Saturday, July 21, 2012


Release date in India:
July 20, 2012
Christopher Nolan

Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Modine, Liam Neeson

The Dark Knight Rises is grand in many places. But every 15 minutes or so, it switches from being grand to being a film trying to impress us with its grandeur ... That’s the over-riding feeling I came away with even after watching its interesting climax, ridden with several neat twists.

So it’s not that there is no enjoyment to be had in this film. There are some excellent action sequences here and there. The art director’s vision of Gotham City is gorgeously grim. And director Christopher Nolan has roped in some lovely actors for all the supporting roles. Leading the lot is a certain Ms Anne Hathaway. That Anne is stunning to look at and can act are already established facts. As Selina Kyle, the newly introduced character in this instalment of the Batman series, she also shows us that she fills out a catsuit impeccably and can throw some mean punches. In fact, there’s not enough where that came from. Selina’s character does not get sufficient screen time though frankly, she and Miranda Tate (played by Marion Cotillard) are far more exciting than Christian Bale’s dullard Bruce Wayne / Batman.

The Dark Knight Rises takes us to Gotham eight years after Batman disappeared. Bruce Wayne has retired into Wayne Manor, and Wayne Enterprises is in bad shape because the company abandoned a clean-energy project since it could have been misused by evil forces. Enter the malevolent terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) who forces Wayne out of his reclusive existence. The ‘collateral damage’ caused by America’s war on terror, Guantanamo Bay, Occupy Wall Street … the many allusions to the American political, social and economic scenario are unmistakable.

Our protagonist here is an older Bruce Wayne, a man whose broken body does not lend itself to street battles the way it used to. There are few things more poignant than the discovery that our superheroes have feet of clay and limbs that age. This alone could have carried the film through. That it does not is a result of the combination of Christian Bale’s rather uninspiring turn as Wayne / Batman, Bane’s slightly muddled motivations plus the director and screenplay writers’ too obvious ambition to create an awe-inspiring film. And so, Gotham is a modern city but laboured efforts are made to lend a primitive feel to the goings-on. Why else, when an army of Gotham police clash with a mob of raging citizens, would just a couple of shots be fired right at the start after which all those armed men do not bother to use their weapons but instead opt for hand-to-hand combat? Is it because fisticuffs are more likely to stimulate our hormones? Well, the clash at that point between Wayne and Bane actually does provide quite an adrenaline rush … I can understand two men forcing each other to abandon their sophisticated weapons, but an entire crowd voluntarily seeming to do so just does not cut ice. Likewise, Bane’s back story feels too apparently designed to inspire wonderment, especially with its underground prison that’s not half as ominous as it’s aspiring to be.

So yes, the production values are top-notch, but the film lacks soul. Most of the cast are top-notch, but the leading man is not. Nolan’s The Dark Knight was beset with the very problems that plague The Dark Knight Rises, but it was made memorable by Heath Ledger’s hair-raisingly, heart-stoppingly, breathtakingly beautiful performance as the Joker. Perhaps if Team Hathaway & Cotillard had been allowed to dominate this film in a similar fashion, The Dark Knight Rises would have been a different story. As things stand, what we get is Tom Hardy working really hard to be a menacing Bane but weighed down by a leather face mask and the film’s all-consuming ambitions.

I genuinely liked Christian Bale in 2010’s The Fighter as the cocaine-addicted former boxing champ, but he does not yet possess the charisma to hold together a film like The Dark Knight Rises with its pretensions to being an epic. As for Nolan, he seems burdened by his own reputation. Wish he had made this a small film with a large heart. What it is instead is a big big film with little by way of passion. Except for intermittent scenes of action that enliven the proceedings (in particular, the escapes from that underground prison) and a delicious ending, The Dark Knight Rises is, for the most part, a lacklustre film.

