The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan – 2012) A-

A couple of things are clear with the conclusion of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Batman is not Superman and Nolan made one of the most dazzlingly fantastic trilogies of the last 20 or so years. Certainly the second entry in the trilogy is the strongest, but this conclusion is a fitting finale that ties fairly neatly with the themes of the trilogy and its beginnings. We get closure for the Bruce Wayne story and his Dark Knight alter ego. Somehow, Nolan gets to have his cake and eat it too with a suspenseful and emotional ending(BTW, if you have a cake you should normally be able to eat it. Right? Oh well…stupid saying) and we end up with a great movie-going experience.

In this film we meet a Batman who is hunted after the events of The Dark Knight. Gotham is prosperous and safe. Crime is virtually non-existent and it’s citizens seem happy. Bruce Wayne on the other hand is a recluse with a bum leg! All is well but beneath it all if one looks at the details, Gotham is sick and inequality in class and fortune is turning out to be bad for the rich and the poor alike. On this stage enters Bane and his army, Selina Kyle as Catwoman and a few other surprises. I was worried about Bane being the villain honestly. He did not seem that interesting, but again Nolan comes through and makes him a smart, creepy and towering presence. He is tougher than the aging Batman and has a crazy belief system. Batman on the other hand takes a very much Rocky3-like  journey here by attempting to take on Bane. He is broken, has to rebuild himself and needs to rise to defend what he cares for. I won’t say much more about the plot here just in case the few people who read this blog are interested in watching the film.

From a pure movie-going experience and spectacle, the film is great as well. There are multiple set pieces and sequences that are literally made for IMAX (I saw it in this format the second time around) and are alone worth the price of admission. The cast over all does a great job with their characters. Especially surprising to me was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I don’t know why I did not expect much from her in this role, but everything she did from facial expressions to body movement was pitch perfect. I would be really wrong not to mention the score as well. Hans Zimmer at the same time gives us a score that is new and very familiar and emphasizes every piece of action with pitch perfect precision.

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