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The Dark Knight Rises (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 164 minutes.

Not for children.

OK, I'll admit it upfront. I never got Batman. He's not really a superhero; he can't fly; he isn't invulnerable. So what is it about dressing up like a bat that makes him a crime fighter?
Well, it's a comic book aimed at comic book mentality, so I guess that doesn't make any difference. Batman was passť until director Christopher Nolan breathed new life into the genre in 2005. This is the third of his trilogy and it is very, very long. Even so, the music (Hans Zimmer) is ever-present and keeps the tension high throughout.

Christian Bale returns as the slow speaking Batman/Bruce Wayne, as do Michael Caine as his servant, Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox who manages Bruce's money. New to the cast is Anne Hathaway, who keeps getting better, here playing a jewel thief who becomes Catwoman. She is better in this than I've ever seen her. Also new is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who gives his usual fine performance as an NYPD cop. Marion Cotillard rounds out the star-studded roster as a businesswoman who catches Bruce's fancy.

There is one snafu in the film. Set in the fictional Gotham City, it is an obvious stand-in for New York City with its rivers and bridges. But early in the film as a helicopter takes off in Gotham City it flies by a building labeled "One Wilshire," which is located where Wilshire Boulevard starts, at Grand Avenue, in downtown Los Angeles. Oh, well, there are mistakes made in even the most expensive films.

Back to the movie, the "plot" in these comic book things is basically the same; Bane (Tom Hardy) is a real bad guy and he wants to annihilate Gotham City. Things don't look too good for Batman. I actually didn't look at my watch too often despite sitting there for 164 minutes, so this is a pretty engrossing film.

July 17, 2012