“The Dark Knight Rises” Falls

First up, before you all go up in arms against me, remember that you’re talking to a die hard fan who has just come out after watching two back to back shows of the movie (one at a regular PVR and the other at IMAX), who’s debated the ins and outs of all three movies with friends over the years (and hours). That aside, I think the facebook based endearment of TDKR has failed to resonate with me. It’s almost a series of fanboys (like me) who are afraid of saying that the movie is not even in the same zipcode as what Nolan delivers so consistently. The movie is strictly OK. Not an epic finale to an epic trilogy. Nolan has given us the Joker. And Inception. And Nolan has given us a lot more. And with that barometer, normalized for time and scale, this might be his worst outing ever. And Nolan’s worst outing being an epic finale, seems like a mindless conclusion to me. We know he is capable of better.

YES. I could not help but compare it with the epic greatness that Nolan and Ledger delivered the last time. The scale of story-telling, the characters, and the field of vision of TDK were at a different scale. And so were the action sequences. The first movie had Ra’s-Al-Ghul played by Liam Neeson, who torments Bruce Wayne/ Batman. You cherish his doubt. You loath his moral high ground. Second movie had Joker. ‘Nuff said. This movie has Bane. And Talia. And the biggest bane of Bane is that one moment where he is reduced to being a monster in love, and Talia is reduced to being a carrier of her father’s will. The motives, though aligned with the league of shadows, are petty. For you know clearly that the motive is not the league. It is revenge.

No. I did not find the action to be jaw-dropping. The first sequence with the airplane is OK. The stadium sequence is wonderful. The end action sequence with the scale of manhattan, is OK OK. Haven’t we seen destruction at a bigger scale in Avengers, or Transformers already? So, what’s the jaw dropping part? Huh? Come again? Huh? No, I don’t agree…

TDKR has too many long and indulgent dialogues. It seems like people are talking and talking and talking. Quite frequently, the conversation tries to be profound. Like we are used to them being profound when Nolan’s writing. But its only every now and then that it actually is. Beyond a point, it plays with your patience.

And beyond a point, the story started resembling Jigar. Remember that Ajay Devgan movie. Back broken, dude fights back. All for revenge. Or, the Ganga Jamuna Saraswati style Amitabh. Can overcome all physical odds and a broken vertebrae fixed through with a punch, like only pahalwans on Najafgarh Road can do. The fact that Ra’s Al Ghul was mentioned and not Superman’s dad as the reason why Bane/ Talia decided to go rogue does not make it a tight plot. People need their reasons, as Joker would remind them.

The high point is the absolutely crackling Selina Kyle. She delivers. As a vixen thief with a heart. And looks perfectly natural in the action sequences. Marilon Coutillard’s La Vie En Rose is a piece to remember her for. Not TDKR. The usual suspects are the usual suspects. Though I must say that I like Levitt’s balance in acting.

And yeah, Hans Zimmer’s background score is phenomenal. Again.

You know a problem with a performance appraisal system? When you ace it in an year, you also build an expectation. SO, when you fail it next year, your fall from grace is harder. I won’t say that you should not watch the movie. Even if you sleep through it or read only the subtitles that Mumbai movie theaters have graciously started showing for language noobs like me, TDKR is a lot better than subjecting yourself to a Cocktail or Rowdy Rathore. Or, Kya Super Kool Hain Hum.

About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

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