Nolan’s Dark Knight: Superheroes Redefined

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’, the final episode of Nolan’s Dark Knight series of movies is already a hit, worldwide. Not a lot superhero movies have enjoyed a mass appeal amongst the audience that appreciate a sense of seriousness to characters and the plot, as the Dark Knight series, especially since the second movie in the series, ‘The Dark Knight’ came out in 2008. Christopher Nolan has been looked upon by many as ‘the’ brightest mind that Hollywood has ever been blessed with, and Chris has continuously proved his ability to collaborate with high quality actors, technical staff and sound artists to create movies that have almost redefined quite a few genres of modern English cinema. He’s a gifted artist, a director with a mind like that of a ‘scientist’, a director who pays attention to the tiniest of details, no matter how commercially successful the project is meant to be, the plot is always ‘complex’ enough to interest the intellectual audience (TDKR and ‘Batman Begins’ were very commercially appealing projects, ‘Batman Begins’ more so, in my opinion). Beginning with ‘Following’ in 1998, Nolan’s work has always left audiences awestruck. I attempt to summarize my view on his ‘Dark Knight’ series in this post, your comments are highly appreciated.

Defining Batman: ‘Batman Begins’ – 2005

Christopher Nolan was a big name in the industry by now, ‘Memento’ (2000) being the biggest contributor to his fame. However,  the project crafted under Warner Group’s banner was produced by the trio of Larry Franco, Charles Roven and Nolan’s wife Emma Thomas. I can’t exactly figure out why the movie was so commercially oriented (Chris admits that both TDK and Batman Begins were, so that he could fund his dream project ‘Inception’, however I don’t agree with him about the former). Even then, it was one hell of a movie, one I won’t recommend you miss.

Bruce Wayne, heir to a multi billion dollar empire, is suddenly orphaned when a petty thief accidentally shoots both his Mom and Dad while attempting a  loot on them. Bruce, totally shocked and enraged by the incident decides to avenge his parents’ death and goes on a ‘vacation’ to discover a way to do so, it’s then that he meets Ra’as al Ghul and trains as a part of his ninja cult. When back in Gotham, Bruce reinvents the ideals his father had nurtured in him and realizes that liberating Gotham from organized crime would be the most suitable way he could satisfy both, his anger and the piece of his father in him. Nolan helped audiences explore Batman’s saga in a whole new fashion, essentially redefining Batman for the world.

Chaos: ‘The Dark Knight’ – 2008

It’s rare that a villain in a superhero movie is better hailed than the superhero himself, and TDK’s Joker adds to the list of these exceptional achievers, thanks to Heath Ledger’s brilliant work. Joker, a psychopath that doesn’t necessarily require reasons to his actions, strikes Gotham and spreads chaos everywhere. Batman, the city’s savior collaborates with the police and the new, resolute DA, Harvey Dent to restore stability and peace in the city. Joker however, had his own plans which he executes well enough to get batman to a point where he had to make a choice no superhero has ever been depicted to make in history. Those who appreciate quality cinema would agree that this movie totally redefined the audience’s idea of a superhero movie, however it’s not just about how it ends but also how the movie progresses, how characters are defined. Nolan’s work on TDK was the best you’ll ever see on a superhero movie and this movie goes down as the best action/superhero movie ever, in my book.

The Colorado shooting, is an extreme example of how this movie and it’s characters touched the masses, however that’s what would be remembered by most and not what the makers depict batman did to preserve a calm and crime-free environment in his city. I hope that joker’s remembered as a character not just for his notoriety but for the fashion in which it was portrayed by Heath.

Testing what’s old: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ – 2012

The legend ends and it ends well, the ‘epic’ conclusion was as epic as it was claimed to be. Totally original, exhausting and involving piece of cinema from Nolan again. Batman, Gotham’s notoriously acclaimed ‘dark knight’ is now gone as the city is relieved from organized crime. But just when police seemed to have a hold of things, a huge underground movement headed by Bane, originally kept secret for long and funded by ill-willed corporate elements from the Wayne Empire, surfaces. While Bruce Wayne let’s go of the business and isolates himself to remorse Rachel’s death, the Wayne Empire hits the lows. Batman is eventually made aware of how much the city needed him now and that he had to return so that the city could be stabilized again. Revealing any further would be spoiling the experience for those who haven’t yet watched the film, so I’d stop here and only say that this movie depicts the dark knight being challenged to his physical and mental limits. Nolan explores details beautifully once again, and another tip would be, don’t be scared of the movie being 2hrs and 44 mins in length, trust me, you’d be begging for more when it ends. Robin’s coming? I don’t know, but it’d be awesome if he does.

