Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - The Re(al) - view

Bane: Theatricality and deception are powerful agents to the uninitiated... but we are initiated, aren't we Bruce? Members of the League of Shadows!
Bane: And you betrayed us!
Bruce Wayne: You were excommunicated... by a gang of psychopaths!
Bane: I AM the League of Shadows, and I'm here to fulfill Ra's al Ghul's destiny!
Bane: You fight like a younger man, with nothing held back. Admirable but mistaken.
[Batman uses an EMP device to cut the lights]
Bane: Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!
[grabs Batman from the shadows and continues to beat him]
Bane: The shadows betray you, because they belong to me!

Yes, it's nearly impossible to top The Dark Knight, but Christopher Nolan nearly did with his final installment of the Batman trilogy.

I have to admit that upon seeing the film, I was disgusted with it - yep, that was the feeling. Why? I was expecting an outright sequel to The Dark Knight, but what Chris Nolan (who directed, co-produced and co-wrote the film) did was to make The Dark Knight Rises much more in-tune with Batman Begins (which is the first movie of the trilogy), adding elements from how The Dark Knight ended, the whole Harvey Dent/Two Face debacle. For this, I thank him a lot!

First thing, do not compare TDK with TDKR, as it would cloud your judgement of a really fine movie (and I must confess that I did exactly this when I first saw the film). They are two different films; here's how. TDK was made to showcase the Joker and in the climax of the film (with a really awesome plot twist, introduce Two Face), Batman in TDK was not even playing second fiddle to this guys rather he was like the third wheel to a date, well maybe fourth as Commissioner Gordon's role was integral. In essence, TDK is somewhat the stand-out film of the trilogy, but with the way it ended it was inevitable the direction TDKR was going to take.

TDKR focuses much more on sorrow, pain and the truth behind heroes. TDKR, with all respect to Tom Hardy's brilliant portrayal of Bane, was Batman's swan song. It focused on Bruce/Batman's loss of everyone and thing he cared about (Gotham), heck Alfred left him! This is a film that truly showcased the ferocity of Batman, and his adversary - Bane (as Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul doesn't really count) was a true match this time physically for him. TDK's Villainy was mostly ideological with a lot of fire power, but with TDKR it kinds of steps up a notch with the physical presence of Bane, his body language doing most of the talking. Although his voice is still an issue, and a remedy is - watch it with subtitles as it solves the hearing issues; Tom Hardy's build and mannerism here was that of a juggernaut, seeking to favour his hands over guns just adds to his belief in the cause; and this sort of reminded me of his role in Warrior, where he was also ferocious, maybe not on the same level as Bane.

Why does TDKR make the perfect swan song for Nolan's Baman? This is because, everything he (Batman) worked so hard to protect was destroyed, including him; as a result of the Batman's absence slowly there's a new set of heroes emerging (like Selina Kyle and John Blake), and these ones don't exactly follow the Bat's principle, ie killing bad guys was not off the table for these guys. Yes, it could be argued that the beginning of the film, saw too many new characters, but as the film progressed every character began to fall into their rightful place (except for Marion Cotillard's Miranda Tate), and that is as a result of masterful film-making.

By now it's unnecessary to begin to point out the beautiful job the special effects team and composer (Hans Zimmer) did with this film, because anyone who has seen Inception would know that Nolan doesn't fail in that department.

TDKR is a masterpiece, with an intricate plot and a superb (not cool or jolly good) superhero film. These words said by Commissioner Gordon (portrayed by Gary Oldman) kinds of put things in perspective. A worthy way to end the best superhero trilogy (and one of the best trilogies) ever made.
Jim Gordon: I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss. I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy. I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
A five star movie.