The Dark Knight Rises - (5 Stars)After what most people dubbed one of the greatest Comic movies of all time in "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan has the challenge of coming up with an epic conclusion to his Dark Knight trilogy. Apart from just the challenge of meeting high expectations, Nolan had to make a different movie than he probably initially would have planned with the untimely passing of Heath Ledger (The Joker). However, despite these obstacles, Nolan still manages to go out with a bang.
"The Dark Knight Rises" picks up 8 years after the events of "The Dark Knight" and finds a Gotham almost free of crime due to the deal Batman and Commissioner Gordon make. However, both men are still haunted by what happened and the choices they made. Now, a new threat has come to Gotham in the form of Bane and the Dark Knight decides it may be time to come out of retirement.
Nolan has brought together quite the cast, managing to fill even the smallest role with someone fitting.Tom Hardy is especially impressive and intimidating as Bane and the ensemble in general give great performance, along with several of the newcomers to the series like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, a by-the-books cop working under Commissioner Gordon, and Anne Hathaway as the mysterious Selina Kyle. The holdovers from previous movie continue their strong body of work: such as Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Christian Bale.
The movie is pretty large in scope (and running time), but it is surprisingly well paced for a movie nearing 3 hours. Probably helps in part due to the structure of the story, similar to the Avengers in that it seems to have three distinct acts to it (I've given them nicknames which may be spoilery: Broken, No Man's Land, Rise
"The Dark Knight Rises" brings the trilogy full circle in terms of plot, themes and even the visuals with plenty of references or nods back to the previous movies as well as continuations of the themes. The movie brings a close to Nolan's Dark Knight story in a way only he could and really makes it feel like a truly epic three film character story arc.
(165 minutes - Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language - 2012)