Superhero movies are some of only movies whose initial gross collections go through the roof. Its more like a guaranteed investment for the producers. But what’s the reason behind these huge openings, the almost relentless audiences rushing to the movies on its first days of release? Comics! Comics, super-hero or not, have been a predominant entertainment since its days of inception. I have seen even granpas and granmas telling stories they’ve read from comics. Some of the greatest movies ever made have its origins from the comics. Some wannabe-grown-ups call em ‘Graphic Novels’ these days but its still the same. Panels of awe-inspiring art fueled by a brilliant storyline depicted via speech bubbles and ‘pows’ & ‘boings’. I have seen people scoff at superhero movies, these so called people would have mostly gone gaga over some of the earlier superhero movies and enjoyed it to the core but for the sake of being called a ‘grown up’ they disregard & degrade them. I would like to propose a big finger to them, instead of a toast!
I was never that much a fan of Batman. Yes I never missed an episode of Adam West’s Batman, read hundreds of comics and I’d loved Warner Brothers’ Batman animated series. But it was only until ‘Memento’ helmer, Christopher Nolan took a shot at the Batman in 2005, that I became a true aficionado. Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins’ pushed the envelope of the superhero genre, more like a leap, to new heights. He seamlessly merged a dark theme never before seen into the the superhero genre. ‘Batman Begins’ never felt like a superhero movie, it was more mature, more real life & fluid than anything we’d ever seen. Nolan’s vision delved into the origins of a superhero, we’ve known and read for aeons, like and made it legendary.
We still had to wait 3 years until Nolan nailed it all. 2008 saw the release of the true event of the decade. If ‘Batman Begins’ made you squirm in fanboy exaltation, ‘The Dark Knight’ just accentuated it. Nolan introduced Batman’s true foe ‘The Joker’ in TDK played magnificently by Heath Ledger and made him immortalized. ‘The Dark Knight’ saw the true evolution of the superhero genre, a genuine milestone in movie history surpassing comparisons with The Godfather and The Shawshank Redemption at times. Even then the scoff was still to be heard/seen. TDK was hailed so much that it saw itself rested on top of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘The Godfather’ in the IMDB top 250 list. People voted it down immediately.
Christopher Nolan took a break or more of a preparation for his Batman finale. He gave us the ultimate mind-fuck that was ‘Inception’ in 2010 and following its success he was back on track on his finale, the end of the legend he himself set fire to. In a way he was a prisoner of his own success. It was impossible to imagine how he’d top The Dark Knight. It came of an assurance when Nolan, in a pre-release-interview said, that he hasn’t given his best yet. Skepticism and dubiousness-es aside, people were still anxious to watch how Nolan would end it all. Fast forward to 2012, although the end of the world was near it never made me less excited for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Tickets pre-booked a week before its release, I never found myself so excited for a movie release. At long last there I was sitting inside the multiplexer, listening to the Hans Zimmer intro ab initio springing up goosebumps all over me.
The movie put me into a trance as soon as I started watching it. ‘Immersion’ is the term that’s to be said here. Being a master of storytelling, Nolan’s films indeed immerses you to levels unknown. The kickoff scene itself blew me away and the sheer anticipation of what was in store for me later on in the movie just made my heart booming. A true fanboy anxiety had come over me. The story by David S Goyer, a veteran in Batman stories, and a co-written screenplay by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan did absolute wonders. You will never know where everything is going until you see it. Some of the moments were indeed predictable but not the least bit unamusing. The plot has its roots akin to ‘Batman Begins’ than ‘The Dark Knight’ and that being said I am done with the story in order not to type out spoilers.
Character development was beefed up in The Dark Knight Rises. If there are any complaints about Bruce Wayne’s screen time in TDK, it will be all gone in TDKR. This movie is about Bruce Wayne and his perpetual love for Gotham City and Christian Bale’s done an amazing portrayal of the role. As Batman he excels even more be it never forgetting his ethics of not killing people or taking a last stand against another formidable enemy even when he knows he is hasn’t got a chance. Tom Hardy’s Bane was a daunting figure for Batman to go for a head on conflict. A role, apparently Tom perfected to the core. Its something of a feat to act with eyes-only and a thick muffled voice and he did it extremely well. Anne hathaway did a fantastic job of playing Selena Kyle aka Catwoman. Her sultriness could only be matched with her acrobatic skills. Her quick-wit-dialogues and impeccable timing in changing emotions was very impressive…from being an innocent waitress to a vicious thief..in a snap..whoa! Michael Caine’s Alfred had always been a father figure for Bruce Wayne and he outdid himself in TDKR, kicking almost all the sentimental notes as possible. Caine & Morgan Freeman’s Fox gets some of the funniest lines in the movie and these aren’t just comedy squeezed forcibly into the narrative. These are genuine laughs which stays with you even after the scenes are gone. Marion Cottilard was spellbinding as well playing Miranda Tate. Another addition to the TDKR cast comes in the form of Joseph Gordon Lewitt’s playing an integral John Blake, cop and assistant to Gordon Freeman once again reprised by the ever-dynamic and lovable Gary Oldman.
I found tones of blue shades and brownish hue blended in the scenes, I suppose, to track back to its roots to TDK and Batman Begins. The visuals were amazing too. Being a true follower of traditional film-making, Nolan resorted to minimal use of CG once again and it shows. Scenes as well as action sequences in the movie felt too authentic unlike the CG fest that was ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. Spanning over 4 continents The Dark Knight Rises manages to clutch at your throat immerse you deep into the locales as well the action & story.
Hans Zimmer, this time without his collab with James Newton Howard, was a force to reckon with. His compositions staying true to the the spirit of the trilogy. There were beefed up scores from the original as well as fresh takes on the themes. ‘Gothams Reckoning’ was a truly amazing track and most of you will remember it from that explosive TDKR Nokia trailer debut. The drums did most of the part in making you feel like your heart was gonna burst, and some of the lighter tones of music did manage to bring out gasps.
In the end The Dark Knight Rises was an explosive, heartfelt and touching movie, hitting all the right emotions. I went from ecstatic, to tense from breathless to teary eyed and towards the end I could feel a lump in my throat. Close to 3 hours, this movie will test your bladders, but I never felt like leaving the screen after the credits rolled out. I was somehow glued to my seat, shocked, entertained, thrilled and most prominently ‘content’. Nolan’s Batman saga has ended extravagantly, gloriously and spectacularly. I don’t think none of those profound terms like magnificent, awesome, intense etc is gonna do justice in explaining the movie. I do have some unanswered question for which, I am sure, I am the only one to be blamed for…Nolan ‘does work in mysterious ways’ and he is well known for the ambiguity in his movies. So I am sure those answers will be answered sooner or later (OR NOT). In conclusion ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ couldn’t be a more fitting ending to Nolan’s Batman saga. Comparisons with his own brainchild ‘The Dark Knight’, a true work of genius is inevitable and the great Heath Ledger is sincerely missed. But all said and done, The Dark Knight Rises is something to be seen and experienced at the movies, first day first show especially when the movie is populated with a cornucopia of spoilers. I admit I was blown away to an orgasmic level. The goosebumps never left me as I left the movie hall and that itself says this was one of the best comic-book movies ever made. I could rant another few paragraphs about the sheer epic-ness of The Dark Knight Rises’ but I’ll bid bye for now.
Oh btw The Avengers was awesome indeed but after watching The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers can suck it!