The final Batman movie swoops into theaters

Chris­ti­an Bale re­turns as Bat­man in The Dark Knight Rises, the fi­nal in­stall­ment in dir­ect­or Chris­toph­er No­lan’s pop­u­lar tri­olgy.


It is hard to be­lieve that The Dark Knight Rises is dir­ect­or Chris­toph­er No­lan’s fi­nal Bat­man flick. I don’t con­sider my­self a ra­bid fol­low­er of the Bat­man series, but it’s quite ob­vi­ous that No­lan has made one of the best su­per­hero series to date, tak­ing the su­per­hero movie to a much dark­er place than oth­ers be­fore him have dared to ven­ture.

The Dark Knight Rises is not as good as 2008’s The Dark Knight, but it’s about equally as good as Bat­man Be­gins. So if you’re go­ing in with high ex­pect­a­tions, they likely will be met.

This movie opens eight years after The Dark Knight, which ended with Bat­man tak­ing the blame for D.A. Har­vey Dent’s death in or­der to help cov­er up Dent’s crimes.

Dent is hailed as a hero, Gotham City is now a peace­ful place and Bat­man is ba­sic­ally per­sona non grata and has gone in­to hid­ing. As a res­ult, an in­jured Bruce Wayne (Chris­ti­an Bale) has be­come the ste­reo­typ­ic­al re­clus­ive rich guy, stay­ing in Wayne Man­or and only com­mu­nic­at­ing with his trusty but­ler Al­fred (Mi­chael Caine).

When a big, bad dude named Bane (Tom Hardy) enters Gotham City and starts wreak­ing hav­oc, Wayne brushes the dust off his bat suit in an at­tempt to save the day.

My main beef with The Dark Knight Rises is with the vil­lain. Bane is not nearly as mem­or­able of a vil­lain as Heath Ledger’s Oscar-win­ning Joker from The Dark Knight.

And with a mask ob­struct­ing his month, a lot of Bane’s dia­logue was un­in­tel­li­gible (so much so that maybe I’ll re­watch it on DVD with the sub­titles on). Most of the time, it really didn’t mat­ter what he had to say. You know he’s the bad guy, he wants re­venge for something and he’ll go to great lengths to get it.

As ex­pec­ted in su­per­hero movies, there are some cool fight scenes and nifty weapons. Mor­gan Free­man is back as Lu­cius Fox, Bruce Wayne’s busi­ness man­ager who provides Bat­man’s cool toys. The spe­cial ef­fects in The Dark Knight Rises are quite good (thank­fully No­lan is a dir­ect­or who real­izes the movie does not need 3-D to be im­press­ive look­ing) and the pa­cing works. At two hours and 45 minutes, the movie is very long, but every scene felt pretty darn im­port­ant. I didn’t feel it was long just for the sake of be­ing long.

Anne Hath­away was a smart cast­ing choice and nice ad­di­tion as the crafty cat burg­lar Selina Kyle. Selina, or Cat­wo­man, as she is more com­monly known, is def­in­itely a scene steal­er. I was some­what re­minded of Hath­away’s por­tray­al of Agent 99 in Get Smart, but she def­in­itely took things up a notch. Cat­wo­man and Bat­man have a cute little flir­ta­tion go­ing on, but ul­ti­mately their fo­cus is on beat­ing Bane.

Joseph Gor­don-Levitt, who plays the new young de­tect­ive John Blake, is un­der­statedly awe­some. Mari­on Co­til­lard has a small and some­what mys­ter­i­ous role as busi­ness­wo­man Mir­anda Tate, but her role felt mostly un­der­developed un­til the end of the movie.

The Dark Knight Rises is “sup­posed” to be last film of the Bat­man series, but I have my doubts, based on the end­ing. It’s a sat­is­fy­ing clos­ure to the series, so as­sum­ing this is really the end, No­lan’s Bat­man movies will go down as one of the best su­per­hero tri­lo­gies in his­tory. ••

Movie Grade: B+

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