The Dark Knight Rises – Critique. *SPOILER ALERT*

Opinion, Reviews

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t already watched the movie, please go and watch it before you read ahead. This review is filled with spoilers and is meant only for those who have already watched the film and are looking for an outspoken, unbiased opinion.

The Dark Knight Rises?

It’s been a long 4 years since Christopher Nolan left me awe struck, staring at people in the theatre, looking for approval, having just witnessed one of the greatest entertainment movies of a lifetime. Honestly, I’ve never been into superheroes, I’ve never read comic books and I find the idea quite silly. So I walked into the theatre with no if not low expectations. And that speaks a lot for the movie, and then a little more, because I came away with a cinema experience I will remember for a long time to come, or until the sequel. At least that’s what I told myself. Finally, today was going to be that day of reckoning. I sat there, trying my best not to have any preconceived expectations. Of course the hype that had been built up around its release was of no help. In the back of my head, I knew it was going to be a good movie, but I wasn’t going to be happy with just good. No, I wanted brilliant, better than before! Isn’t that the whole point of sequels? I sat, waiting patiently for the crowd to stop hooting and whistling at the starting credits. And then there was silence (I wish).

2 hours and 44 minutes is quite a long movie by Hollywood standards. But no one seemed to complain; so far so good. The very first thing I noticed about the movie was its numerous loose ends. The story line is far from tight. It isn’t convincing and leaves several questions unanswered. Batman seems to appear at locations he has no prior knowledge of, just in time, and in succession, which the movie depicts in real time. His sudden and timely cinematic appearances are greeted with loud cheers from the crowd. One might say, “He is Batman after all”. True. However there is only a certain amount of superhero prowess that can be overlooked. It is greatly over done here.

Bruce Wayne has some serious health issues going on. A doctor taking a look at him suggests that the hero is nearing the end of his time, his knees, kidneys and brain tissue all in rough shape. But a quick strap on brace later, all is forgotten. Batman is also suited up in top notch armor, bulletproof, impenetrable (but not to knives?). Miranda Tate seems to figure out his only weak spot and stabs Batman with the tiniest of daggers, leaving him incapacitated. Thugs with automatic weapons don’t seem as trigger happy when up against Batman at point blank range. Bane’s informant is never revealed. Batman breaks his vertebra, which gets mended with one hard punch from a care taker assigned by Bane himself. Bruce then proceeds to effortlessly pump out perfect push-ups like the boss that he is. He is also conveniently placed near a Doctor who prefers to give cryptic advice sitting on his butt rather than offering a helping hand. A little child is able to clear a jump 4 times ‘her’ height. Bruce Wayne on the other hand finds it quite the task. Every time he decides to have a go at it, there is a well-built bouncer waiting on him, ready with a rope to break his fall. How this fall doesn’t break his already sore back, I will never know. Also present are the two time winning State Penitentiary Choir Champions, ready to burst out into chant. This prison is ‘hell on earth’. Open cells, no guards, well fed inmates, cable TV and safety rope. Fine, I might be being over cynical on that last one, but these points and so many more kept nagging at my brain, and many a time I found myself asking my unfortunate neighbor if he was buying into this.

Bane’s character and portrayal is another let down. His dialogues were some of the best in the movie and I loved his voice acting. My problem here was the mismatch between his persona and voice. A little grudge would do him good. The concept and depiction of his face mask is also an area they didn’t put enough thought into. A detachable tube appears to be his lifeline, but Batman would rather beat the crap out of him than fight like a woman. The mask is also set-apart, with no tubing to any other parts of his body, making me wonder what the mask even does to keep him out of pain and alive. Kudos though, to Tom Hardy, who packed on 30 pounds for that monstrous body. There are however unconfirmed rumors that CGI was used for the physique for Bane. I’d leave that up for debate.

I cannot help but question the writers’ creativity. They seemed to have laid all hopes on the visual effects and cinematography to carry the film through, which is exactly what happened. Undoubtedly the movie was a visual treat accompanied by a terrific sound track, but with all superhero movies now setting precedence, it is something you would expect buying a first day first show ticket to an anticipated sequel.

