By now I would think everyone who has been crazy about the Dark Knight trilogy must have seen the movie so it’s a safe time to put my comments in for all who cares to listen or read. In a line – The Dark Knight Rises disappoints. For the entire running time, I never stirred in my seat; I was hooked by the spectacle on the screen but I never felt the tension that had built up while I watched batman take on Ras Al Ghul or the Joker. And that’s where lies the failure of the Man who gave us Memento, Inception and in my opinion the greatest villain in the movie world – Joker.
Both the earlier Batman stories were more than just stories – it had all started with Ras telling Batman that he had to become a legend. And for the two movies he became just that – an apparition – a dark knight who was ready to take the fall. He battled not the events; for the events could have been taken on by any superhero (or even the earlier Bats); what he battled were ideologies – the contrived, unforgiving justice of Ras or the crazy chaos personified by the Joker.
And that’s where the movies were different from the Boy Toys. The Batmobile never became the centrepiece, neither did the spectacular chase sequence halfway through Dark Knight; what remained with the audience hours after they had left the theatres was a primal fear – of evil, of lawlessness; of retribution at some strange justice for none of us have our souls clean.
Against this backdrop, came the story of The Dark Knight, more promising than ever before; with Bane taking up the mantel against Batman – the only one in the graphic novels to have broken Batman’s back and rendered him helpless (you can almost see a recreation of the comic book page in the movie.) You had Cat Woman – about whom we have had endless fights discussing whether she’s good, bad or grey and whether she feels for the Bat. You had scenes reminiscent of Bastille and the anarchy that follows a revolution and a fascinating trailer showing a football field getting devastated and yet what we have is a predictable Good vs. Bad movie which could have been directed by anyone with an eye for special effects.
And that’s where I feel let down by Mr. Nolan. Anyone else directing this movie would have been showered with applause and then promptly forgotten till the next ironman movie came along but here was a director who had forced us to think about the nature of the evil, about choices, about justice and all that he gave us was a movie where we see a faint hint of a Robin coming in for a possible future movie, a Batman retiring and making the fight with Bane a personal one.
To be honest the hero in the movie perhaps is Commissioner Gordon; trusting his instincts, doing his job, facing a bigger threat than he can handle; giving new heroes their chance to stand up for something that they believe in and never losing hope even till the last moment because he knows whatever be the outcome, he has to fight on for the right reasons.
Maybe that’s what the ultimate truth is – superheroes exist on the silver screen. In life what matters is never giving up on what you believe in.