The Dark Knight Rises 1.0 stars

Dark Knight Rises movie poster

The final installment of director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is long and loud and chock-full of his great love for plotting and abstraction. Sometimes, it works, but often, it doesn't, and the honest interaction of characters is ground under the wheels of storytelling necessity. The film might feel like an elaborate and intricate chess strategem — seemingly scattered movements gradually converging on a final, concentrated masterstroke — except for a few plot points that not even the grandest of masters could predict. The baddie this time is Bane (Tom Hardy), a brutal and brutalized soul — born in prison, exiled from the same League of Shadows that trained Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, but still bent on completing the League's mission to destroy a corrupt Gotham, schoolchildren and orphans included. Oh, and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), a pretty thief who can't seem to outrun her past. Philosophy abounds: Bane is fond of the soul-body dichotomy, Batman has to learn a few new things about his old friend fear, and there is insightful talk of real despair requiring a modicum of hope. But some of it gets mangled in Bane's mask-hindered speech, and some of it is just mangled to begin with. All that said, there is plenty of Bat-goodness here. Bane is genuinely scary, Batman's fall (and rise) are convincing, and the whole thing draws from the first and second installments in satisfying ways. Plus, you know: cool weapons/modes of transport. And Batman. 2012.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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