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Critics love, respect The Dark Knight Rises

As The Dark Knight Rises gets set to storm the box office worldwide, you can rejoice in the knowledge that both Indian and international critics have given a unanimous thumbs up to the third film of the Batman franchise.

hollywood Updated: Jul 20, 2012 13:04 IST
The Dark Knight RIses,Hindustan Times,Batman

You may possibly have already booked your tickets or decided when you'll go for The Dark Knight Rises, nevertheless, you can rejoice in the knowledge that both Indian and international critics have given a unanimous thumbs up to the third film of the Batman franchise.

The Dark Knight Rises
Directors: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Liam Neeson, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Sir Michael Caine
Plot Synopsis: Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy. For the first time, Batman encounters an enemy physically much stronger.

You may possibly have already booked your tickets or decided when you'll go for The Dark Knight Rises, nevertheless, you can rejoice in the knowledge that critcs have given a unanimous thumbs up to the third film of the legendary Batman franchise.

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Potent, persuasive and hypnotic, "The Dark Knight Rises"has us at its mercy. A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch, this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard. So much so that, its considerable 2-hour, 44-minute length notwithstanding, as soon as it's over, all you want to do is see it all over again.

Nolan and actor Christian Bale created wonders with this stern character in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and the director has said he was determined to make this third film as good as the others.

Also, and almost unheard of in a superhero context, Dark Knight Rises brings a whiff of contemporary societal trends — or what Nolan has called "the things that worry us these days" — into play. His film coolly mocks the pieties of both the right and the left, starting with a jaundiced look at how law and order-obsessed societies start to rot from the inside when they are based on lies.

As played by Hardy, who has a flair for roles like this (Bronson, Warrior), Bane intimidates first because of the threatening way he carries his imposing physical bulk. If that wasn't enough, there's his mask.

Verdict: The third and final Batman movie from director Christopher Nolan is mercilessly brilliant and exemplifies masterful filmmaking.

Xan Brooks,

Rating: 4/5

Old superheroes never die; they simply hang up their capes and retreat to the shadows, awaiting the moment when fashions change and they're required again.

Preamble complete, the dark knight duly rises for the bruising final stanza in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, a satisfying saga of revolution and redemption that ends the tale on a note of thunder. If viewers were wanting a corrective to the jumpsuit antics of The Avengers, or the noodling high-school angst of The Amazing Spider-Man, then rest assured that Batman delivers in spades. Here is a film of granite, monolithic intensity; a superhero romp so serious that it borders on the comical, like a children's fancy-dress party scripted by Victor Hugo and scored by Wagner.

No such worries for the film itself. The Dark Knight Rises may be a hammy, portentous affair but Nolan directs it with aplomb. He takes these cod-heroic, costumed elements and whisks them into a tale of heavy-metal fury, full of pain and toil, surging uphill, across the flyovers, in search of a climax. "I'm still a believer in the Batman," murmurs Joseph Gordon-Levitt's rookie cop at one point. Arm-twisted, senses reeling, I am forced to concede that I am too.
Verdict: Christian Bale's tormented Batman duly rises for Christopher Nolan's bruising saga of revolution and redemption

Dark Knight RisesJoe Neumaier, New York Daily News

Rating: 4/5

Tortured and tense, "The Dark Knight Rises" stands alone as the summer’s — and perhaps the year’s — most serious-minded action flick and a new high-water mark for what superhero movies can and should be.

Forget supernatural threats and teens and egomaniacs fighting the forces of cartoon evil: “Rises” grips us, almost too tightly at times, in a world that wraps our own in a veneer of intriguing, nail-biting, terrifically heightened corruption.

And while director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale’s epic of criminality and all-consuming conviction ultimately falls a bit short — missing, for instance, a villainous face a la Heath Ledger’s Joker — their Batman trilogy ends with a suitably thrilling mix of guts and glory.

And that should be enough. But perhaps because we feel the strength inside Nolan’s films — which truly are closer to “The Godfather” than to other superhero flicks — its shortcomings echo louder and longer.

