Everyone who has seen director Christopher Nolans Batman Begins and its thrilling sequel, The Dark Knight, knows that the final installment of the trilogy has a great deal to live up to. And thankfully, it holds up well.
The Dark Knight Rises takes place eight years after the death of Gothams hero and passionately anti-crime District Attorney Harvey Dent.
After Dents death, Batman virtually disappears from Gotham along with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), who has been holed up in his mansion ever since. The city hasnt needed Batmans heroism because Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) has all but eradicated organized crime from Gotham.
And the fact that Batman took the fall for Dents murder in the previous film hasnt made him the most popular guy in town either. While Wayne has been hiding away, his company, Wayne Enterprises, has basically gone down the drain.
But trouble arises in Gotham when a mask-clad terrorist leader, Bane (Tom Hardy), gains influence in the city. In response, Gordon and intelligent new detective John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) attempt to convince Wayne to return as Batman to protect the city, while Waynes butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), wishes against it for Waynes own safety.
This movie is dazzling in almost every possible way. Every actor has a great performance, especially Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Hardys Bane is perhaps not as interesting as Heath Ledgers Joker was a truly insane, diabolical villain with a morbid sense of humor but Hardys menacing body language, physical presence, and manner of speaking make him terrifying in his own right.
Gordon-Levitts portrayal of Blake, the young, idealistic detective who never gives up hope, is one that sticks with you for a long time, for the character is easy to identify and sympathize with.
While the film is a little on the long side at 164 minutes, its never slow-paced, moving quickly the whole way with hardly a dull moment.
The Dark Knight Rises is full of interesting twists and turns that take you by surprise, though some of them probably arent entirely necessary.
Issues with the movie besides length are few. The rapid influx of new characters at the beginning of the movie is a little confusing at first, but it doesnt take too long to sort them out. It also may be a little difficult for those who havent already seen the first two films to dive right into the story because certain plot points revolve heavily around earlier events; however, I doubt it would be much of a hindrance.
Even though its difficult to follow a movie as sinister and intense as The Dark Knight with a sequel that can live up to the hype, Christopher Nolan finishes the trilogy with a bang. Regardless of the high-quality precedent set by the first two films, great acting and a fast-paced, interesting plot by Nolan make The Dark Knight Rises a truly remarkable movie and a satisfying ending to the trilogy.