I'll start this movie review with a couple of disclaimers.
First, there will be no spoilers here. I don't want to ruin anything for anyone who's going to see "The Dark Knight Rises."
Second, I'm not a professional movie reviewer. I'm a Fanboy who happens to have seen A LOT of movies (I started college as a Theater major but switched when I realized I can't act or sing) and read a lot of comic books.
I'm also of the opinion that Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher should be tarred and feathered by an angry mob in a public square for what they did to Batman. It's even worse than what Lucas and Spielberg did the Indiana Jones (at least they got it right in the beginning, before ruining it).
OK, all that out of the way, how does a Batman fan feel about the final installment of this telling of the Batman story?
Simple. "The Dark Knight Rises" is the perfect way to wrap things up. It's an amazing bit of storytelling, staying on the line that started with "Batman Begins" and continued in "The Dark Knight" while still paying homage to the comics.
While "The Dark Knight" was centered more around The Joker and Harvey Dent, "The Dark Knight Rises" takes us back to Bruce Wayne and his relationship with his own alter-ego, The Batman. We can save the psychological discussion about which one is real person for a later date (hit me up on Twitter @DerekNBCSD if you'd like!).
While Tom Hardy is tremendous as the almost literally larger-than-life Bane, his character is not as deep as Heath Ledger's Joker. That's be design. Bane is simply a true believer. He has a cause. His every action is loyal to that cause. He wants an end result, and has a plan to get there.
The Joker, on the other hand ... well, he said it best himself.
"Do I really look like a guy with a plan?" he asked Harvey Dent just before blowing up a hospital. "You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just ... do things."
So Batman has to fight a foe who is completely different than the last one, and it's been 8 years since the bested The Joker. Throw in the fact Bane is physically superior to Bruce Wayne, who is dealing with a brand new kind of nearly crippling fear of his own, and you have Batman facing his toughest test yet.
The movie is cast brilliantly. I never thought I'd be able to get this far into a review without mentioning Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Her acting performance was as good as her appearance in the skin-tight black catsuit. Yes, she might look even better than Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in "The Avengers" and that is saying a lot.
The relationship between Kyle and Wayne, and how it carries over into the relationship between Catwoman and Batman, is done just right.
Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake (both new characters unique to this film) add fresh faces to the cast, and they work extremely well.
I've read other reviews that don't like this movie. Those reviewers can only fall in to one of three categories:
1) Academy Award voters who only like "artsy" things instead of movies real people actually like and are trying to buck the trend to get people to talk about them by being the rare dissenting opinions.
2) People who either don't like or don't get comic books.
3) People you would never want to have a beer with because they're wound way too tight to know how to have fun with anything.
"The Dark Knight Rises" is a wonderful piece of movie making. Sure, there are things wrong with it. Michael Cain's Albert spends way too much time pleading with Bruce Wayne to make a change in his life.Matthew Modine does not utter one word ripped from the "Full Metal Jacket" script.
But we're picking nits here. The bottom line is, "The Dark Knight Rises" will satisfy every question and craving Batman fans have.
It's like Nolan has a pipeline to the Fanboy's brain, and he took everything we hoped would happen and put it on the silver screen. You'll walk out of the theater happy that the Caped Crusader was finally done justice.