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The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan directs a fitting send-off to his Batman trilogy.

Phil Bacharach December 18th, 2012

Due to the twisted savagery of a young man in a Colorado movie theater, The Dark Knight Rises will forever be a footnote in American history. Hopefully, that horrific massacre will not influence perceptions of this epic conclusion to writer-director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.


Christian Bale returns as Gotham’s masked protector. Eight years — at least in movie time — have elapsed since the events of 2008’s The Dark Knight, and both Batman and his real-life identity, billionaire Bruce Wayne, have gone into seclusion. But the Batman is coerced back into action when an evil masked man named Bane (Tom Hardy, Warrior) pushes a not-so-disguised New York City to the brink of anarchy and nuclear annihilation.

That’s the abridged version of a Byzantine plot steeped in post-9/11 nightmares of terrorism, economic calamity and the widening gulf between haves and have-nots. Clocking in at nearly three hours, Rises is wildly ambitious, it not always up to the task. While the movie doesn’t feel as long as its running time, Nolan’s unremittingly gloomy tone and sprawling narrative are occasionally exhausting.

But I’ll take flawed ambition over perfectly executed mediocrity. Whether seen on the big screen or at home on Blu-ray and DVD, The Dark Knight Rises lacks the operatic tragedy of The Dark Knight or the exhilaration of Batman Begins, but this final chapter is meaty, provocative and even manages a few surprises.

And it’s anchored by a uniformly strong cast, ranging from the franchise regulars to the welcome addition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) as a rookie cop and Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs) as the Catwoman (although she’s not called that).

Farewell, caped crusader — at least until the inevitable reboot. —Phil Bacharach

Hey! Read This:
Inception film review
Love and Other Drugs Blu-ray review  
Warrior Blu-ray review   

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