As wannabe responsible viewers and critics we have to define what entertainment is. Is it just shiny, high definition CGI? What ever happened to storyline? The acting in this movie was good, nothing out of the ordinary. There were a couple of dreadful performances however; far below-par. Marion Cotillard’s portrayal of Miranda Tate was emotionless and failed to garner initially the possibility of her significance to the plot. Even after the shift in her character’s role (a major twist in the plot), I saw no change, still straight-faced and void of emotion, not very different from her role in Inception, a role I now understand why she portrayed so well. I’m sure there will be hard opposition to face here, but we are all entitled to our own opinions. Her natural disposition seems to carry her off as a great actor, a pat on the back to her choice of films. Her death scene in the movie was a farce. It reminded me of deaths in old Chinese martial arts movies, where the victim dies with an impulsive jerk. Sigh. Matthew Modine who played Foley, the 2nd in command to Commissioner Gordon was also quite the disappointment. I still can’t tell his character’s significance to the movie. His death failed to pull together a sigh of disappointment from the audience. His fluctuating character had me second guessing his role. By the time he was killed (quite stupidly at that) I was indifferent.

The final battle which seemed like a parody on the Spartan charge was laughable and foolish. 3000 police officers (cannon fodder) with hand pistols, shouting battle cries and charging head on towards machine guns and rocket launchers was nothing short of comical. Bullets mind you still missed their target, seemingly ricocheting off the ground. Melee combat appeared overtly coerced.

The audience I shared my viewing experience with would ever so often burst into cheers, howling and whistling at every little thing throughout the movie. For god sakes, it’s a movie! It made me wonder, “Maybe the people do want a hero, not a hero they deserve, but a hero they need.”

BADONKADONK!

Easily the most memorable moment for me was a trailing shot of Anne Hathaway riding the Batpod (Batman’s motorcycle), her rear end in all its glory and splendor. It wasn’t however just her perfectly shaped and supple tush that I remember her for. Anne Hathaway’s performance was absolutely brilliant. Her dialogues were executed with class and panache, for me the only saving grace of the movie.

After watching this movie I couldn’t help but think of the huge part Heath Ledger’s Joker played in the success of its prequel. I missed him. It’s unfair I think to compare The Joker and Bane, but the absence of a strong, well-written and dark character shows. Bane’s emotional attachment to Miranda Tate was uncalled for and took so much away from the buildup to the character and what it stood for, which ought to have been pure evil.

I thought the fate of Bruce Wayne quite predictable, mainly because of the tagline. It was never going to be so obviously predictable which meant it was going to be clichéd. A loss-loss situation. The ending nevertheless was well played out, and managed to capture the audience, a glimpse of Nolan’s true capabilities. I did also like the subtle way in which Robin was brought in and introduced. His part in a future endeavor now set in motion. I am also told this movie kept quite true to the original comics. Huge brownie points for that from my side!

Is it a must watch? Yes it is. If not purely for the hype, then for the stunning visual effects and action packed cinema. Others will see it differently, because others like to jump onto a bandwagon, in this case blind praise for a long awaited block buster. Alas true lovers of the series and those who appreciate a well written plot over visuals will be left disappointed. I give it an 8/10 solely for good cinematography, mind blowing CGI and Anne Hathaway.

Advertisements

4 Anecdotes of the Most Emasculating Bromance Moments of My Life

Fiction, Humor, Semi-Fiction

” That’s right, we’re the Weaner Brothers! “

 

#1. All Men Think They are Great Kissers!

The last time Jeff and I kissed was back in fourth grade. I din wanna do it but he just kept insisting! What was I supposed to say, No? He kept telling me how lonely he was, and how nobody treated him right and all he wanted was to get back at Dorathy Perkins, the girl responsible for ratting him out to Mr. Jenkins’ during English Vocabulary.

Dorathy: Excuse me, Mr. Jenkins? Jeff has been staring at my boobs for the last 20 minutes..ugh!

Jeff: WHAT?!? What boobs?!? I’ve watched you since the 2nd grade, but all I ever see is cheap canvas and an unfinished painting of Keira Knightley.

Mr. Jenkins: Jeff, you’re going to have plenty of time for this when you’re my age, right now your education is what’s going to make the difference between looking at breasts and actually touching them.

Jeff: But Mr. Jenkiiiiiins…

Mr. Jenkins: That’s quite enough Jeff, sit down and say three Hail Marys. Dorathy, after class, my chambers!

Dorathy Perkins. See what I mean?

A quick recital later Jeff turned to me with a look in his eyes I recognized all too well. We were about to do something very bad and he was going to tell me what. He leaned in as is required for pinky swear secrets, to disclose his evil plan, when all of a sudden some uncontrollable force took me over. I rushed forth with new found impulse and before either of us knew it, we had shared our first kiss. Our lips met for what felt like an eternity, and as if that wasn’t enough they pressed against each other with considerable momentum smearing our faces like birthday cake into each others. Ryan of course thought it was hilarious that he single-handedly orchestrated the single, most foul moment of our lives.

