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The end begins:The Dark Knight Rises

 

Christopher Nolan is arguably one of the greatest director of this            generation.Memento,Inception,the Prestige are evidence enough.The Batman movie franchise was left dead in the water before Nolan rebooted it with the brilliant Batman Begins.It was the first movie which really captured the true essence of this iconic character.With an unmistakable cast of Christian Bale(best Batman & Bruce Wayne ever),Sir Michael Caine,Morgan Freeman,Gary Oldman,Nolan created the definitive Batman film.Gotham City felt like a living,breathing Metropolis & it realistically explained every tiny detail of Batman like the gliding mechanism on his cape,the Batcave,how he got his Batmobile & other gadgets.It all made sense.It became as real as it can be.Nolan shifted the Batman saga from the world of comics to the real world.

But it was just the begining.Along came The Dark Knight in 2008 & changed everything.It won 2 academy awards,became the 4th movie to gross over 1 billion & earned universal acclaim.It is called one of the greatest movies ever made & one of the best movies of the decade.(Currently #9 on IMDB top 250 so don’t bother arguing).But it did much more than that.It changed the way we looked at comics to film adaptations.TDK is a high watermark  in every possible way.In a famous moment in the movie,Commissioner Gordon said about Batman–“He’s the hero Gotham deserves,but not the one it needs right now”,as true as that was,TDK was THE movie this iconic character deserved.TDK also boasts the unforgettable,menacing performance of the late,great Heath Ledger(R.I.P).As great as Jack Nicholson was in this role back in 1991,Ledger was THE Joker.”I am an agent of chaos”-Ledger captured the true essence of this iconic villain in one of the rawest,finest performance seen in a very long time.

After watching this epic movie for the first time,I thought-“Man,how can they ever top this?”Many thought Chris Nolan was done making Batman movies after this when he began work on Inception.But here’s where it gets interesting.After release of Inception,Nolan confirmed The third & final chapter is in the works & the title will be ‘The Dark Knight rises’.Nearly an year after,as of the writing of this article,the production of the film has been completed.Only the editing process remains & the movie will hit the theaters in July 20,2012.Several trailers have already hit the internet & they all hint at several huge changes in the setting & characters.Most notably the trailers claim this film as the end of the line for Batman.Now in all probability,Nolan will not kill Batman in the movie,that’s not gonna happen.It remains a bit mysterious at the moment.

In case you’re wondering,The Big guy is called Bane,a fearsome villain who relies on his awesome physical ability & equally capable intellect to wreak chaos.The cowl/mask of Batman lies broken,probably the result of a brutal 1on1 fight which is also hinted on the trailers.Bane,who uses a mysterious drug called Venom to enhance his strength to inhuman level, made his debut on the acclaimed Knightfall story arc which continued through 3 comics in which through a calculated series of events,Bane beat a weakened Batman to a bloody mess and broke his back in a unforgettable moment in DC comics history.Take a look–   TDKR takes place after 8 years from the aftermath of TDK.After taking the blame for the crimes commited by Harvey Dent,Batman is viewed as a criminal & vigilante to the people of Gotham City.Bruce Wanyne hangs his costume & retires permanently after TDK.As a result,he becomes a bitter man frozen in time when crime & corruption climbs higher than ever in Gotham and a whole  new villain(Bane) emerges.This is the premise of TDKR.

The most important fact is TDKR is the last Batman film in Nolan era & will also be the most challenging movie for Nolan in the sense that it has some really big shoes to fill.Rises is the most anticipated film of 2012 without a question.This is the movie where the expectations are so high that hasn’t been seen in Hollywood since a very long time.It’s the successor to the peerless Dark Knight & promises to deliver an ending to the trilogy.The movie doesn’t need to be just great,it needs to be something that’ll go down the history & remembered and talked by people for decades like The Star Wars saga,Lord of the rings for example.Delivering an epilogue to the Batman story arc which is both satisfying & true to the spirit of the character is easier said than done.

Batman is arguably the greatest comic book character.One who is as real as any human can get.Why,you ask?Because besides striking terror in the hearts of criminals,deep down Bruce Wayne is a flawed character tormented by raging inner demons and who holds himself responsible for the death of his parents & his love interest in TDK,Rachel Dawes.On the surface,he is a millionaire playboy & head of Wayne enterprises,one who spends his time dating gorgeous supermodels and living a luxurious life.But as very few knows,it’s all a big disguise for the people of Gotham and villains so no one can connect the dots between him & the caped crusader.Under it all,he is just as lost as anybody else.He is torn between being a legend & finding his own personal happiness.His only family is his trusty old butler Alfred(played by Sir Michael Caine).There is no Bruce Wayne,his only existence is in Batman where he channels his rage & anger to make the world a better,safer place.Bruce Wayne lives in pain & Batman completes him.

Bruce Wayne in his Mother’s graveyard
In his Father’s graveyard

These vulnerabilities are what makes Batman so endearing.Because what possible  engagement is there in a totally competent,totally fearless & totally righteous character?Human frailty is what makes us feel something for other human beings,weather in fiction or reality.All the best superhero stories are about the failings & flaws in their character,the things that make them not super heroic,but human.This is what I personally like about these icons.Anything they achieve comes at a cost,how they respond to that cost is what makes them heroes.

Delivering a satisfying conclusion to this iconic character is quite possibly one of the biggest challenges Nolan & David.S.Goyer have faced.But we Batman fans have every reason to believe in Nolan.If there’s any director capable of this task,it’s him.We hope that Chris Nolan will blow us away on 20 th July & deliver a movie that is as immortal as Batman himself.

References: IGN.com,wikipedia(Bane)

What do you folks think about all this?Will Dark Knight rises become what it aims for?Sound off at the comment section.