The Dark Knight RisesFeature Film | Christopher Nolan By Josh Ralske
Thrilling, powerful, and a little bit oppressive.
People who complain about how seriously Christopher Nolan's Batman films take their costumed heroics had best prepare themselves: The Dark Knight Rises sinks to even greater depths of brooding, hopeless despair. While Heath Ledger's Joker at least had a sardonic sense of humor, Bane (a genuinely frightening Tom Hardy), is a grim and relentlessly brutal harbinger of doom. He may pose as a violent revolutionary, but his only real goal is to rain utter destruction upon Batman's Gotham City. Thankfully, Batman (Christian Bale) has friends. Newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as an idealistic cop) and Marion Cotillard (as a conscientious investor/love interest) do good work, along with the returning Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. But Anne Hathaway, as the hyper-confident, supremely untrustworthy Selina Kyle/Catwoman, brings a healthy dose of much-appreciated levity to the film, and she steals the show. The plot has some surprises, but it's convoluted, with Bane's machinations, in particular, seeming unnecessarily complicated. And not all of the dialogue is as chillingly awesome as Selina's brief "storm coming" warning to Bruce Wayne. But there's such tremendous craft and wit on display, and such care taken with this story and these characters -- their conflicts, their secrets, and the gloomy world they live in -- that The Dark Knight Rises offers filmgoers tremendous pleasure and even joy, alongside the horror and bombast.
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