We haven’t spoken of the incident till date. It’s better that way. Not talking about sensitive issues is how grown men deal with their problems. It works doesn’t it? Ryan and I are still the best of friends, AND we both know we’re great kissers!

  #2. I jammed Charlie’s finger in the classroom door!

I din like Charlie a whole lot much. Forget the fact that he was my then best friend, what was with his incessant addiction to sexual innuendos? But in all honesty the guy was quite the ladies’ man. He had it all, good looks, a rich father, dead mother, betrothed sister and he was always PACKING, or so she said.

Lunch time had neared its end and Charlie and I were up to no good. The usual you’d have to say. I kept watch while Charlie stood rubbing chalk over the edge of the front desk. It had always been Professor Praful’s favorite spot to lean his genitalia against. He would sway in a to and fro motion that left one hypnotized, though after a while it was plain creepy.

A healthy 2 minutes into chalking Charlie decided it would be funny to bring up the story of my first time. He said the chalk reminded him of it. Long story short, out of nowhere he decides to candidly bring my mother into the picture. Being the sweet mother that she is, I had to defend her honor! A subtle motion and the gloves were off. With the back of my right hand I then proceeded to slap Charlie tight across the face, just like Archie in RocknRolla. Oh the satisfaction!!

P.S. It was the middle of winter. It was cold. I was wearing gloves ok?

Charlie was understandably very urinated off!

That didn’t work.

I on the other hand knew what was coming and made a bee-line for the exit. Now now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As I ran passed the door I had one of those moments, you know, when your brain tells you to do stupid stuff? So I’m running passed the door and as I go by, I pull on the door handle to shut it behind me. But Charlie was right there. Quick on his feet, the little scrawny bugger was reaching out to grab a hold of me. The door shut hard, almost like Charlie’s finger provided no resistance. I turned around, still in the dark about the events that were unfolding behind me. The tip of Charlie’s middle finger had come clean off; his nail stood solitary, blood dripping down his hand. My heart sank.

I was in dementia. All I could think of was that it had been entirely my fault. My actions alone had led to my best friend losing his most used finger. It wasn’t even his left hand but his right. It made me feel horrible from the inside, like the morning after a swig of cheap rum. The next day I spent rehearsing the explanation for what I had done. I hadn’t yet gotten to the why. Boy was I gonna get into trouble for this!

A day went by, and then a week. Not a soul had questioned me yet. Something wasn’t right. What was going on? They fixed Charlie up good. He was still missing a considerable part of his finger but you know what they say, there’s nothing a good set of pliers and a few stitches can’t fix.

Charlie said he never understood why I would apologize. His family moved away in the coming year. We speak seldom and brief. But that was when I truly understood the meaning of Bromance. It’s been 8 years now. Charlie NEVER rat me out.

I do not lie.

 

#3. A Night ‘Hanging Out’ with the Boys.

Not exactly what I meant…Is that a cat?

 There is no better sound than that of grown men laughing hysterically at sub-par perverted jokes. It’s one of the prime reasons women prefer hanging out with a bunch of imbecilic boys who enjoy more, the simple things in life. But tonight was different, an all-male affair with the sole agenda of getting kicked out of destination unknown.

The troupe included my first kiss Jeff, Daniel the Queen Slayer, as he cared to be addressed, Adam or Gorilla, as he didn’t care to be addressed and I, Brother Kierst, a name that had a very porn star cum black brother from another mother feel to it, a name I was beginning to like.

Have you ever notice a BRO handshake? It’s like a mutual seizure. The more impromptu the better! Throw in a little popping and locking, a shoulder pat, chest bump and as long as all contact remains above the waist, you’re good to go. What joy does it give us? I don’t know. It’s probably one of the few times men can touch each other without feeling violated.

Me: MY HOMIES!!!!

Daniel: BITCHES!!!

Adam: WASSSAPNIN BRADARS?!

Jeff: STOP TOUCHING ME!

Still, not what I meant..

Jeff had been left scarred since the 4th grade. He needed to talk about it—we already have. What happened next is a classic example of the simplicity of the male mind, always seeking joy in the smaller things life has to offer. Daniel had been going on and on about this sponge football—he had called every one of us at least twice since dawn to boast of its’ sponginess, and of the possibility of actually playing football with it. Yet again, the subject had to be brought up and this time believe it or not went up for debate.

