Supercharged saga ends grand trilogy

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It opens with a funeral, ends with a burial, and fills the nearly three hours in between ramping up to an apocalyptic nightmare.

Yep, “The Dark Knight Rises” is dark, all right.

The final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s grand Bat-trilogy of three films finds billionaire Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) bent and broken in body and sprit eight years after the tragic turn of events of the previous movie demonized the caped crusader and drove him into seclusion.

All those nights of jumping off buildings, slamming into brick walls and trading blows with bad guys have taken their toll, making Wayne (and everyone else) question whether or not his secretive crime-fighting alter-ego even exists anymore.

Ironically, things have never been better for Gotham City.

The prisons are full, the public is comfortable, the politicians and policemen are smug. But there’s a revolution brewing underneath the streets – literally – led by a muscle-bound madman known only as Bane (Tom Hardy). And when a sexy jewel thief, the Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), unknowingly ignites the fuse that leads to an explosive collision of all three of their worlds, Wayne must break the old Bat-cloak out of storage and confront Gotham’s grim day of reckoning.

Nolan doesn’t seem content to stage simply the summer’s most grandiose, most grown-up, most operatic superhero movie, one that makes others look, in comparison, like kids playing around in action-figure pajamas.

So this one is like supercharged, superhero Shakespeare, woven with conversations about living, dying, hope and despair, and built around a social-strata morality play resonating with contemporary relevance about the gap between those who have so little and those who “live so large and leave so little for the rest.”

There are certainly big expectations from fans for Nolan’s wrap-up of his Dark Knight narrative, and this is a big movie. In addition to Bale and Hathaway, there are other big stars: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson.

Matthew Modine plays a cop who wants to bag Batman, unconvinced they’re on the same side. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is introduced as a zealous young police detective with a surprising link to Bruce Wayne.

There are big – whopping big – action sequences, including an amazing high-altitude airplane heist, an NFL football field that implodes underneath the players, and rollicking downtown chase scenes with the super-cool Bat-cycle and Bat-copter.

And Nolan works on an enormous canvas, shooting some scenes with the biggest equipment possible, large-format IMAX cameras. The movie looks terrific, often spectacular. See it on a full-size IMAX screen if you can; it’s well worth it.

Everything looks so good, in fact, it almost makes you forget how confusing the plot becomes, and forgive its many Bat-holes.

It’s often difficult to know who’s doing what, to whom, and why. And it’s often hard to hear: Hardy’s villain, Bane, wears a claw-like mask that makes much of his dialogue come out muffled mush.

But in the end, Nolan sweeps it all up into to a big, dramatic, grandly orchestrated, epic-appropriate finale that works on both superhero and human levels, concluding one of pop culture’s most sensational superhero sagas – at least for the time being – with one of the summer’s biggest waves of pure movie energy.
Tagged under  Batman, Entertainment, Movie

Members Opinions:
August 02, 2012 at 8:57pm
I have not yet seen this film, but I have seen the previous two and I have been looking at other reviews of “The Dark Knight Rises.” I imagine it would be very difficult to top “The Dark Knight” since it had Heath Ledger’s Joker, often seen as one of the best comic book villain adaptations in film. Bane certainly does seem intimidating, and interesting. He’s distinct enough from his comic version that it seems more original. However, I must say that I dislike the mask he wears in the film. I would have liked it to resemble the comic version more, to be more concealing. The different origin is not bad though, and for the most part he plays the same sort of role he did in the comics. I am pleased with how Catwoman is portrayed. She seems to be very similar to how she is in the comics, as opposed to the way Tim Burton portrayed her in “Batman Returns,” which was more like the typical Batman villain; mentally unstable and violent due to traumatic events. And let’s not even mention the Halle Berry Catwoman. So, I commend this film for getting Selina Kyle right. I have heard that the silly deep, gravely Batman voice is still used, perhaps at its worst. Why Nolan would keep that I have no idea. At least make it much less exaggerated. Batman doesn’t need to disguise his voice that much and it stopped being clever after the first film anyway. As for the actual story and plot, from what I’ve heard it is indeed a little too complex for its own good, but it does sound like it takes Batman to new places. It’s probably not as good as “The Dark Knight,” but as good as “Batman Begins.” I would have preferred it if the title was “Batman Rises,” to help differentiate it from the previous film as well. This is definitely worth a look if you are a fan of Batman.

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