It’s sad that the series ends, but every legend has to end, though it remains in our hearts forever. ‘Dark Knight’ which I’d prefer to call it, over ‘Nolan’s Batman Series’, I won’t hesitate to say is the best superhero movie series ever beyond any doubt. So, if you’re a Nolan/Batman/Cinema fan, you need to go and watch the movie now and experience the end of the  legend in a memorable way.


Linkin Park’s ‘LIVING THINGS’: +/-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For people who’re visiting my blog for the first time through Linkin Park India Unlimited, I’m Linkin Park India Unlimited‘s owner and founder, Chirag Shekhar (the URL spells it alright, still just for the sake of the people a bit on the weaker side).

Living Things

Lost in the Echo, marks the beginning with a vibrant synth tune and a visibly Shinoda influenced drum beat. The song picks up with Mike rapping as brilliantly as ever while Chester blends in his gifted awesomeness starting off with ‘With these promises broken…‘. Overall a pretty impressive track. Using quite a few the tools from the toolbox, it fits in perfectly as the starter for me as far as the thought I infer was behind this album goes. (4/5)

In My Remains, again uses a lot of tools from the toolbox. A promising, exciting digital sound evolves to a beautiful rock edged song, in classic Linkin Park style. ‘Like an army falling one by one by one…’, reminds me of ‘So come down, far below…’ on ‘Blackout’. I don’t mind people calling a hugely Hybrid Theory influenced track, but seriously I don’t get it. Seemed more like MTM+ATS with a only tiny little tinge of HT, to me. (4/5)

Burn it Down, I’ve never heard a catchier synth based bass riff ever before! Chester’s melodious vocals decorate the song beautifully. A hard, constant drum beat only adds to the the beauty for me. Can’t seem to justify the music behind Mike’s rap though, it’s a bit too electronic for me. But this heavily ATS influenced song with Mike’s back-in-the-day Meteora style rap, still stands out for me for being unique. However, unfortunately some song had to be it, and it’s the worst song on the record for me. (4/5)

Lies Greed Misery, now this might sound a new version of ‘Wretches and Kings‘ to some, but for me this song is far more impressive. A pumped-up beat, aggressive lyrics (tops list of features I look for in a hip-hop influenced track) and Mike’s recognizable, dynamic style of rap make it the 3rd best song on the record for me. (4.8/5)

I’ll be Gone, marks the beginning of the best off the album for me, which now proceeds all the way to the end by the way. I love the way it starts, the riff moving into Chester’s calm, relaxing vocals and then an impressive upbeat chorus. NOT AT ALL 30STM influenced I say. I don’t want you gone Chester, I really don’t! This record in fact is a beautiful example of this very talented singer’s versatility, however, not as much as ATS I must mention. (5/5)

Castle of Glass, by far the best track off the album. A characteristic way to describe it should be calling it what you’d expect on a new Linkin Park song, the unexpectable. This is a song that could set your mood in the worst case scenarios too. A never-heard-before class of interplay between Chester and Mike on this one. In love with this song, my rating scale falls short of digits to express how awesome this track is. Deserves being a single, and it’d be actually. My call for the Grammy for the ‘Best Rock Song’.  (10/5)

Victimized, starts off with an awesome distorted guitar riff, with drums you come to expect from a drummer of Rob’s caliber (Rob totally stands out for me on this one!) which moves into Mike’s echoing vocals. It develops into a classic scream from Chester, a bit immature I think though. What comes next is the most favorite part of this album for me, the awesome riff between the scream and Mike’s rap is eternal, too catchy for anyone to forget. Mike’s rap is again a beauty, one of the higher paced ones you’d have heard to, awesome nevertheless. (4/5)

Roads Untraveled, 5th best track off this record for me. Blends in perfectly with ‘Victimized‘, a  jingle moves through to Mike’s relaxing and impressive vocals blended with Chester’s voice. The howls and the guitar solo are all awesome. Classic Linkin Park for you, something unforgettable and unbelievably awesome. Something only Linkin Park can do, keeping the things in balance perfectly. (5/5)

