The Dark Knight Rises
Its historical moment unavoidably marred by mass murder in Colorado, this grand finale to writer-director Christopher Nolan’s rebooted Batman trilogy offers Christian Bale once more as the caped crusader, challenged at length to come out of retirement, win back public trust, secure his city and his legacy, and pass his torch. Along with the familiar comforts of series regulars Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, Nolan also makes room for a burly respirator-faced nemesis played by Tom Hardy, a cat woman played by Anne Hathaway, and, of particular interest and appeal, a clever beat cop played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. There’s also a pudding of topical politics, noisily and unsmilingly processed to the tune of a thundering Hans Zimmer score. Sometimes it’s fun being inside a big movie for a long time, and so this one sprawls—both visually, with the considered aesthetics of the summer-blockbuster set piece, and verbally, with Nolan and his co-writer and brother Jonathan Nolan keeping their characters rather garrulously philosophical about virtue, power and justice.