Adam: In the HALL?!

Daniel: YES, in the HALL!! Why not? There isn’t much stuff in here, you can just move it out for a while, I’ll help— it’s perfect!

Adam: Yeah…that’s what she said… *looks around the room for approval*

It took a while before everyone got it.

The debate didn’t last very long, furniture already being moved around, a full sized mirror placed precariously against an inner door, curtains drawn and music turned all the way up. I won’t go as far as saying it was one of the most joyous days of my life, but certainly one of the more boyish moments I had enjoyed in recent past. Unfortunately for me the day wasn’t done with its share of boyish moments.

Now relaxing, everything back where it belonged and helplessly inebriated, we sat showing off our battle scars and talking of tales long gone by. A quick trip to the loo was all I wanted, all I needed! If only I could hold it in till the song was over. Avicii’s Levels had always been a favorite. So I took it upon myself to see how long I could last. Did you know the track’s length is five and a half minutes? I didn’t. But it wasn’t too late; the toilet door was a hop, skip and jump away. I braced myself.

Have you ever had that one person who always catches you doing something weird? I was that person for Adam. He stood there, too stupid to move. How was I to know he was in there? These doors have locks for a reason you know?

Adam: DUDE WTF?!?

I couldn’t help notice.

Me: WTF is that?

Adam: What?! The tattoo?

Me: NO! YOUR PENI..!! Wha.. the.. AND YOUR TATTOO!! WHY THE FUCK DO YOU HAVE A TATTOO ON YOUR PENIS???

Fine, that was how it actually happened!

The rest of the night was a vague memory. I do remember Adam profusely giving explanation after explanation for having inked his privates. I do remember a night filled with jokes on the lines of ‘Remember, if you shake it more than thrice you’re playing with it’. Adam also had a rather strange request.

Adam: You HAVE to show me yours now!

Me: What? Why?

Adam: To restore the balance to our friendship! You know how mine looks, you have the unfair advantage!! Do you have any idea how emasculating this is for me?

It WAS more emasculating for him than it was for me. Fortunately I had sobered down by then. There’s no telling what might have transpired that night had I not.

Adam, after he came out of the closet.

  #4. The Break Up!

 Anna was the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on. Everything about her had a surreal breeze of effortlessness to it. Posh yet indifferent to opinion, that to me was a woman!

Unfortunately she didn’t always opine the same of me. We’d fight rarely, though only because “I’m sorry” was the most overlooked get out of jail card there is. I’d blurt it out quicker than a convicted felon sentenced to death. The words meant nothing to me. An avoided confrontation had always been a high point of my day.

Today was just another one of those days. Sadly my shortcomings far outweighed her pardon. I was set free, with no clue of what needed to be done to exonerate myself.

Thank God for silhouettes.

Devastated, I gave Jeff a call. He reluctantly agreed to partake in the healing process. This was Jeff’s least favorite thing to do—I knew. But drinks on me was all the motivation he necessitated.

An hour in and I had only skimmed the surface of my affection for her. The bartender who seemed to share my pain and love for tips made sure our liquid intake was never interrupted. Jeff was pleased. Now, two hours in, he was visibly disturbed. I knew he had been patiently listening to everything I had to say, but I also knew this was the last thing he would have wanted to be doing on a Saturday night. As we approached the 3 hour mark, Jeff stood up and walked off, abruptly ending the night early. I couldn’t blame him.

The next day I got an early morning wakeup call from Anna. It was a moment I had dreamt of during the night, to hear her voice again.

Me: Hello.

Anna: Who do you think you are? Sending your pariah friends to handle your affairs for you—and that too in MY HOUSE! The AUDACITY! Has your friend no respect?

Me: Baby, listen to me! I don’t know what you’re talking about but I’m gonna make everything alright, I promise, ok?

Anna: I told you I needed some time—YOU needed some time, to change, to stand on your own feet! But you don’t understand kind words do you?

The conversation went on. It was mostly her ranting and me apologizing. Over the course of the next 45 minutes she narrated to me how Jeff went over to her apartment the previous night and tried to patch things between her and I. First convincing, then arguing and eventually yelling profanity before slamming the gate and stomping away. She also accused him of returning later that night to supposedly take a piss on her front door, something I was not going to believe Jeff had done. It wasn’t like him. In my own fit of anger I lashed back at her, defending my pal, a guy who had stuck with me through thick and thin, a guy who didn’t have to share the blame for slamming the door in Principal Morgan’s face, a guy who didn’t have to get beat up because I double dared him to ask Melissa Hart for a strand of her hair so that we could preserve it for the day when cloning would become a reality, a guy who in the 2nd grade, used his sole handkerchief to clean wet dirt off my clothes when I went face first into a mud puddle. No, I was going to stand up for him, if not for myself!

