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"The Dark Knight Rises"

Video: The most anticipated movie of the summer...

By: Holley Sinn

Verdict: Approved

There has been so much secrecy surrounding the last installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman series "The Dark Knight Rises" that I almost feel sneaky revealing my impressions in this review - like I'm breaking some sort of secret trust or renouncing my vows in the exclusive society of film reviewers.  But, the fact of the matter is, this is perhaps the most talked-about film to be released in the last two years, so I would be remiss in keeping my opinions to myself.  However, I solemnly swear at this moment NOT to give away too much of the plot so as to preserve the innocent, exuberant film viewing experience that this film will inevitably yield to anyone interested enough to read this review.  I'm not about ruining your fun.  I would have been distraught had someone chosen to ruin mine.  (and they almost did!)

"The Dark Knight Rises", directed by the incomparable Christopher Nolan, stars Christian Bale once again as Bruce Wayne...the broken, battered billionaire whose alter ego, Batman, has been shunned by the city of Gotham for the supposed murder of political white knight, Harvey Dent.  When Wayne is robbed by a beautiful woman in black named Selena Kyle, played by the striking Anne Hathaway, he finds himself slowly reemerging into the world of crime fighting that he thought he had left behind.  Unusual things begin to happen in peaceful Gotham.  An attack on the Stock Exchange, headed up by a masked man with a frightening mouth piece called Bane, played by Tom Hardy, precipitates Batman's ultimate return to the streets of Gotham and triggers a manhunt...not for the perpetrator, but for Batman himself.

Wayne Enterprises is tragically affected by the Stock Exchange debacle, and Bruce steps down to accommodate the wishes of the board.  However, he places do-gooder Miranda Tate, played by Marion Cotillard, in a leadership position in his stead just before all hell breaks loose in Gotham - almost literally.  The threat rises from beneath the streets, and Bane wields a nuclear weapon, acquired from Wayne Enterprises Clean Energy project, to bring about anarchy fueled by a countdown to total annihilation. 

That's about all I can really expose without suggesting too much and giving away critical plot points.  Christian Bale stays true to form, albeit somewhat more vulnerable in this installment, and Anne Hathaway excels as the cat burglar with questionable loyalties.  Tom Hardy makes a rather terrifying villain despite his over-the-top representation of the mutilated Bane, and Marion Cotillard is so good, you cast aside whatever pre-supposed notions you have gathered from reviews and buzz almost immediately upon her entrance.  And then....there's Christopher Nolan.  There is perhaps no director working today who can achieve the kind of cinematic balance that Nolan has perfected.  There is very little that is "comic book-y" about this franchise - this film and its immediate predecessor especially.  While Nolan can carry off an intense action scene seemingly effortlessly, it is his adeptness with story that makes him so good at what he does.  There are no holes.  At two hours and 45 minutes, the edit is clean and fairly tight, and the most important facets of the resolution are in the details.  "The Dark Knight Rises" is basically "Inception" shrouded in a cape.

"The Dark Knight Rises" is rated PG-13 for some intense violence and mild sexual content and is now playing in theaters all over the bay area, the world, and likely beyond. 

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