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Tym says

A crescendo; overwhelms any plotholes with epic power and sheer intensity.

Darren says

A cap to an amazing trilogy, Nolan brings to bear many of the same standards of the past two movies—it fails to deliver on a few counts for me—mostly involving a few suspect plot points and some overly convenient plot devices. They did the unthinkable—they let Batman be happy.

Ciaran says

An underrated achievement considering he lost the Joker and had to redo what he planned bringing it full circle to the first film.

History

How can the Batman rise out darkness and bring a new future for his city?

If Batman Begins is his dawn, then The Dark Knight is dusk, and The Dark Knight Rises is the midnight of the soul.

What lies beneath? The difference between this film and its esteemed predecessor is chaos vs. control. The Joker was a savant tactition bored by his brilliance who always threw a monkey wrench into his own machinations just for the revelation of surprise. He sees only an abyss in himself that he wants everything to be devoured by. Bane, like the head-wringing Col. Kurtz of Apocalypse Now, is a populist revolutionary who misuses fear as a lockhold of total control. He is really a mad demagogue crushing everything in his grip. But isn’t the Batman about chaos or control? No. Though his inspiration was forged from fear, The Batman is not fear, he is in truth the inspiration of focused self-empowerment, an idea that lifts all who dare to actualize it past the abyss or the prison.

Bane’s deathgrip on Gotham reflects Charles Dickens’ a Tale of Two Cities, but by synchronicity, took unexpected relevance with the real-life Occupy movement. Occupy arose to defend the common people from a corrupt and indifferent power structure. Though Bane postures as such a populist, he is just a distorted reflection of the tyranny he fights. a better case can be made that the Batman, and his underground supporters, are the true analog to the Occupy movement’s ideals, remaining ethical with communal parity in the face of oppression. Between the power structure that caved to extortion, and the hypocrisy of Bane’s thug coup, they have become outlaws with the true moral center to prevail.

Director Nolan is clearly responding to certain comic arcs, including Bane in "Knightfall" (1993) and the overrun Gotham of "No Man’s Land" (1999). But he is also taking conspicuous cues from the uniformly acclaimed TV series the Wire: two of its actors, the Baltimore row houses, and most importantly- the epic and intricate mosaic structure of its complex narrative. Can one person make a difference against corruption? Perhaps in league with common allies, little by little. He also opens the film with a grand James Bond homage, with an aerial jawdropper in the spirit of films like Moonraker and Octopussy.

This is the film that finally got Selina Kyle right. Catwoman has always been a composite, shifting according to whim. First a socialite cat burglar patterned on Hedy Lamarr, then a comic foil in a cat dress. But, despite its flaws, the camp Batman ’60s TV show actually refined the best Catwoman: a black-leather kinkinatrix (played by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt) with an edge under that slyness. This riff took on an effectively diseased tenor in Michelle Pfieffer’s arresting turn as Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992). But the Catwoman that really matters, above all, is the star of Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke’s essential graphic novels "Selina’s Big Score" and "Trail of the Catwoman" (a.k.a, "The Dark End of the Street"; 2001): a D.I.Y. punk in leathers and Doc Martens, defending her decaying streets from corrosion with whipsmarts. (Note to future creators: stop designing heroines in heels. They’re a sexist holdover and damned impractical.) Ultimately, Anne Hathaway’s riveting Selina in Rises is a perfect synthesis of the Lamarr minx, the leather vamp, and the street fighter. Most importantly, she is the Batman’s equal in every regard, The One. Together, they are more.

And in the end, Batman has become an idea, that will always rise to a new dawn.

The Dark Knight