Now this is one movie that has a terrific storyline to boast of as well instead of relying entirely on VFX. Also, instead of just being content with the fact that this is a franchise in the offing and hence audience will flock in theatres to catch out the latest escapades of 'Batman', the 'The Dark Knight Rises' takes itself seriously (for all the right reasons) and spins a world which invites you to not just have a peep into it but also stay on for a wee bit longer and understand what the chaos is all about.
Well, it is this very chaos that best describes 'The Dark Knight Rises' which has Christopher Nolan proving all over again that why he is simply the best when a tale requires a great deal of drama in it than just being driven by mindless action. This is what truly 'rises' in the saga because while it is a given that Batman [Christian Bale] has a job to do; it isn't all about a good guy taking on the bad guy. It is far bigger as the villain in the mask, Bane [Tom Hardy] has much more than just vendetta in mind. He has a painful past, a disturbing present and a terrifying future laid out for himself as well as citizens of Gotham.
It is this very surety of the plot and the complications that it leads to which makes 'The Dark Knight Rises' a tout watch despite it's running length of over two and a half hours, really long for a Hollywood action-drama. Still, not once are you enticed to check your cellphone or get into a stray conversation with your partner as the narrative moves ahead because Nolan ensures that practically every scene has a reason for it's presence in the final cut.
This means that he builds the drama a tad slowly, establishes his characters all over again (for the benefit of those select few who aren't really well versed with the 'Batman' saga) and then starts opening the cards, only to lead to a momentum that stays on till the end. What makes it all the more remarkable is the fact that Nolan doesn't rely entirely on visuals or action to help in this endeavour. Instead, he ensures that the script is so powerful that even when the characters just encounter a face-off and are indulging in a war of words, there is enough intrigue created that ensures audience don't move at all.
This is evidenced in the sequence where Morgan Freeman walks through the latest inventions with Batman/Wayne or the Board decides to thrown him out when he turns bankrupt or business woman Miranda [Marion Cotillard] takes charge of the company or most importantly, Batman and Bane take on each other in a dark tunnel. The drama just doesn't slip from this point on as Batman is thrown into a pit and is now challenged to find his way back up, something that no man in the past had ever managed.
Meanwhile, as Bane goes about turning Gotham into a war zone and leads to an immense political, social and economic unrest, you know where the film is leading towards. The city starts disintegrating and though for a while the story takes a turn a la '2012' (something that one doesn't really mind), what with explosions all over the story and cars being stacked up, it is soon back to drama as the real plans of Bane are revealed. The rugby sequence is the pick of the lot and later with Batman finally finding himself in the middle of action all over again, it is time for applause.
Due to such tout drama, one doesn't really mind that the various vehicles used by Batman come on screen only sporadically because even their 'special appearance' leaves a huge impact (unlike many other super hero or other action affairs where such gimmicks fill the screen more than the actual drama). Meanwhile, even though Catwoman Selina (Anne Hathaway, in not quite a defining part) accompanying Batman only occasionally, you don't really complain.
What you do end up complaining are two things. (Spoilers ahead) First and foremost, the climactic sequence around a ticking bomb and Batman dropping it in sea is oh-so-passÃ©. Moreover, it isn't really adrenalin pumping, as one would have expected. Really, a better climax could have made 'The Dark Knight Rises' exciting till the very end. Secondly, and most importantly, how much does one misses Heath Ledger and his 'Joker' act. Bane is a fine villain but then he is truly comic book and isn't scary at all. Moreover, with a face that is covered by a mask all the time, you just don't get to see his meanness.
It is due to such reasons that 'The Dark Knight Rises' turns out to be a highly entertaining affair but not quite a classic that many films belonging to this genre have turned out in the past. Still, for those who like to be entertained in a theatre while munching popcorn, this one is a truly gripping affair. More so, if you have been following tales of Batman for over the years and don't really intend to miss out on any of the episodes.