Rating (out of five): **3/4

Release date in the US:
July 20, 2012                 
MPAA Rating (US):
PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, sensuality and language)
CBFC Rating (India):
Running time:
165 minutes


  1. wow great reviews again... will go for this now..

  2. Hi, While I was immersed in the high-paced and true-to-as-possible action sequences of TDKR ,... I would like to focus on my slight dissatisfaction with the Fight scenes.

    1) My Comments followed by an explaination:

    the fight scene with Bane & Bats the first tie round ... WAS extremely weak. --

    I mean Bane's style was good... Batman/Bale's style was complete punch-em-til-you hurt him mode. Which to any normal street fighter ... will tell you that its hte single dumbest strategy to use unless u are an untrained desperado. And hey we are talking about Batman!! Out-of-shape? ok, but desparate????

    There were obvious openings, aikido styles etc...that Bale's character could have been made to employ example: aikido from Steven Seagal's movies (as a reference). Simple, Fast, Bloody Effective.+ used every very effectively in animated Batman versions (* 1990s & thereafter.)

    2) Now the Sensible Explaination (using the film's own ideology):

    - First Bruce Wayne, learns about Bane, about how brutal his fighting style is on video, then, about the fact that he his possibly stronger than himself ... as of Batman Begins ... even given a size advantage.

    ** Now even a normal person, would instantly note .. that there is a possiblity of going up against one stronger ... therefore opting for soft-target attacks and using one's styles against him.

    -- Then in a fight for his life ... when in a cage match ... a fight he has invited himself to & to which he cannot afford to lose ... he uses a few gadgets to play with Bane.
    Ok acceptable.

    But the moment he got hit by Bane the first time, a sensible fighter would know that brute force won't work. Styles like Aikido, Hapkido, Bit of Wrestling or Judo .. mixed in is not that difficult to accomplish??

    Now even for film, we have got many examples of good realistic fighting movies: Bruce Lee's movies, Steven Seagal's aikido moves in mumerous films or you tube clips for research, wing-chun, wrestling, combined with his supposed style of Keysi & some simple acrobatics (rolling over or under the enemy) capoeria, with simple fighting (watch Brandon Lee's Rapid Fire) or Sammo Hung series (Martial Law) or refer from Arcade games (Tekken, Mortal Combat etc...). There ARE books on the subject as well.

    Bane basically was apparently the 'wrestler' mixed with good hand moves & locks. But his weakness was apparently his eyes and his mask (even as a distraction .. with Batman's gloves ... + 'martial artististry' normally able to break boards or through solid objects ... a well placed head butt or hit to the mask or to the exposed eyes or nose would have been a good effect.
    [Reference to the Animated Fights of Batman (post 90s) would reveal various Batman vs. Bane fights (before the Venom cord gets cut)


    Next up: My Take on How the fight could have panned out to the same conclusion. -

  3. take look at this, Batman's Keysi fighting style:‎

    Note: He didn't even use these in the Bane fight! It was pure boxing.

    My comments:

    Good initial defence with an elbow.
    But follow up with the headbutt & a inner strike to the throat, break hit to the knees/chin or eyes could be accomplished .. in the time the opponent attacks.

    But good rough defence for close hits .. for onw without the sensitivity training

    grab the face technique?

    all the victim has to do is lower his knees or raise a fist .. that allows the keysi guy .. to slam his nose or throat into the 'victims fingers. Boom!!

  4. This is as much as I recall from the Fight scene.

    Here’s my view how it may have been closer to what Batman’s MO is.


    Location: Below Wayne Enterprises I believe. Selina, locks the cage after Batman enters, turns around and faces Bane.

    • (As I recall…) Bane addresses Batman as Bruce & insults his way of thinking and reminds him of the League of Shadows motive. Of course this enrages Batman … who in reminiscence to Begins rejects the way and choses to protect Gotham.

