In the four years since 'The Dark Knight' the fandom for Nolan’s Batman trilogy has grown to astronomical levels - you’d have to live on a different planet to not be familiar with these films. Nolan’s lavishness in imagination and passion for real emotions has made the first two parts transcend from mere films to spiritual experiences. The Dark Knight Rises is also not just a movie, it’s a moviemaking miracle and a buffet of eyeball orgasms – one that contains enough visceral thrills and proof of Chris Nolan rising as the superhero of the movie industry. It’s a sprawling epic, the darkest, most complex segment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
The first two were character triumphs on their own, but it is obvious that Nolan was saving all the goodies for last. The Dark Knight Rises obliterates the bar with gritty physical effects sprinkled with CGI. The effects are so realistic it’s impossible to distinguish between real and CGI, and are seamlessly woven into the sweeping exhilaration of Wally Pfister’s cinematography. It is in your best interest that you keep away from story details before watching the film – know that the plot takes eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, and Bruce Wayne has turned into a recluse, as the villainous Bane not-so-silently plots an apocalypse.
At a mammoth two hours forty five minutes, The Dark Knight Rises tends to have a slightly bloated middle section. The film shifts to a cave under the sands of Jodhpur and fast forwards three months without much consistency. I foresee complaints along the lines of Bane not being as awesome a villain as Heath Ledger as the Joker, but that complaint becomes irrelevant, because no one can possibly be as awesome as the latter. To make up for the choppy middle section, the third act of The Dark Knight Rises is an hour-long post-apocalyptic action set piece and is one hell of a rousing stretch of eye and ear candy.
The recurring cast including Gary Oldman holds a more poignant resonance this time, and Bale is particularly excellent as the tormented superhero. Michael Caine is unforgettably haunting as the distraught butler seeing his surrogate son fall. Anne Hathaway isn’t as sexy as she is oddly endearing as the Catwoman, but Joseph Gordon Levitt is great as a Gotham cop. Bane may not be The Joker, but Tom Hardy does all he can to emote with his face covered. The only real problem is that Bane’s voice is still not completely audible, and watching the movie in a theater that doesn’t have very high quality speakers will make Bane almost entirely incomprehensible.
Even with its ginormous set pieces, scope and SFX, The Dark Knight Rises separates itself from other blockbusters because it rarely loses sight of its humanity and mission to meet insane expectations. It’s outstanding entertainment, a victory of mad passion and cinematic artistry, with a sly final payoff that gives you goosebumps and leaves you drooling for more.
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