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The Epilogue We’ve Been Holding Our Breath For

by on January 13, 2013

Dark Knight Rises

Needless to say, The Dark Knight Rises was the most awaited movie of the year…

It’s been 8 years since Harvey Dent passed away. Thanks to the Harvey Dent Act, organized crime has been brought under control and Gotham is safe. For Gotham, the services of Batman, the ‘murderer’ of Dent is not required anymore. They despise the caped crusader. Christian Bale has never been more baleful than as the crippled Wayne, eight years as a recluse in Wayne Manor, tended by Alfred (Michael Caine). Having taken the rap for the late Gotham DA, Wayne is the disgraced hero in exile, much like Philoctetes, the Greek archer who Ulysses must entice back to end the Trojan war. What faces Gotham is a nihilistic movement spearheaded by Bane and assisted by capitalist interests and bankers. It starts with an assault on the Stock Exchange, continues with the theft of a nuclear device, and leads up to a familiar countdown to annihilation. Bane represents himself as a liberator but he’s really a destroyer, a deceiver of a weak, easily misled populace. The contemporary parallels are clear, though the underlying politics are somewhat confused.

What TDKR lacks is a great villain. Then again, after The Joker, any other villain would find it hard to fill his shoes. If you didn’t realize it back in 2008, you should realize now just how much Heath Ledger brought to the table. Now, I don’t want to spoil anything but Bane can’t hold a candle to The Joker. The latter killed Rachael, turned Harvey Dent into a villain and destroyed Batman’s image. When you see Bruce Wayne in the final chapter, he’s a shell of a man, a crippled recluse of 8 years. However, TDKR fails to do what its predecessor so successfully did – blur the lines between dark and light, heroes and villains, black and white.

To Nolan’s credit – and I expected no less of him – he manages to tie up every lose end with this thriller of a finale to the best Batman rendition ever. His interpretation of Bane is nothing short of brilliance – right from his appearance to his back story. However, for some reason he failed to add that kind of depth to Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman. The best performance in the movie, unsurprisingly, came from Michael Caine. The scene where he breaks down in front of the graves is the most emotionally saturated scene I’ve seen so far this year.

Nolan has constantly delivered right since his debut “Following”.  With Batman Begins he had already done something with the franchise which nobody had succeeded in doing –not even Tim Burton. And then came The Dark Knight and I don’t think I need to say much about that one. On either side of TDK, Nolan had made The Prestige and Inception, both films of exceptional brilliance and – like all other Nolan films – they too had the signature Nolan touches. To be fair, TDKR, did, at times as well. But the epilogue was, surprisingly, quite unNolanisque. I guess for many people, it might be a fitting end to a brilliant series but for hardcore Nolan fans it will be a little disappointing. Where TDKR shines though, is in its screenplay. The Nolan brothers yet again prove how much a great screenplay can take the movie forward.

Even though the film starred some of my favourite film personalities like Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cortillard and Michael Caine, and is directed by arguably one of the finest directors of modern cinema, The Dark Knight Rises failed to live up to its (albeit momentous) expectations.

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