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7 years ago, with "Batman begins", Gotham's caped crusader got a murkier, more realistic makeover in the capable hands of Christopher Nolan who succeeded in finding favor with both critics and fans alike by giving the film a strong emotional core. Then with the follow up flick "The dark knight" he gave us one of the most eerily unhinged big screen baddies (Heath ledger, with his immortal portrayal of the "Joker") of all time. The film itself was an epitome of perfection and nothing short of a cult classic. What with Nolan having affirmed and re-affirmed his status as the modern master of movie making within and outside the franchise it comes as no surprise that TDKR comes with such insurmountable expectations.

Really, you gotta marvel at Nolan's craftsmanship, vision and his seemingly unquenchable thirst to excel and outdo himself film after film (no marvel, no pun intended).With the base he had built with the first two films he could have so easily taken the easy way out and settled for a spectacular, larger than life glory vehicle for his protagonist. Rest assured the fans would have gone crazy. Instead, he has toiled to expertly translate on to the screen one of the most ambitious and complex scripts ever written for a motion picture. As much as he stretched and twisted the boundaries and limits of just exactly how many great ideas could successfully be translated on screen with "Inception", what he has done with TDKR still comes across as a mind boggling feat, which cannot be described in mere words but has to be experienced in its intended form, in a good theater with a proper sound system, and if you are lucky enough to have an IMAX near you, don't even think twice.

In case you are searching for that mandatory paragraph in every movie review devoted to giving a sneak peek into the film's storyline, well, you won't find it here. It's just my little way of giving the film the respect it deserves, as even the tiniest detail could spoil the wholesomeness of the experience and that is not something which you are likely to hear too often. So just clear your mind, expect nothing and strap yourself in for one hell of a ride.

It would be unfair to brand this as a superhero film. In fact it has such a forceful grip over so many thematic elements and (quite insightfully) taps into varied stuff like hope, redemption, solace, closure and sacrifice that it would be hard to pin it down into a certain category.

Coming to the performances. Missing the services of the Joker means that, not only is the  film robbed of its predecessor's wicked sense of humor and witty one liners but also has to make do with a villain (Tom Hardy as Bane) who could not possibly live up to Heath Ledger's legend. This also eats into the entertainment value of the film, but with the screenplay being as tight as it is and Nolan's direction being incredibly sure handed, these flaws lose their significance in the bigger schematics. Though all the actors reprising their roles from the previous films do their jobs amicably, Michael Caine stands out. Even with his limited screen time he creates a profound impression and just the fact that his broken epilogue in the climax happens to be one of the strongest memories you take home, despite the last hour of the film blowing your mind to smithereens, proves why he is one of the all time greats. This is the kind of stuff that stands the test of time. Hats off!

Sometimes it's just one simple factor which separates the very good from the great, and for TDKR its Hans Zimmer's score. I am not even going to try to use fancy expletives here. None of them will ever come close to doing justice to the man's towering achievement - one of the greatest soundtracks in the history of motion pictures! Just the way he builds tension and sets your pulse racing by letting the score crescendo at every opportune moment! A master at the top of his game. Sheer genius. One of the reasons why you should catch the film in a hall with a proper sound system. Completes the experience.

To sum it all up this staggering, bravura piece of film making might not be every bit the sequel to a classic you expected it to be. That is because, in many complex ways it is much much more. Give it another viewing before making it look pale in the eyes of its predecessor. There was a time when I was waiting for Nolan to make a bad film, but if he continues in this fashion the wait may just continue, for him to make a good one, like those poor mortal folks around him.

RATING - 4.5/5

Krishnan Ananth

Tags :The Dark Knight Rises,Christian Bale,Tom Hardy,Hans Zimmer

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