Skin to Bone, those interested in American folk music would find this song uber-cool. Folk blended in with electronic and rock music never worked this well before. Of course, Mike and Chester’s vocals own this track. The beat is hard, another impressive aspect. (5/5)

Until it Breaks, yo! One of the catchiest raps by Mike Shinoda ever, over an insanely cool beat and synth, which move into an awesome piece by Chester. The song structure is peculiar, strange, hence so Linkin Park. Only one thing beats Shinoda’s rap on this, ‘I have not Begun‘ off LPUX disc, but that wasn’t on an official album release so, UIB wins! (4.2/5)

Tinfoil, an interlude. Needs no description really. (Not rating)

Powerless, is an awesome power-ballad. Probably the best I’ve heard since ‘Shadow of the Day‘. My 2nd most favorite track off the record, beyond any doubt. The beat is cool, the lyrics beautifully written and of course Chester’s vocals blow you off ‘while you’re with your headphones on you, powerless,’ relaxed, embracing the song with all you have. At least I was! (9/5)

How I rank the songs:

1. Castle of Glass

2. Powerless

3. Lies Greed Misery

4. Skin to Bone

5. Roads Untraveled

6. I’ll be Gone

7. Until it Breaks

8. In My Remains

9. Lost in the Echo

10. Victimized

11. Burn it Down

Overall, LIVING THINGS is not as special as A THOUSAND SUNS was, but still a very good record. One for the alienated fan base, with something in store for fans who loved the band’s out of the way approach on ATS. Beyond the songs exhibiting Chester and Mike’s interplay and ‘Powerless‘, songs are quite repeatable, something a lot of bands out there could replicate or play. Over all, I’d rate it 4.2/5.

Are Dhoni’s men really the worst Indian Cricket team ever?

Looking at the history of this game in our country and it’s sad fate at times like right now, most would conclusively say yes! Well they’ve made quite many records really as far as their continuing bad performance is concerned. For example, Dhoni’s the only Indian captain under whom India has had 6 consecutive Innings defeats. But, are these men really that bad?

India's abject surrender?
India’s abject surrender?

In my opinion, it’s a plain NO to that question. We all have adored this same team for their cricket for the past 4 years, and now suddenly, how could they be called the worst eleven ever? This is the same team that scored the first Indian test series win in South Africa, and then broke a 28 year long inertia in New Zealand. It’s been the history of the Indian cricket team to be losing overseas continuously, but this team defied that for long enough. However, it’s the margin of  recent defeats that is worrying. I haven’t been a cricket analyst for long, but I can definitely say that this is an incomparable condition, it’s like nothing that has happened to Indian cricket before. With 7 or 8 players on the team going through the rough phases of their careers, it definitely is an extreme and saddening state, does that mean it’s time to shuffle the cards, ask some greats to retire?

On my end, that’d be a yes and no.  Yes, because we need some experimentation and probably it is the right time to do that because the team has nothing to loose. And, a no because we can’t just tell the greats to go. Yes we can ask them to wait on the sidelines and try some younger legs, but definitely a replacement is needed before we ask someone like Laxman to leave. They must be given a chance in a few months again, to earn back their ‘faded‘ glory.

Thousand Foot Krutch

One of the first melodious/rapcore bands I came across after being subjected to the so very awesome Hybrid Theory CD, were Thousand Foot Krutch. A unique and melodious voice in Trevor McNevan met catchy guitar riffs in TFK and that’s what made this band special.

Originating as a semi hip-hop group,  in Oddball, the group went on to be one of the better known Christian Rock bands in North America, especially so, with The Art of Breaking. The album would still make it to the top 100 Rock albums of the 2000s for me and that’s one hell of an achievement for the band (😀). Here’s their blockbuster hit ‘Move‘ from The Art of Breaking.

Hello World!

If you’re reading this, you probably know me via Facebook or some other social network. And, if you don’t, you could just go to the ‘About Chirag’ tab to read what I am, of course, in short. I’m a to-be engineer, a physics enthusiast, computer crazy, political critic, musical maniac cum huge Linkin Park fan and much more. So this should give you a idea of what you’d find here on my WordPress.