Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 164 minutes
The final installment to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, "The Dark Knight Rises" is everything I had come to expect... and more. By the end of the 164-minute film, I was left with so many emotions to sort out that I felt exhausted - in a good way.
Returning for the third film are some of our favorite familiar faces, including Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), and Morgan Freeman (Fox). The film opens in what we discover to be 8 years after the incident with Harvey Dent. You remember from the last film, "The Dark Knight," Harvey goes on a murderous rampage and Batman ends up being pinned to the crimes, thus becoming Gotham's public enemy number one. Harvey is declared a hero and through his good deeds, Gotham's streets have been cleaned up of all the crime that once polluted its sphere. Batman kind of disappears for awhile as he is no longer needed and subsequently billionaire entrepreneur Bruce Wayne becomes a recluse. In his first scenes, we observe him to be unkempt and walking with a cane. It's obvious that even with the use of all that high-tech armor and gadgetry, even Batman isn't impenetrable - he has scars just like the rest of us.
Now onto the newcomers. Anne Hathaway breaks out the skin-tight black suit and high heels, playing Selina / Catwoman. She's got more issues than a state ballot and leaves us wondering who's side, if any, she's on. Throw in muscle-bound creepy masked mercenary Bane, played by Tom Hardy, and you've got a villain more intimidating than the Batman. You'll see what I mean when you watch the film. I remember one particular moment where Bane explains to Batman that the darkness is the only thing he knows, and he grows stronger from it. No light, or goodness as it seems, has ever touched this man and that's what makes him such a dangerous villain. It's one thing to create destruction, but Bane was a bit more calculated than this. He initiates destruction and then places the result in the people's hands - that's when Gotham City turns into a very scary place indeed.
As Bane begins to wreak havoc on Gotham City, Batman must overcome his personal struggles and come out of his short-lived retirement to serve the people once more, bringing justice to those who have no regard for the law. I do not want to mention anything else that could lead to spoilers, and hence ruin the fun for those who haven't seen the film yet. Although the film is an impressive 164 minutes, it did not feel long at all. Never once did my eyes stray from the screen during showtime. There was a fairly equal filming of hero and villain, which I personally enjoyed. It gives you a clearer perspective and understanding about the other half, rather than having a jaded viewpoint only through the hero's eyes. The entire cast deserves a standing ovation for a job well done. It's been quite some time since I've run through the gamut of emotions I felt while watching this film - inspired, angry, frustrated, disappointed, courageous, anxious, scared, happy, sad, etc. Congratulations Mr. Nolan to a job well done. This trilogy most definitely should have a space in your movie collection.