    • * [in the original movie, Batman gets enraged and charges at Bane!!!. (Tsk tsk tsk …. Bad bad move, given that the 1st lesson taught by Ra’s Al Ghul is to confront & manage his temper + mind his surroundings – in this case Bane!].

    Batman relaxes and repeats what he told Ra’s Al Ghul in the League Test Hall those years ago. (Hey he is supposed to have eidetic memory – based on the BB book) – about there’s always hope … without mass killing, but his way is twisted looking to be self-righteous.
    Batman: “That I cannot allow, not before, not now. You are on my turf. Leave.”
    Bane replies, most likely with disdain or some revealing quip – most likely about Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes … and having trouble with a lunatic like the Joker.
    Batman proceeds to give a quick psychological rep to Bane (which Nolan is great at analysing + is Batman’s best ability apart from stealth) to try and break or decipher his motives.

    Whatever it is … it goads Bane into attacking Batman … (as had happened)

    • As Bane charges in Batman tries to do a Keysi elbow move, headbutt & a straight blast jab at his face followed by a cross at bane (bad move). Bane gets nailed once in the nose, once in the face and grabs the cross, flips Batman around onto the floor …
    • Bane nails Batman in the head, gives a head butt, to a bloody nosed Batman, who out of instinct, does a Keysi face-grab and jabs into Bane’s right eye as a desperate measure (it’s a reflex…no need to see), Batman then brings one knee up hard into Bane’s arm pit,
    Punches Banes face-mask this time pushes himself back, and left knees Bane in the ear … hard! Bane is disoriented and bleeding a little.

    • Using his grapple, Batman launches himself into the roof, while his electric gizmo, turns the place relatively dark. This is were Bane comes with his “Darkness Bruce?? … I’ve grown up in darkness” dialogue. Then Batman tries his surprise attacks (as in movie), which fails,
    where Bruce dips down into a wrestlers dive … but slides into a scissor take down, using his body weight, following up, arcing over Bane with an attempted neck smash….except that Bane instinctively blocks half-turned knocks Batman over the platform … where Batman flips on the other side to give Bane a hard kick on the back of his knees , moving in to elbow Bane on the base of the neck (for a KO).

    • Bane however turns around … to parry Batman and land a combo punch on Batman, let him fly … grab his legs and smash him into his surroundings, which lends him some batarangs & explosives at his face, has Bane staggers and Batman kicks himself away … Grappels banes head (looping the cord around) for a 2nd kick. – Bane with his ‘explosives as distractions ….’ dialogue … grabs Batman & proceeds to slam him all over the flaw ….

    • * [In the Movie, Batman didn’t put up much of a struggle, when lifted up! He was like Robocop. Bane was so slow, that Batman could have rolled off]
    Before lifting him high and breaking his back all in one quick move.

    • Then he could continue the movie-like assault sequence.

  5. Great review!

    I agree with you that this movie was little bit overlong.

    Still, I thought Chris Bale was at his best in this movie.

    Check out my review .


  6. Anna and others
    For us, it was a spectacular experience. It was just out of this world- speechless. There were many scenes where we had goosebumps

    I advice please watch it in IMAX screen which can show the original imax print and experience this movie. I heard only hyderabad IMAX has this original IMAX screening while the rest of IMAx in the country are digitalized/fake.

    Absolutely splendid background score. It was just yesterday that i hv seen the movie and jsut could not come out of it.

    Puttin aside the loopholes, it is just directors success in keeping the audience of an english movie engaged for 2.45 min and made them to clap at the end of the movie (prob for the first time for any eng mv)

    1. Hey, who do you mean by us? And did Vladimir Putin have a role in this movie? I didn't see him! (ref first few words of last para). And the director must be real bad that he kept you engaged for only 2.45 minutes!!!! :P

  7. I think people here are more worried about how bad the fight between bane and batman was, but were least bothered for the rest of the specatuclr scenes/screenplay. For me, the fight just worked as batman is unlike any other super hero..normal person with no supernatural powers

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