Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review - 3½ Stars

“The Dark Knight Rises” gives Batman his most formidable foe:  Bane—a terrorist intent on destroying Gotham first with economic chaos and class warfare, and then with a nuclear device.   Bane dominates the first third of the movie—a Hannibal Lector masked look alike speaking with an electronically distorted voice.  He’s quite a frightening villain.   Actor Tom Hardy bristles with anger under his mask.  Christian Bale brings his usual intensity to Batman, beginning this story as a recluse hiding in Wayne Manor.  Once Bane appears, Bruce Wayne heals himself and straps on the Batman suit.  This final episode has the advantage of returning cast members Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman.  Anne Hathaway, not exactly a favorite with a lot of people these days, breaks out as Catwoman.  She’s playful and menacing and gets a character makeover thanks to this script.  New characters include Joseph Gordon Levitt as an idealistic policeman, and Marian Cotillard as Bruce Wayne’s love interest.  “The Dark Knight Rises” lays on the special effects and displays several breathtaking sequences starting with the mid air skyjack that begins the story.  Beyond the special effects, “The Dark Knight Rises” has a plot worthy of grand opera and some twists that left the audience I watched with gasping.  The two hour forty minute running time feels a little much.  On the other hand, director Christopher Nolan elected to shoot in IMAX rather than the disappointing 3 D of so many of today’s films.   So—Let the Oscar buzz begin.  “The Dark Knight Rises” rises to the occasion. Does it deliver what it promises?  A great graphic novel finale.  Is it entertaining?  Lots to enjoy.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Fanboy must see.