For “Batman” devotees, if you have not seen it, you must. For the rest of the movie-going crowd be forewarned that it is bleak and massively “dark”; possibly because director Christopher Nolan was astute enough to throw in a heavy dose of reality; daily, we witness the fanatics, armed with nuclear might, threaten world security.
Christian Bale is “Bruce Wayne” (“Batman”) suffering from agoraphobia, who can fault him after the vicissitudes he experienced in “The Dark Night”. He is cared for by the ubiquitous, faithful “Alfred” (another seasoned performance by Michael Caine); is forced back to the battlefield, as protector, savior of Gotham from the menace of profound annihilation, perpetrated by a demon, an amoral psychopath “Bane” (Tom Hardy) whose face is disguised by a grid resembling a radiator; his voice imbued with the tenor of someone trapped in the bowels of a colossal cave; he was unsatisfying as the horrifying nemesis, the “bane” of Batman’s and Gotham’s survival.
The film serves gargantuan portions of death, destruction and mayhem; gore enhanced by digitization; viewers lampooned by one gruesome demise after another. Blackness alleviated by the electric levity of “Catwoman”; Anne Hathaway, with quirky panache, gracefully fells the vilest of deviates; with a ballerina’s finesse she leaps, flies, laughs as she defies gravity, crumbling buildings, searing pyrotechnics; her immortal feats, a homage to a cat’s nine lives.
Minor roles are worthy of mentioning: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is “John Blake” (“Robin”) a young police officer, with incredible perspicacity comes to the aid of Batman; Marion Cotillard, “Miranda” Batman’s love interest, a philanthropist with an untoward agenda; Gary Oldman, soulful, diminished Police Commissioner “Jim Gordon”; Morgan Freeman with his iconic voice is “Lucius Fox”, the wizard behind disabling the fiendish. A teaser: Cillian Murphy has a cameo role; hint, not a trace of his Irish accent can be detected.
The last half hour shines; if you have paid the price, stay; compensates for the mental straying one does to shake the gravitas, suffocating gloom, relentlessly crushing hope. In hindsight “The Dark Knight Rises” should have been titled, “The Dark Night Rises”, and never brightens.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!