Stars: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman
Director: Christopher Nolan
Showing: Speciality Cinema week of Friday, August 10. For more information call 292-2135.
Tickets: Buy tickets online
Runtime: 164 minutes
It's something to see, all right — this Dark Knight Rises. An epic finale to the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Dark Knight trilogy, it has the summer's best effects, the summer's highest stakes, the summer's sexiest villain, the biggest comic book movie thrills and the best comic book movie chills of this cinema season.
It's a film of awe-inspiring set pieces and jaw-dropping stunts - less of this Avengers/Spider-Man/Transformers digital effects overkill. It's topical, morphing the Occupy movement into a few choice messages about the few who take from the many, and the many who take anarchy to its logical extremes.
No expense was spared and a lot of effort went into tidying up this phenomenally successful film trilogy, tying up loose ends, sending it and everyone involved off with a bang.
And it's wonderfully acted. The regulars are sharp, the new pieces in the puzzle interesting and Anne Hathaway is so good as Catwoman that this long film drags when she's not on the screen.
The story - The Batman (Christian Bale) went into retirement eight years ago after losing his lady love (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and killing good-man-gone-bad Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who is now celebrated as a hero.
Gotham City has been cleaned up. Only crotchety old Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman, terrific) is still on a "war" footing. Something wicked this way comes.
That something would be Bane, a hulking, meaty-mitts-on-his-lapels terrorist who breathes through a mask and preaches anarchy. He will "free" the people of Gotham City by blowing it up - either in bits, or all at once.
Sassy Selena Kyle (Hathaway) is cat-burgling the one percent who warns Bruce Wayne (Bale) that the rich soon will rue the day that the few "left so little for the rest of us."
Director Nolan fills the screen with returning players: Butler Alfred (Michael Caine), Morgan Freeman as the gadget guru, from Batman's mentor, Liam Neeson, to Cillian Murphy as the unnamed "Scarecrow." Newcomers include Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a righteous cop, Matthew Modine as an inept one and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard as an energy tycoon. The script gives them all plenty to do and say.
But that makes for a bulky, bloated movie.
And for a movie that aims for a certain tidiness, this one has a lot of random moments, unexplained and inexplicable actions by heroes and villains alike.
As summer entertainments go, Nolan and his co-writers have delivered one with a lot to chew on, and a lot more to see and hear. And if you have any soft spot in your heart for this rich guy with a cape, a temper and a serious Messiah complex, you will be moved - maybe even to tears.
Next attraction: Magic Mike