Here there be spoilers and a grouchy moviegoer. You have been warned.
First, there are three good things in The Dark Knight Rises:
1. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. She’s funny, dangerous and the only one who can make you momentarily forget the pomposity of the script.
2. the possibility that Joseph Gordon-Levitt may get his own movie, even if it is as Robin (meh).
3. From the end, it seems fair to conclude that this is the last Batman film Christopher Nolan will direct, which is superb news because clearly Nolan is bored of Batman. (Hello, Man of Steel).
While coming out of the theatre, a few women wondered about this alternative dimension in which a Rajasthani warlord’s daughter and an Arab produce a child that looks like Marion Cotillard. Then again, if Liam Neeson can be an Arab then Cotillard can be half-Indian half-Arab. It’s also a world in which Jodhpur is a few hours’ trek from Amrika and a broken back can be reset so that our hero is fighting fit within 20 days of his vertebrae being popped out of shape. Just so you know the logic of the world in which The Dark Night Rises operates.
Now for the longer list. It’s not comprehensive because I wasn’t in reviewer mode (which means I wasn’t taking notes) and I didn’t find it a particularly memorable film so I don’t remember everything that seemed tiresome/problematic, but anyway. Here we go.
1. Did Deepak Chopra write the dialogues for this film? Everyone, from a nameless orphan to Alfred to Bane, spouts lines that are so weighed down by the need to be symbolic and *deep* that they end up sounding bombastic. And, contrary to what Shaggy said, that isn’t truly fantastic.
2. Congratulations, Christopher Nolan. In the scene at the grave, you’ve managed to make an actor of Michael Caine’s calibre come across as hammy as a weepy mother from vintage Bollywood. Also, this might be just me, but I kept remembering Rajesh Khanna’s last scene in Disco Dancer when Marion Cotillard was crumpled in that weird way and expending the last of her energy reserve to tell us how she’s flooding the reactor.
3. I seriously don’t get it. You have Tom Hardy and you cover his face, obscure his voice, hide his body. Might as well have got Hrithik Roshan to play Bane.
4. Erm, why was that attack on the stock exchange needed? And before you tell me, “to leave behind an iPad-type thing that has Wayne’s fingerprints to make it seem as though he’s gambling with his money”, surely billionaire Bruce Wayne would have someone who does things like buy and sell shares for him? Daggett didn’t need to do any of this fingerprint business to reduce Wayne to bankruptcy.
5. You’ve funded an extremely expensive project that is critical to your secret plan of blowing up Gotham a la Hiroshima-Nagasaki and you’ve not been allowed to see any developments made for the project. Yet you have continued funding it (because you’re patient and biding your time, presumably). Then, the only people standing between you and the project give you access to it and tell you everything you need to know, including emergency settings etc. Now you can carry out what you’ve spent years planning. What do you do?
a) Carry out your dastardly evil plan immediately and get the hell out of there so that you can savour your victory by seeing disaster footage of Gotham on tv
b) Give yourself a deadline of 23 days and hang around Gotham, chilling with your anarchist buddies.
If you picked b), you’re an idiot. You’re also a weird villain and your name is Miranda Tate/ Talia. Or you’re Christopher Nolan and you need to make the movie last longer than 40 minutes. This is why I tweeted that it was a pointless film. We spent 3-odd hours watching what was achieved on the basis of resources, opportunities and information provided within the first 45 minutes.
6. The other reason for the 23-day time limit is that if Miranda Tate/Talia blows up Gotham the moment she has access to the reactor/bomb, then Bane — who seems to have sleek Bose speakers attached to his mask; how else is he heard by prisoners inside the high-security prison even though he’s standing miles away, outside the main gate? — can’t come in to establish Nolan’s version of a parallel to the Occupy movement. Not only is that part of the film completely unnecessary, more significantly perhaps, Nolan seems to suggest that the equivalents of the protestors are the violent scum of the earth whose rightful place is behind bars. Left-leaning Hipsters, weep.
Random note 1: The reason Bane is pro-anarchy? We never really know. Is it because he just likes to watch things fall apart? Is he working according to Miranda Tate/Talia’s orders? That’s another bizarre relationship. She keeps leaving him to die. At least when she was breaking out of prison, she didn’t have a choice. But she’d rather leave Bane to die in a nuclear blast than truss up/ kill Batman and take Bane along with her. But then, Miranda Tate/Talia is one of the more hastily-drawn characters in the film. The explanation given for why she goes all “Die Batman/Gotham Die” in the first place is cursory and unsatisfactory.
Random note 2: There’s a short romantic film to be made in which Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle go from cafe to cafe in Florence, hoping it’s the one Alfred comes to for his glass of whatever it is he drinks.