The Dark Knight Rises
(Exciting, complex trilogy conclusion)
It was a little strange going to see the third Batman movie in Christopher Nolan's trilogy only a few hours after hearing of the tragic shootings at the midnight show. While the movie is filled with violence, there is still that eerie presence of fiction versus reality.
The 2¾-movie starts where the last one left off. Batman had been accused of being responsible for the death of DA Harvey Dent. He and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, have gone into seclusion.
Eight years pass when the evil Bane comes out of hiding in the Gotham City sewers and joins with evil Wall Street-type crooks to violently take over the Stock Exchange and put Wayne Enterprises into bankruptcy.
Bane (Tom Hardy) is pure, unadulterated evil, wearing a weird mask, killing everyone in sight and proclaiming a Power to the People policy that seems more like Death to the People, as he initiates his reign of terror by threatening to blow up Gotham City with a nuclear device. Christian Bale makes a perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman, first shown as a broken man, physically and mentally, but eventually rising to the challenge to stop Bane and save Gotham City. It is all pure comic book fantasy, with Batman's flying vehicle and motorcycle providing the transportation to tackle the evil menaces.
Meanwhile, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway in an out-of-character performance), a cat burglar (never actually referred to as “Catwoman” in the film) steals a necklace from Wayne's mansion. But is it the necklace she is after or something else? Catwoman and Batman engage in an interesting relationship, neither trusting each other, but joining together at times to deter Bane.
Those unfamiliar with the Batman story will have problems catching up, especially in the first quarter of the film, where the story slowly develops. But once the chase is on, all heck breaks loose and we are subjected to nonstop action. There are some interesting revelations along the way, as we learn who is really who and why some of the characters do the things they do. Fans of the series will no doubt be satisfied with the outcomes, including a rather neat ending.
There are some great supporting roles, including the always-good Morgan Freeman as the developer of Batman's arsenal and, of course, Michael Caine as his ever-faithful butler, Alfred. Gary Oldman has a heavy role as the keeper of a dark secret, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as the cop who believes in Batman's innocence and is always there when needed. Rated PG-13, with loads of violence.