have been choreographed so well that you almost feel the pain of the actors when watching them. The final gush of an elder brother’s love leaves you speechless and one can easily think that there’s ten minutes of story left when the film ends leaving you begging for more. Its thumbs-up form my side for director Gavin O’Connor’s Warrior. If you miss it, then you’ve missed the best Martial Arts movie in recent time.

My Rating: 4.5/5