Saturday, 21 July 2012

Xcursus: The Dark Knight Rises Review!

Before I begin, let me just inform you- I'm a guy who's not been a big fan of Christopher Nolan's Bat-verse. I still haven't managed to finish Batman Begins (slept through it twice) & the only reason I liked The Dark Knight was because of Heath Ledger's Joker. So the review that follows is completely unbiased. And yes, it is spoiler-free, so you can gladly proceed if you haven't seen the movie yet.

I have never liked getting into the summary in my reviews- just know that this time (due to the sad demise of Ledger R.I.P.), Christian Bale's Batman goes head to bald head against Tom Hardy's Bane. And throw in Anne Hathaway's Catwoman into that already-heady mix. Jonathan & Christopher Nolan have managed to create a story so engaging that you actually don't miss the presence of Joker in the movie. It doesn't even give you time to think what the movie would've been with him in it!

Christopher's direction is top-notch as always. Only after seeing this movie do I truly appreciate his "real-world" approach to the entire Batman universe. If it didn't completely have me sold with TDK, I totally got it in this one! Yes, you feel the strength of all the characters, but Nolan's real & gritty style helps you also see the more human side & the vulnerability of each of the characters. It doesn't make you go, "Oh well, he's Batman! He's OBVIOUSLY gonna save the day!" You truly feel for the characters & the situations they are caught in.
The excellent editing helps move the story swiftly from one event to the other without wasting any time, thus giving you a very well-paced movie that will keep you engrossed from start to finish. It's good to see that equal screen time has been given to the three main lead characters, without one overshadowing the other, but rather each helping the story's progression.

Onto the acting. I wont even bother commenting on Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman & Michael Caine- those guys are masters! Christian Bale, as always, is great as Bruce Wayne aka the Batman. I think in this movie he gets a lot of screen-time as Bruce & that helps him display his craft well. The weird Bat-voice is still slightly annoying & distracting but by the third movie now you just expect it & it's automatically ignored. For me ironically, I was waiting to see this film more for Bane & Hathaway's Catwoman than Batman himself, So let me get onto their performances!
Tom Hardy has definitely proven his mettle before with Inception & Warrior. But it takes a whole new level of acting to be able to display the evil, wrath, intelligence, power, arrogance & emotion just through your eyes & voice with the rest of your face covered by a cumbersome mask! This guy manages it so well that he makes it look easy! You see the emotion in his eyes, you can feel it in his voice. It's also a relief to be actually able to understand him clearly after all the flak Bane's voice got when the first trailer was released. Sometimes though, his voice sounds almost unrecognizable, that it made me wonder at times if it was really his.

Now my fave part: Catwoman! Anne Hathaway has totally killed it! She was brilliant, & I knew she would be! When she was first announced to be playing Catwoman, my only qualm was if she could pull off the entire (sexy) persona. But man, she nailed the role- right from her dialogue delivery to just the way she moves, she's simply badass! She's all the things you ever wanted to see in Selina Kyle on the silver screen- her sexiness, her stealth, her cunning, the wisecracks! I love that this Catwoman isn't an all-out black or white character but grey, just like in the comics. Hathaway constantly brought a smile to my face & was the reason for my applause & exclaims quite a few times in the movie. Till date, Michelle Pfeiffer's turn as the feline foe in Tim Burton's Batman Returns has been my all-time fave. Hathaway's performance has made me have Pfeiffer share that spot with her (I still love Michelle's interpretation too much to drop her to second!). Christopher Nolan recently said in an interview that he would definitely love to see Anne in her own spin-off Catwoman movie & after seeing TDKR I totally see why & completely agree! Definitely loads of Selina moments in here!

The action is quick & well-paced but not in a way that is tough to follow. The fact that the movie isn't in the irksome 3D is seriously a blessing- no blurry action here! It's good to see the different fighting styles of our three main characters. Oh & let me just add here: if Catwoman was one reason that got me to applaud on quite a few occasions, the spectacular "Bat" aircraft (< left) was the other- it is just simply awesome!

The VFX out here isn't obvious as you don't have any CG characters like the Hulk or Lizard. But scenes like the destruction of Gotham City were pretty well executed. When I first saw the stadium destruction scene in the first trailer I thought it looked slightly iffy, but on the big screen I didn't think it looked too bad at all.

I must mention the costumes here. Batsy's duds look great as always. Bane, on the other hand, looks pretty different here than his comics counterpart. The luchador mask is replaced with the ominous headgear. I think it's a pretty swell adaptation to make Bane's character less tacky & more real & threatening. Plus it helps in the story quite a great deal besides adding to the overall aura of the character. Everyone was upset to see the initial set photos of Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman costume sans cat cowl & whip. Then the tacky looking cat ears-eyewear appeared & we still weren't too impressed, but on film, the entire costume looks amazing.

Lastly I want to talk about the background score. Hans Zimmer does an splendid job with the movie soundtrack! I love the whole Bane theme & the beats just get your adrenaline pumping & your feet tapping waiting to see what happens next in the scene. It's like almost building to a crescendo/climax in the scene & the music makes you more eager to get to that point. I've been listening to the OST & these are my faves: The Fire Rises, Despair, Fear Will Find You, Imagine The Fire & No Stone Unturned.

So if you haven't surmised as yet, this is definitely a must-watch. I give it a solid 9.5/10. It's a near-perfect mix of great story, action, drama, brilliant acting, a dash of romance, & a very generous sprinkling (for Nolan) of laughs here & there. I'm a Marvelite, & it's with a boulder on my heart that I say that this for me was THE comic book movie of 2012. Yes, I also rated it slightly more than my review for The Avengers. I love that film too, & it was epic. But this was just simply EPIC! It's definitely turned this Nolan-Bat meh-er to a Nolan-Bat lover & I think Batman Begins is begging for a third (complete) rewatch from me. I loved how this movie concluded this trilogy nicely by tying together all the loose ends with a beautiful ending, but yes, I'd love to see more (though we know it ain't happening- not with Nolan at least). I hope we at least get an Anne Hathaway solo Catwoman spin-off movie! Warner Brothers- make it happen!

So there you have it- my review for The Dark Knight Rises which also happens to be my last movie review for 2012...Hope y'all enjoyed reading my reviews as much as I loved sharing my views with y'all! If you haven't read my previous reviews you can find em all here. Now I think it's time I get some more "X" on this X-blog... :P


  1. Great review!

    Chris Bale was at his best and Anne was great as Selina as well. Zimmer's music is top notch as always.

    Check out my review .


  2. Great review Neil. I liked it too. You really did good job covering the less obvious stuff like editing and the score.

    1. Thanks Maurice! If the finer details like editing, score, etc struck me as well done then I usually do mention them. I know I loved the X-Men First Class OST too!


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