Monday, July 23, 2012

Nothing Comic about The Dark Knight Rises!

One of the defining moments of The Dark Knight Rises, is in the climax when the Gotham Police force face off against The Bane’s men- The policemen, with only batons in their hands, while the outlaws are armed to the teeth with automatic guns and prototype Batmobiles. The policemen, with fear written all over their faces, walk shakily towards the outlaw army. It clearly is a mismatch of epic proportions. Suddenly, the Batman arrives in his Batwing, and destroys the Batmobile prototypes being manned by Bane’s Men. Suddenly, there is hope on the faces of the policemen and they start running towards the outlaw army....

This scene perhaps is the message Christopher Nolan wants to deliver in the concluding edition of his eminently watchable interpretation of the Batman Series (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises). That, there is hope even in the darkest and most hopeless of all situations. I could not help comparing the story with that of Aamir Khan’s blockbuster Hindi movie Lagaan, where a rag-tag team of villagers take on the trained team of English cricketers and defeat them in a cricket match.

Improbable in real life? But hey, how many times have we seen the human spirit conquer supposedly insurmountable obstacles?

Though essentially a comic strip from DC comics, the issues explored by Nolan are anything but child’s play. Again I found parallels with the great Bengali director, Satyajit Ray’s Hirok Rajar Deshe, which in the garb of children’s movie explored serious political issues.

However, while Hirok Rajar Deshe was primarily a comedy, The Dark Knight Rises is as dark as it gets, with characters inspired very much from real life.

The movie begins 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight, when Harvey Dent was killed. Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne is leading the life of a recluse. Gotham has been rid of organised crime, thanks to the Dent Act. However, the peace is soon shattered as Bane attacks Gotham City and takes over the city, cutting off all contact from the rest of the world, turning a fusion core device, originally developed to generate power, into a nuclear bomb, which he threatens to explode, in case any outside help is attempted.

The movie, besides the usual cast of characters, also introduces Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, a cat burglar, who though wearing a cat-woman type costume, is never referred to as Cat-Woman!
At 2 hours and 45 minutes, the movie is pretty long but after the initial 15-20 minutes, when the new characters are introduced into the scheme of things, the pace picks up and it is pretty much edge-of-the-seat stuff, culminating in the thrilling climax!

Batman has a new gizmo in the form of the Batwing, which looks really cool. The action sequences are really breath-taking, including the hand to hand combat between Batman and Bane in the climax.

Christian Bale as Batman, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, reprise their roles with usual competence which was demonstrated in the previous editions.

Anne Hathaway is cutely competent as Selina Kyle and adds the feminine glamour quotient and the much needed lighter moments, in what is essentially a pretty intense and humour less movie.

But, man to watch out is Tom Hardy as The Bane. If Heath Ledger’s Joker was unpredictable and sinister in equal measures, The Bane is perhaps a cross between The Hulk and Professor Moriarty!
With a mask on his face, and a soft voice in contrast to the body of wrestler, Bane is quietly menacing. But, the only drawback of the mask is that his words are not very clear, and one has to strain to understand what he is saying.

The movie explores issues like economic collapse, collapse of social structure due to disparity of wealth between the haves and have-nots and urban terrorism which are very contemporary and relevant in today’s world.

A movie which provides a very satisfying end to the first two episodes, The Dark Knight Rises is a must watch for any movie buff.

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