Final film in the Bat-Man franchise bigger, bolder and badder, but still maintains humor

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If nothing else, director Christopher Nolan sure knows how to close out a three-film series.

And, while not having the stellar acting performances he coaxed out of Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart in “The Dark Knight,” his final installment of the Bat-Man retooling is much bigger. bolder and comes in a close runner-up behind the franchise’s second offering.
Plus, unlike that movie, there is even a bit of humor, provided mostly by Anne Hathaway (as Selina Kyle/Catwoman) and Michael Caine (manservant Alfred Pennyworth).

If nothing else, director Christopher Nolan sure knows how to close out a three-film series.

And, while not having the stellar acting performances he coaxed out of Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart in “The Dark Knight,” his final installment of the Bat-Man retooling is much bigger. bolder and comes in a close runner-up behind the franchise’s second offering.
Plus, unlike that movie, there is even a bit of humor, provided mostly by Anne Hathaway (as Selina Kyle/Catwoman) and Michael Caine (manservant Alfred Pennyworth).

Don’t expect “Animal House,” however. “The Dark Knight Rises” is also chock full of terror, dread, death, chills, spills, thrills and almost non-stop action.; and Bane, (Tom Hardy, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.,” “Warrior”) despite being completely unintelligible at times, is an effective and menacing villain.

Clocking in a just under two hours, 45 minutes, it barely seem to last 90 minutes, and by the movie’s conclusion, Nolan has already whetted our collective appetites for a fourth go-round (even though he denies he want to direct such an effort).
We’ll see …

The plot has Bruce Wayne (and his alter ego) keeping a hermitage in stately Wayne manor eight years after the death of Harvey Dent/Two-Face (Eckhart).
After taking the blame for his death, Bat-Man has hung up his crusading cape and has seen crime almost obliterated in Gothem City under the “Dent Act.”

Yet all is not so peaceful, as the arrival of the “cat” burglar heralds an even more malevolent character, Bane, an escaped maniacal Slavic prisoner with a device that makes him sound even more diabolical than he is (think of a helmet-less Darth Vader or a white Mr. T) .
With an army of madmen and escaped cons, plus the innate ability to pound Bat-Man in a pulp, he soon takes over the city.
With the aid of a hidden nuclear bomb made out of a cold fusion reactor, he holds the population hostage while the Caped Crusader languishes in a hole in the ground prison that seems Russian in origin (although we are never told).

Meanwhile, more treachery from Catwoman has led Bruce’s Wayne’s identity to be stolen and all of his assets taken, leaving the Wayne Foundation a shambles and resulting in the return of former friend and colleague Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”).
The inclusion of Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“50/50”) as John Blake, and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (“La vie en Rose”), as well as Gary Oldman’s usual stellar work, plus a few cameo surprises, amazing action sequences and stunning plot twists, “The Dark Knight Rises” closes out its third episode as enjoyable as any three-movie effort since “The Lord of the Ring” trilogy, and perhaps even better.
A certain Academy Award nomination for Best Picture is surely in store for this film.