Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review (4.5/5)


Happy New Year! My gift to you readers to usher in the new year are 2 movie reviews which are published on the same day! Here's another movie review which I did some time ago on Facebook too. This time, it's The Dark Knight Rises, possibly one of my favourite movies of 2012. This movie delivers almost everything: a gripping story, superb action, meaningful character development, euphonious scores by Hans Zimmer and so much more. Take out that comfy couch of yours and have a good, long and enjoyable read. Enjoy!


The Dark Knight Rises is the final gunshot
in Christopher Nolan’s critically-acclaimed Batman trilogy. Viewers all around the globe have been treated to a smorgasbord of concepts behind what makes Batman tick for the past decade. Nolan has assiduously broken down the psyche of the caped crusader in the previous movies and explored every vestige of The Dark Knight’s soul, revealing to us the cold, lost and troubled man beneath the costume. It is only befitting that The Dark Knight Rises, the conclusion to Nolan’s magnificent tapestry, lives up to its ginormous expectations and sends the trilogy off with an emphatic bang.

The Dark Knight Rises is a dark and ambitious movie and it delivers on all fronts. At two hours and forty-five minutes long, this movie still manages to deliver an incredibly fast-paced story that will set your pulse racing and takes you on an enthralling roller coaster ride through the streets of Gotham. Everything finally comes full circle in this instalment as it manages to weave all the many layered plot threads seeded in the previous two movies and culminates them in a satisfying manner. This movie encompasses just about everything, including political overtones, noteworthy character relationships, justified brutal violence, superb acting and exhilarating action sequences.

The opening scene of the movie is easily one of the best in the movie as it feeds on the fear of the audience, instilling a strong sense of foreboding before it unleashes the monstrosity that is Bane upon us. The stakes are high and the atmosphere is awash with tension and trepidation as we are treated to a compelling introduction of the main antagonist of the movie. Bane is a bestial, abominable and depraved atrocity. He is a brawny powerhouse who adopts a no holds barred approach. He gets what he wants, no matter the cost and he will viciously maim you if you obstruct his path. Tom Hardy is at his best with his astounding portrayal of this formidable villain and his wheezy, albeit distinct and sinister respirator-like voice sends chills down your spine.

The supporting cast is comprised of a wonderful ensemble of diverse characters who reprise their roles in the previous movies, with the addition of the stealthy and dazzling Catwoman as played by Anne Hathaway. Catwoman is a welcome addition to the cast as she injects a tone of light-heartedness to the otherwise staid exploits of the caped crusader. She is pulchritudinous yet shrewd and it is always piquant to watch her beguiling Batman during their occasional meetings and team-ups. This Catwoman is independent, street-smart and self-assured, a polar opposite of the sensual, impish and masochistic Catwoman portrayed by Halle Berry in the 2004 movie of the same name. This Catwoman enhances the movie instead of debasing it. Nolan’s characters are more human-like and down-to-earth, not some wild fantasies and that is why putting Catwoman into the equation is such a success this time around.

Like many of Nolan’s previous works, The Dark Knight Rises is heavy on character-driven plot development. The Dark Knight Rises strips Bruce Wayne down to a mere individual who is next to nothing, who is at his most vulnerable. From there, we accompany Bruce on his wearisome and arduous journey of loss, hope and redemption, themes which the man on the street is able to resonate with easily. Bruce also takes on the role of a mentor in this movie, yet another unexplored aspect of Batman which Nolan has chosen to delve into this time around. The relationship between Batman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s rookie cop John Blake is heartwarming and convivial, and the duo make a good crime-fighting pair. Blake is very much the heart of this movie as Batman is and Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of a humble, committed and altruistic cop is highly laudable.

Besides the acting, this movie shines in its technical brilliance and wizardry. The numerous visual effects specialists, music composers, cameramen and editors who have worked on the movie all contribute to its success. It is often said that music ignites the soul and The Dark Knight Rises exemplifies that saying in its entirety. The musical scores from The Dark Knight Rises are euphonious to the ears and they synchronize with the settings of the different scenes in the movie in perfect harmony. The music sets the felicitous tone for the appropriate settings in the movie and the state-of-the-art surround sound system further complements it by amplifying the sound and exciting your senses. There is not much to be said about the videography this time but the movie is shot masterfully such that it unravels itself impeccably.

Despite its accomplishments in multifarious departments, The Dark Knight Rises has its fair share of pitfalls which hinder it from taking the throne in Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The romance between Bruce and his new flame Miranda Tate lacks in ardour and impairs a significant plot twist in delivering its intended effect to the audience. Despite delivering stellar performances as Alfred Pennyworth and Commissioner Jim Gordon respectively, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman’s characters are underused in this movie, which is highly centred on Bruce Wayne’s personal journey and less of Batman as seen from the eyes of the citizens of Gotham in The Dark Knight (2008). Unfortunately, these minor faults are enough to be blemishes which tarnish this otherwise consummate movie.

The Dark Knight Rises is undisputedly best watched in the IMAX format. The massive IMAX screen, coupled with the thunderous IMAX surround sound system brings out the best in this movie. The dialogue is sharp and crystal clear and the creepiness factor of Bane’s ominous voice is dialled to the maximum. The aerial scenes and the climatic 1000 men fight scene shot using genuine IMAX cameras are breathtaking and awe-inspiring visual spectacles. This movie was made to be watched in IMAX and I cannot comprehend watching it in the normal widescreen format after watching it in IMAX. IMAX is true to its words, the world’s most immersive movie experience.

All in all, The Dark Knight Rises is a satisfying conclusion to Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy. Despite clocking in at two hours and forty-five minutes long, there is still much room for improvement in terms of character development, particularly in the intents and purposes of Bane. More screen time could have been spent on exploring his origins and motivations. The Dark Knight (2008) surpasses its sequel by deconstructing its villains the Joker and Two-Face infallibly in this aspect. Nevertheless, The Dark Knight Rises is still a wonderful blend of action and emotion, offering viewers an insightful look into previously-unexplored angles of Batman and it would be a dream come true if Nolan would return to direct a fourth movie. All are strongly encouraged to catch this movie in IMAX.

Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy & Joseph Gordon-Levitt

VERDICT: 4.5/5