Bruce/Batman speaks more than once of his connection to his city. “The Dark Knight Rises,” like both the real and fictional Gotham, builds upon its strongest parts — and makes us wish the weaker parts were better.

And that should be enough. But perhaps because we feel the strength inside Nolan’s films — which truly are closer to “The Godfather” than to other superhero flicks — its shortcomings echo louder and longer.

Bruce/Batman speaks more than once of his connection to his city. “The Dark Knight Rises,” like both the real and fictional Gotham, builds upon its strongest parts — and makes us wish the weaker parts were better.
Verdict: With no villain on par with Heath Ledger's Joker, Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises' falls a little bit short of true greatness, but Christian Bale earns his cowl.

Jenny McCartney,
Rating: 3/5

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is of a different order of darkness to other Marvel-comic films. They all involve the see-sawing dynamic of peril and safety, of course, but Batman swoops into dark corners of the communal psyche that other superheroes don’t reach: he nests in the thought of civic apocalypse.

The Batman films are short on humour, and they don’t care too much for love, but they are nourished by fear. The sheer scale of Nolan’s Gotham spectacle constantly emphasises the littleness of its citizens – like matchsticks, they can be scattered, huddled, or used as gambling chips – and the roaring precariousness of a city.

This is the comic-book read by grainy half-light, a noir thriller that stops mockery dead in its tracks. When there’s a crazy, vicious guy on the streets who breaks necks like fingernails, you stop laughing at the only thing that might have the power to stop him, even if that thing is a reclusive billionaire with the keys to a freshly souped-up Batmobile.

The Dark Knight Rises is a better and less grotesquely exploitative film than 2008’s The Dark Knight, which I disliked for its lingering, prurient depictions of the extreme torture meted out by Heath Ledger’s Joker.

This film has some fine performances, from Gary Oldman as the exhausted yet perennially decent Commissioner Gordon to Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, a young Gotham beat cop who ends up at the heart of the action. Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway, as a sinuously ambiguous Catwoman, add both glamour and intrigue.

I tip my hat to the sheer cinematic ambition of this film, revealed most audaciously in a scene at the Superbowl and in the wider shredding of the social fabric that echoes every revolution from France to Mao’s China. Yet, at times, particularly in the first section, the film seemed a little bloated, curiously hard to get moving; and then, later on, for all its hectic energy, it occasionally left me cold.

I respected The Dark Knight Rises; I didn’t quite love it.

Verdict: The final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy impresses in its energy, ambition and spectacle – but it'll also leave you cold.

Samuel Luckhurst, Huffington Post

Rating: 5/5

Has helming the finale to two critical and commercial successes ever been achieved by a director for a third time?

Christopher Nolan may be the first, for The Dark Knight Rises is a tense and emotional conclusion to his epic Batman trilogy which rivals the best of cinema's trios.

With barely a hint of CGI, it is another cerebral blockbuster spawned from his and his brother Jonathan's creative minds. Rather than taint his canvas with pixelated and shallow happenings, sequences feature tens of thousands of extras and tanks roaming around Wall Street.

Character supersedes carnage, though, in The Dark Knight Rises. The franchise's returning actors, from headliner Christian Bale to the poignant Alfred as played by Michael Caine, offer reliable continuity, with the emotion effectively augmented by Hans Zimmer's sombre score.

Hardy is perhaps the most fearful Batman film villain depicted on screen. Although his face is almost entirely covered by a mask, his hulking physique and shark-like eyes have you fretting for the Dark Knight's well-being. The raw sound of those brutal hand-to-hand combat sequences are the film's centrepiece moments.

Some plot strands, to those accustomed to comic book lore, aren't thinly veiled enough, which is a disappointment for a Nolan film, while the middle act is bereft of an adrenaline-inducing money moment akin to the previous film's chase sequence.

But Nolan has again succeeded in delivering his audience an enthralling spectacle, relying on the weight of emotion rather than the element of surprise or anarchy. It's the trilogy The Batman deserves.

