The Dark Knight Rises ★★★★½

I'm Gotham's reckoning.

Superhero films finally have a good trilogy. I'm not proclaiming this on the same level as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or the original Star Wars Trilogy, but I'm saying this is by far the best superhero trilogy we've ever had. With that said, it's competition for that title wasn't exactly stiff. I'm also a huge Marvel Comics fanboy so it hurts a little admitting that.

The story is epic in scope and takes full advantage of it's staggering 164 min run time. It's not only a sequel, but it truly ties into both previous films and brings all three movies together as a true trilogy. If you're thinking about re-watching Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before going out to see this, my recommendation would be DO IT! It'll just make the conclusion that much more satisfying. If you hated both previous films though... why are you even reading this? This is obviously not the movie that's going to win you over at this point.

Comic fans will be happy to know that it takes elements from various classic Batman stories, some more obvious then others to form the plot here. It's done in a way that comic fans will recognize it, while the casual viewer won't feel like their missing anything. I'm not going to name what stories are used however to avoid spoiling anything even by accident. Also, if your a fanboy that's going to throw a tantrum because they changed a character in some way... don't see this film. In fact if you're like that you shouldn't see any film based on a comic book ever. Moving on...

This is without a doubt Christian Bale's best performance as Bruce Wayne. It's mainly because the character is given more to do then just being pissed off. While the film can't be accused of having no action, it is a surprisingly character driven film. People who complained you didn't get enough Bruce Wayne in the last film will be happy here as the film is more about him then Batman.

After watching this, you can clearly see Bruce Wayne's character arc from the first film to this one. Even though the second film seemed more about Harvey Dent then Bruce, after watching this you become aware of what the character went through in the second film to come to this point. I feel it actually makes Batman Begins and The Dark Knight better films, which is exactly what a 3rd act of a trilogy should do. It should make you appreciate what the characters went through to get to this point and it really does.

I'm a fan of Tom Hardy but the poor bastard had an uphill battle when he took the role of Bane. Not only was he going to be compared to Heath Ledger's Joker, but he was going to have to wear a faceplate the whole film. The good news is that it works. Does Bane end up being a memorable character like Joker? No, but Hardy creates a character that is a totally different beast and the notion of comparing him to The Joker quickly fades because it's like comparing apples to oranges. He comes off as an intelligent menacing monster that's always two steps ahead of you but could just as easily break you in half when he becomes tired of playing with you.

Quick runthrough of the rest of the cast. Anne Hathaway actually does a great job as Catwoman and looks fantastic in costume. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine give great performances because they don't know how to do it any other way. Their given a chance to have a few great scenes this time though. Joseph Gordon-Levitt fits right in with the rest of the cast. The weakest performance in my eyes is from Marion Cotillard. I thought the same thing when I saw her in Inception so I'm not sure if it's just her accent that throws me off, or if it's actually her performance.

Wally Pfister might have actually outdone his work from Dark Knight for the cinematography. The film looks incredible. Also think that Hans Zimmer's score is even more powerful and emotional then both previous films.

At the end of the day I think this is a terrific conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Will this film be overhyped? I have no doubt in my mind it will be, but I don't let overhype and fanboys effect my judgement.