“The Dark Knight Rises” to high expectations

Following 2008’s extremely successful “The Dark Knight” was not going to be an easy task, but Christopher Nolan along with his star-studded cast certainly rose to the occasion.

Christian Bale reprised his role as the unnecessarily gravel voiced hero in the final installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Joined by returning cast members Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Kane among others, the new additions of Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy shine.

Tom Hardy takes the role of the villain this time around, doing a rather disturbing facemask as the character Bane. He’s large, tough, and certainly gives Batman a run for his money.

Anne Hathaway’s performance as Selina Kyle/Catwoman makes me want to be a better woman. Her portrayal of the character brings out a harder, more empowered woman who has been through her fair share of (mysterious) struggles rather than a hyper-sexualized typical female character. There’s no doubt that Hathaway’s skin-tight cat suit and sleek all-black wardrobe of Selena Kyle highlight her amazing physique, but it only means she can kick some serious ass while looking hotter than everyone else.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt took up the role of John Blake admiringly. He makes himself the second hero of the movie, the everyman’s hero. He’s relatable, and, as usual, adorable. Regardless he gives a poignant dramatic performance.

If you’re thinking the cast list looks eerily familiar to “Inception” you’re right, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nolan knows how to find actors seemingly made for their given roles, even if they are the same handful of actors.

While Batman’s main villain to battle was Bane, he was fighting more than just a villain. After eight years in hiding Bruce Wayne drags himself out of seclusion to save his city, not just defend Batman’s reputation. The movie is less of a direct power struggle between two representatives of good and evil like in “The Dark Night” but rather good and evil as a whole. All of Gotham is left to fight, deciding whether good or evil will prevail.

The evil that descends upon Gotham courtesy of Bane and his band of mercenaries vaguely looks like what would have happened if the Occupy movement got uber-violent. They take from the richest of Gotham, leave the police powerless and let the people take control of the city. Bane often asserted that it is not he who is causing the evil; it’s the overly rich citizens of Gotham. Sounds familiar.

Nolan is known for his special and dramatic events, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. CGI effects were not over-done, making them even more effective when used. Batman is all about the show and his gadgets were definitely all that. Cars, motorcycles, and flying bat-copter-like gadgets were in abundance.

“The Dark Knight Rises” more than adequately ends this epic trilogy. Plot twists and action are abundant throughout, sure to keep you on the edge of your seat all two-and-a-half hours plus. The film is undoubtedly long but it flows so well it does not seem overdone thanks to a plot not solely focusing on Batman but rather than working as an ensemble cast.

After the tragedy of Heath Ledger’s death brought unimaginable amount of focus to “The Dark Knight,” Nolan was left with the great task of finishing what he started. “The Dark Knight Rises” ends the series perfectly, leaving viewers content with the series stopping at three. See “The Dark Knight Rises,” I promise you’ll like it.

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