Batman has been gone for eight years, Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, but when Gotham comes under attack, he returns to fulfill his promise to his city. That is the best, non-spoiler way I have to sum up Christopher Nolan's Batman finale, The Dark Knight Rises.
The series of films that started back with Batman Begins comes to a close with this tense and entertaining piece of pop entertainment. While it never quite reaches the emotional highs of its predecessors, your eyes remain glued to the screen till the credits roll, and a large part of that is due to the newest additions to the cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway. Levitt portrays rookie cop, John Blake, with righteous indignation at the way that the police force has become complacent in the eight years of peace time in Gotham City. As for Hathaway, she steals the show as Selina Kyle (also known as Catwoman). Hathaway takes the famous cat burglar, and adds emotional drive -- such as fear, anger, and love -- behind her actions, humanizing a character that could easily be seen as a stock criminal looking for what's her's.
As a fan of the comics, it's enjoyable to see how the story draws heavily upon some of the more awesome Batman story arcs, such as "No Man's Land" and "Knightfall," to create a plot full of forward momentum. The Dark Knight Rises is constantly moving forward, trying to cram in as much as possible in two hours and forty-five minutes, often not leaving as much room, like the first two did, to soak in the emotion of the proceedings before carrying on to the next scene. Even still, the plot is rock solid, and works to convey a full-bodied story about rising to meet challenges when they come.
Seriously, if you love Batman you're gonna see this movie no matter what anyone says, and you should. It's an awesome movie that is extremely well done. It's well directed, exceptionally acted -- in particular a series' best turn from Michael Caine as Alfred the butler -- and it concludes the story Christopher Nolan started seven years ago in a satisfying, and believable manner. To ask a movie such as this to live up to its predecessors -- both of which happen to be in my top 20 favorite films of all-time -- is almost impossible. While it is the weakest of the trilogy, I've already seen it twice and look forward to seeing it many more times. Why? Because the weakest of this trilogy is still better than ninety percent of the other blockbusters out there.
I give The Dark Knight Rises an A!