Home > Hollywood > Bidding Adieu to Nolan’s Gothic Gotham…

Bidding Adieu to Nolan’s Gothic Gotham…

The storm arrived. The fire rose. And now there is calm…

While we all recover from yet another visual delight and an arresting cinematic experience from Chris Nolan, I have mixed feelings. “The Dark Knight Rises” is an almost “purr-fect” conclusion to Nolan’s epic vision of Gotham and his interpretation of the Bruce Wayne aka Batman saga. The internet has been rife with praises from both critics and the audience alike (except for the handful of critics who “dared” to criticize the film…and got slammed by the fans!) since the movie’s release last week.

I had been counting days, minutes and seconds before the movie unfolded in front of me in the theatre…and even though I couldn’t avoid reading some of the critics’ reviews prior to my watching it, I was still amazed. Amazed at Nolan’s storytelling abilities. Amazed at Tom Hardy’s Bane…even though he remains behind a “mask” throughout. Amazed at Anne Hathaway, Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Gary Oldman. Amazed at how good Micheal Cane still is, at this age. Amazed at Hans Zimmer’s stupendous, thumping and ominous background score. Amazed at the jaw-dropping visuals…truly worthy of a superhero film. And amazed at Christian Bale’s wonderful portrayal of both Batman and Bruce Wayne.

Not everyone likes Nolan’s style of storytelling (Jim Emerson details his gripe with the director’s storytelling technique in a fair amount of detail on his Scanners blog…). But for me, its “so-what”?? Every director has a unique style, a method behind his/her madness..be it Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen, Ridley Scott, Quentin Tarantino, Michel Haneke or PT Anderson. And so does Christopher Nolan. So why pick on him…and him alone?

There is no doubt that “The Dark Knight” was a tough act to follow. And Heath Ledger’s Joker a tough villian to compete with. Sure the movie attempts to do too much with too many characters. Agreed that Nolan gives us a dark, grim view into today’s headlines, with Class Wars, Occupy Wall Street, Financial Crisis, Terrorism and what have you. But defying the usual “third movie curse” (Spiderman 3, Alien 3, Back to the Future 3, Jurassic Park 3, etc.), “The Dark Knight Rises” ends the trilogy on a such a high and positive note that you can’t help but stand up and clap in the end…with the rest of the audience…as I did!!

And yet I have mixed feelings now. While Nolan has now put to bed a story that he started eight years ago with “Batman Begins“, I also feel that his decision to do so could not have come at a better time than this. I list below my Top Five Reasons as to why now was the right time for all of us to bid adieu to Nolan’s Gothic Gotham:

5.) Coming up next…A Back-to-Back Nolan Feast

For the past eight years, Chris Nolan has interjected his Batman movies with films like “The Prestige” and “Inception” which gave us a glimpse into the director’s mind outside of the dark world of Batman. With the trilogy now being complete, we wouldn’t have to wait long before seeing more original back-to-back creations of his devious mind.

4.) How much darker can darkness get?

OK…so if “The Dark Knight” was dark, TDKR took us into the abyss!! It doesn’t get any darker than this in a superhero film. Sure we’ve all seen our share of “Seven” and “Dragon Tattoo” movies, but a superhero movie needs to lighten up a bit. This was mass hysteria and total panic and utter chaos and complete carnage. I am not complaining about TDKR but if Nolan had continued the trend with another Batman movie, I would have thrown my hands up in the air, gasping for some air to breathe…

3.) Is that writer’s fatigue?

The Nolan Brothers and David Goyer kept their heads on their shoulders when writing the scripts for all three pictures. It is pretty clear that they knew which direction they wanted the trilogy to go, after “Batman Begins” and the writing kept getting better and more expressive. The characters in the subsequent films were much well drawn-out and the conversations were more intelligent. However, as some would say….it was also dangerously close to become too vague and abstract for a superhero movie. And as a friend of mine rightfully pointed out, it is evident that Warner Bros. arm-twisted them with the ending of TDKR…albeit to a smaller extent. And that is when the originality would start fading.

2.) Beware! Tired actors ahead.

Stars get tired. Period. They want to move on to another life…to another role…to another character. Eight years is a long, long time…especially for a talented cast like this one, who have the ability to play wide-ranging roles. (See Bale in “The Machinist” and “The Fighter“…or Morgan Freeman in “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Million Dollar Baby“.) And it would be very hard for me to imagine Nolan’s Gotham without Christian Bale donning the Batman garb…without Micheal Cane’s Alfred or without Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon.

1.) A Graceful Exit

It just was time. Its as simple as that. With the trilogy at its peak of innovation, with the storytelling and direction as its best and with all the actors giving their best, there could not be a better time to quit and end the story here than now. And Nolan has ended it with a bang!

The Summer of 2012 has seen the superhero movies graph go higher and higher as the months passed by. It started with the pure popcorn introduction of “The Avengers“, went on to show us a new and more humane “Amazing Spiderman” and has now ended with the scarily lofty “Dark Knight Rises“. It will be a summer to remember for comic book fans and for avid moviegoers. I will surely miss this Dark Knight and  never seeing Nolan’s Gotham City again. But I thank him for bringing a fitting superhero end to a superhero summer.

Why so serious, folks? Just Rise!!

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