Stop right there, you. Yes, you. The one who is unnecessarily frowning and complaining about how The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) is not like The Dark Knight (TDK), or about how Bane is nothing like The Joker. Yes you’re probably right but that is simply because TDKR is not TDK. These are two entirely different entities. In the latter you saw how The Batman rose to be a hero, turned into a masked menace and finally retired a ‘villain’. The former is about him waking up again and taking his rightful position as Gotham’s protector. To the extent that even if the phrase Deshey Basara (He Rises) are used in Bane’s background score, they stand for the broken Bat’s rising.
But it doesn’t end there. Deshey Basara also stands for the rise of every human soul from threat, while depending on only one instinct, “the fear of death”. They may be hurt or may even death, but their rise makes them immortal.
There is a lot of gloom, all through the film. At certain points through the film, you would feel that this is the end, nothing more can be done, no more tragedy for Bruce Wayne. That is exactly when Christopher Nolan takes a step forward and shows you, how things can get worse.
This movie isn’t exactly ‘about’ Batman, but more about Bruce Wayne. It is about how this mere human (with shrinking pockets) can make a difference and how breaking him sends out a signal strong enough to have the toughest of men fall on their knees.
But admist all this gloom and despair, there are moments of hope sewn in so perfectly, it almost feels like real life. Let it be the bonding between a butler and his orphaned master, or between two orphans, or even between a police commissioner and his detective, each one is special and is grand enough to make you pause for a bit and rewind it a little.
Having said all this, let me confirm that the last 30 minutes of the film are probably the best 30 minutes among superhero films ever. Easily among the top ten best endings ever.
Looking at the actors now:
The support caste is simply brilliant. Even if some of the characters have no names, they are awesome for sure. Liam Neeson makes a short 1 minute come-back and I don’t know why that image is still in my head.
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth: Easily an enormous part of the film’s soul quotient. Caine displays emotions that any parent would have toward their depressed child. Alfred is the only character who truly understands Bruce’s agony and loss in its entirety and Caine does every bit of justice to the role.
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox: As the brains behind Wayne Enterprises, Fox is one of the few characters privy to Bruce’s dual lives. Freeman is simply a treat to watch, though one wishes there was more of him on screen.
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman: No she isn’t Michelle Pfeiffer or Halle Berry, but Hathaway is every bit of a Catwoman as any can be. She is hot, no doubt, but Hathaway’s portrayal isn’t just about looking pretty. She shifts from being a witty con artist, to the hero’s sidekick with such ease, you will only sigh in satisfaction.
Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate: Wow. I can’t say anything more, it would be injustice to her role. But remember, this femme fatale from Inception, continues to sizzle in all awesome-ness.
Gary Oldman as Commissioner Jim Gordon: Some heroes wear masks and work nights, others wear a uniform and work through the day. Oldman as Commissioner Gordon is one of those characters who have stayed consistent through the trilogy. Is he anything less than mind-blowing here? No sir. Awesome as ever!
Joseph-Gordon Levitt as John Blake: The surprise package of the film. Levitt, in his portrayal of a rookie police officer, is going to make girls go weak in their knees. He is so good throughout that you wonder why the Dark Knight series is just a trilogy. Makes you feel that probably Nolan should consider a spin-off with Levitt alone.
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/The Batman: Bale is my only Batman. I cannot imagine anyone donning that suit except him now. It would practically be impossible to trump his portrayal. He fights, gets beaten, gets up, gets beaten again, but he never loses hope. Bale is easily one of the two best actors in the film (the other being the bad guy). Though one still wonders if the hilarious gruff voice along with the suit is necessary.
Tom Hardy as Bane: Massive, dangerous and viciously scary. That probably sums up Hardy’s role in TDKR. He should not be compared to Heath Ledger, that is an unnecessary comparison. Give him his own space, I would suggest, because Hardy is awesome as hell himself. The polite manner of talking and his peculiar voice will find its own audience for sure. Would personally love it if Bane makes a come-back sometime soon.
Final verdict: Most tickets for the movie have been booked till Wednesday, next week. Don’t wait. Go hunt for some over the weekend and watch ASAP.
Written by Vishwanath Nair.