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.
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.
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.
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.