Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Jospeh Gordon-Levitt

Director: Christopher Nolan

What probably sets The Dark Knight Rises apart from other superhero movies is that it doesn’t solely walk on the sure-fire theme of Good vs. Evil. On the contrary, it takes real world problems of terrorism, political chaos and a wobbly economy to augment the cinematic depiction of DC Comic’s Batman. Although the premise remains unchanged, it’s a rare occasion where you would see terrorism and a superhero with swanky gadgets sharing the same screen space.

The Dark Knight Rises puts an end to Nolan’s triptych that was started in 2005 with Batman Begins. It seems quite unfair to compare TDKR to The Dark Knight as the former lacks the touch of the memorable performance given by Heath Ledger. Joker is irreplaceable. Period.

With TDKR, Christopher Nolan proves his worth again. With movies like Inception and The Prestige to his credits, it’s not surprising that this director can keep you at the edge of your seat. Nolan grabs your attention with a brilliant midair shot – a sensational hijacking scene of a CIA aircraft, carrying terrorists, by Bane (Tom Hardy); the film’s bulky baddie whose nose and mouth is covered with a metal mask that gives his voice a synthetic and sometimes inaudible tone. Back in Gotham, after a lapse of 8 years, the city dwellers are still admiring the heroic actions of Harvey Dent. The streets of Gotham are temporarily free of crimes. And if I must add, free from the caped crusader as well.

While Batman is in exile and Bruce Wayne has simultaneously decided to become a recluse, the city of Gotham is hit by a mysterious thief, the feline Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). But it’s not until Bane and his mercenaries attack the city, that Gotham feels the need for Batman. The story then moves ahead with the return of Batman as he chases Bane and his army on his Bat-pod. What follows is action packed scenes where Batman confronts the nasty metal masked villain, a physically and intellectually powerful foe known as ‘The man who broke the bat’ in the comic world. The action sequences have multiple chases involving the jet, The Bat flying through the city’s skyline. Whether it’s the opening shot or the multiple explosions on the city’s bridges, in the football stadium or underground, the scenes have been shot brilliantly.

Back in the story line is Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), the tech genius Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred (Michael Caine). Additions to the script are made by Gotham’s new burglar, Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), Miranda Tate (Marian Cotillard) and street cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon – Levitt). Hathaway and Levitt’s performances are commendable.

Adding to the movie’s characters is the marvellous work done by production designers, Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh, a wonderful background score, the Nolan brothers’ engaging screenplay and an excellent cinematography by Wally Pfister. The camera flows smoothly from one scene to another to create vivid visuals. Despite all the high tech systems and special effects used in the film, Nolan goes and plays it old school as he proclaims at the end of the credits that the motion picture was shot and produced on film.

Whether you swear by the comic book hero or not, The Dark Knight Rises is an overall good movie and deserves a watch.

- Esha Chanda

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