Verdict: A fitting finale for Batman and the city of Gotham

David Blaustein, ABC News

Rating: 4.5/5

...To turn our attention to the quality of this film by presenting you with several hyperbolic adjectives that begin with the letter "E." Exhilarating. Epic. Extraordinary. Here’s another one: Euphoric. As in the action is exhilarating, the scope is epic, the visuals are extraordinary and when the film is over, you’ll feel euphoric.

Bale nails Bruce Wayne and Batman but just like in “The Dark Knight,” the bad guy steals the show. Tom Hardy is terrifying as Bane, a menacing, heartless monster who finds killing as easy as breathing. On the flip side, Michael Caine takes the character of Alfred and turns him into the movie’s emotional core, saving his best performance in this series for last, while Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon also is, as always, excellent.

The most common question I’ve been asked but haven’t been answering since I saw "The Dark Knight Rises," is, "Is it better than "The Dark Knight?" My answer is, nope, it’s not. "The Dark Knight" was perfect and "The Dark Knight Rises," while great, is not perfect. Still, my issues with it are few and didn’t detract from my love for this film, which I believe you’re going to love, too.

Desi Take

Mihir Fadnavis

Dark KnightRating: 4/5

How do you make a sequel to one of the greatest movies ever made? How do you escape the Cinema Threequel Curse? How do you meet the expectations of millions and millions of fans who want something better than stuff that’s already perfect? The White Knight of Hollywood Chris Nolan takes all these questions, wraps them around an atom bomb and punches the trigger.

In the four years since 2008's 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 well and truly rising as the superhero of the greedy movie industry. Not only did he reject 3D because he didn’t want to shoot in a format just to charge people more, but he also shot almost half the runtime of the movie in groundbreaking, spectacular IMAX. There are plenty of big action scenes and excellent character moments, and it makes for a sprawling epic in every possible way, the darkest, most complex segment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

If Batman Begins was a surprisingly serious and smart, no BS gritty opener and The Dark Knight was an extraordinary sequel of Godfatheresque levels, then The Dark Knight Rises improves in ambition upon the latter. The whole thing is so bombastic and behemoth in scale that every minute of it continually breaks the trilogy curse. In fact the stakes in The Dark Knight Rises are high enough to make its predecessors look quaint in comparison.
Verdict: Even with its ginormous set pieces, monstrous scope and SFX, The Dark Knight Rises separates itself from other blockbusters because it rarely loses sight of its humanity and its 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 desperately drooling for even more.

Roshni Devi,
Rating: 4.5/5

Writers Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan have not let us down. The Dark Knight Rises has elements from both the previous installments that will make all Batman/Nolan fanboys happy.

Even if you haven’t followed the previous movies, the film is worth watching for the details given to each character and the apt way they’ve been rested the Batman series. Dialogues are good. However, somewhere in the movie, you do get the feeling that the writers have put too much on your plate: with Batman out of shape, Alfred’s disappearance, the nuclear bomb, Bane’s bloodthirstiness, the city brimming with criminals and more.
The Dark Knight Rises Review: Star Performances

Christian Bale is wonderful; from the ageing Romeo+retired hero in the beginning, to the real Dark Knight back-in-action, he has done a very good job. Tom Hardy as Bane may have shown his face only once throughout the film, but the menace and personality in his voice is enough; though there are parts when you just can’t decipher what he’s saying. Anne Hathaway is slinky as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Michael Caine is moving in his portrayal of Alfred. Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman and Marion Cotillard are excellent as Commissioner Gordon, John Blake, Lucius Fox and Miranda Tate.
The Dark Knight Rises Review: Direction, Music & Technical Aspects

Christopher Nolan needs no more praise. The main has raised and rested the Caped Crusader as best as he could. And Hans Zimmer’s brilliant music is just icing on the cake with the haunting "Bah Sah Rah" chant. Lee Smith’s editing is excellent. The action and fight scenes are very good. Wally Pfister’s cinematography is apt.

Verdict: The Dark Knight is a brilliant film and a fitting finale to the trilogy. Don’t miss it.

First Published: Jul 19, 2012 12:38 IST