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Movie Review: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’
BY ROB HEDELT
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” (PG–13)
3.5 OUT OF 4 STARS
CHRISTIAN BALE, ANNE HATHAWAY, TOM HARDY, JOSEPH GORDON–LEVITT, GARY OLDMAN, MARION COTILLARD, MORGAN FREEMAN, MICHAEL CAINE, LIAM NEESON
Though Batman takes a long, tortuous path to a climactic end in this “Dark Knight” series, the artfully constructed struggle and a stellar cast make this movie a triumphant conclusion that will have viewers applauding at the film’s end.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Anne Hathaway, who nearly steals the show by carrying the film in the early going as Selina, a cat burglar who steals pearls from Bruce Wayne’s safe and then slowly steals his heart.
It’s easy to see why Wayne falls for her, what with the skintight black leather suit that accentuates her long legs and dark hair.
But it’s not all eye candy. Some fans of comic book movies may be disturbed by the fact that Batman takes things on the chin for much of the film, first coming back from a semi-retirement and then from injuries received in the struggle to save Gotham from the evil Bane and his occupying army of thugs.
Christian Bale is artful at making his Dark Knight an imperfect hero, one who’s as dinged by film’s end as the cars crushed in the chase scenes.
At 164 minutes, the film risks being a little too long, but director Christopher Nolan does a masterful job of keeping things moving, skillfully tying up a handful of plot threads to finish out the trilogy.
Maybe calling it a trilogy is shortsighted. While there is a conclusive feel to the story of the main characters in this (supposedly) final chapter, there’s also plenty of room for a follow-up.
I won’t be giving too much away to say that the newly elevated player in all this—Joseph Gordon–Levitt as Blake—is positioned nicely to return in a future film, and there are all the right twists to make another Bat-film possible.
Speculation aside, the best thing about the film is its narrative drive and well-paced action, which helps to move the story surely from hero’s rebirth to champion’s defeat to a climactic final battle. And it’s accomplished with a mix of heroism, humanity and sporadic humor that’s a perfect fit for this dark knight.
Rated PG–13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language. 164 min. [MC, PV, RA]