No, that is not me egging Jeff on!

It was a long drive to get out of the city. Jeff and I didn’t share a word, except for singing in unison the chorus of Adelle’s Someone Like You. We drove till there was not another human in sight. We got out, rolled a joint and inhaled every bit of that loosey like it was our last.

Jeff: Hey man, I know you’re mad. I’m really sorry. I’ll go over and apologize on our way back.

Me: Naa, its cool man… Hey do you still need to borrow the bike tomorrow?

Jeff: Only if you wanna give it… I can take Janet out some other time… it’s no big deal..

Me: *passing the joint* did you really take a piss on her front door?

Jeff: *laughing* yeah…

Me: Sure, go ahead, take it. Just bring it back in one piece.

I had made my choice, the message already typed out. A push of a button and it was done. The message read, “Bitch, Fuck You.”

About me.

Opinion, Personal

About me?—it’s such a simple question but the answer so excruciatingly complex. A common misconception is associating an ‘about me’ with your likes and dislikes. The implied question is to describe yourself, not your interests, an ostensibly subtle but definite difference. Then again, one does not simply describe himself in writing to a stranger, no. It doesn’t work that way—it shouldn’t work that way. A scripted explanation would involve a thorough psychoanalysis which mind you would be more introspective and revealing than anything you will ever do to ‘find yourself’. Am I lost? Definitely not, it’s a figure of speech used to drive home a point, that penned self-introspection whether published or not is something I’d recommend to everyone. Is this my self-confessed litany? You’d have hoped so, unfortunately for you and fortunately for me, mines tucked away safe in a vault which I visit at times, similar to when you look through old pictures and remember the somebody you once were. It reminds me of where I come from, how far I’ve come and how much farther I can go.

My old about me, though far ahead of its years then, now so ghastly it leaves me sheepish. With a growing detachment from Facebook and the likes of it, I had lapsed memory of the incident. A sunset ago though I happened to come across the little provocative rascal, always looking for trouble, conceited, overtly rhetoric, uninformed, susceptible, forever young, immature, fearless, never an academic, but smart, ambitious, rebellious, comic, curious, receptive, in love, in need of a guiding hand, ended up using his own, pun intended.

I wouldn’t say I’ve changed much, rather possibly worse off. Experience has been my best friend, the lack of it my enemy. More profound in my thoughts, but that being subjective wouldn’t count. An immense amount of belief in one’s own ability, open minded, indifferent towards society, averse towards mediocrity, far more ambitious, now single, patient, carefree and happy in its truest sense. I take myself a lot more seriously now than I did not so long ago. My one drawback would be the inability to open myself up to a stranger or acquaintance. For the sake of using an awfully overused analogy, getting to know me would be like peeling back the layers of an onion one by one.

The unfortunate side to this self-description is its generalized applicability to anyone else. The secret here is writing not for anyone else, but for you. Publishing it could occur as an afterthought. Anyone who judges you thereafter is being impatient, rash and judgmental. No matter how much deference I have for writing, it can never replace a good old face to face human interaction no matter how uncomfortable that might be. Reading someone’s about me, no matter how well written and in-depth will never give you the unscathed picture. Not because the person conveniently chose to withhold certain uneasy details, but because we are so dissimilar at the most minute level, it is asking a tad too much of one to generalize himself at such a superficial degree.

The other annoyance about textual interaction is its inability to convey emotions, body language, speech and general persona(lity). But that’s pretty stupid to expect from a penned conversation isn’t it? Then why do we pursue talking, flirting or arguing via text messaging or online chat? Truth is it’s the same reason we enjoy reading. When reading any text we subconsciously tend to assume a whole baggage of intricacies related to the character in the book or the person we are conversing with, always preferring to assume what we want to assume. A majority of these assumptions turn out to be delusive, especially when you want to or already like the physical person at the other end of this virtual connection. The new age of the Internet has certainly made it easier to communicate but harder to appreciate and experience true human interaction, the way it was meant to be. Think about it.

It’s said, ‘The pen goes where the mind takes it’. Honestly I’ve never heard that before but to think a simple want to update my social profile ended up here—that’s all the validation I need.