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The legend ends

Review: Third installment ends with emotional conclusion as Batman attempts to save Gotham City

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07


Fear is a recurring theme in every Batman story, from the comic books, to the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Bruce Wayne’s alter ego was inspired by fear, and fear is more than prevalent in the newest addition to the Batman saga.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is set eight years after the previous film left off, with Gotham City still rallying behind the late Harvey Dent and his crusade against crime, and Batman ostracized by the city for being a cold-hearted thug. Gotham doesn’t need Batman anymore, and Bruce Wayne has been a recluse since Dent’s death eight years prior.

Enter the menacing and more than physically intimidating Bane, played by Tom Hardy. He’s no Joker, and he sounds like a cross between Darth Vader, Sean Connery and a really bad asthma attack, but Hardy plays the part. Especially when his ferocity shows in the last minutes of the film.

Bane is more than enough to bring Bruce Wayne and Batman back from seclusion, and the best way to describe what happens next is nothing less than nonstop panic and chaos. Watch your back, Batman.

Giving any more details about the plot flirts with spoiling the film, but pay attention. There are more than a few plot twists that have become synonymous with Nolan’s name. I caught myself with my mouth open in shock a few times.

The great Michael Caine reprises his role as the wisdom-spouting butler Alfred Pennyworth, Morgan Freeman returns as the calm and collected executive of Wayne Enterprises Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldman returns as Gotham’s finest police commissioner Jim Gordon.

New to the Batman films are some familiar faces from Nolan’s previous casts. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the go-getting Gotham cop John Blake, and the gorgeous, wide-eyed Marion Cotillard plays Miranda Tate, the philanthropist looking for an investment from Wayne Enterprises.

Despite all of these brilliant actors, Anne Hathaway steals the show as the wickedly sexy Selina Kyle. Hatheway “purrs” every line to perfection, and seems to upstage every other actor while she’s on screen. And, she adds a perfect amount of comic relief to such a dark story.

What makes this film work is the mood. This is the darkest superhero movie I have ever seen, and I loved it. The story of Batman is not a bedtime story, and Nolan recognized this and produced what may always be the best Batman story ever made.

The visuals are astounding as well. The opening sequence involving a mid-air hijacking of a CIA aircraft is a thing of beauty. You will catch yourself getting lost in the visual effects more than once. Maybe it’s because the film was actually shot on good old-fashioned film stock. Thank you Mr. Nolan for not shooting this movie in 3D, by the way.

It might be a good idea to re-watch the previous films before seeing “Rises,” as there may or may not be a return of one particularly nasty villain from Batman Begins, and it certainly plays off of the events that wrapped up the last film. Make sure you remember what is going on.

“The Dark Knight Rises” was a better conclusion to Nolan’s trilogy than I thought possible. It will bring laughter, it may bring tears, but it will certainly be remembered for many years to come, and hopefully during awards season. The cast and crew deserve it.

A word of advice before you see the film: Use the restroom before you sit down. At two hours and 44 minutes, you may find yourself squirming from more than just excitement.

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