While never treading into downright preachy territory (thank goodness), Nolan gives the viewer some intriguing food for thought about the high price of greed in addition to the popcorn movie theatrics—a welcome turn of events in a summer when movies have felt even dumber than usual.

Also underscoring the theme of corporate responsibility (just one of many winks to recent headlines) is a professional cynic in a leather cat suit. Known as Selina Kyle by day and unofficially as Catwoman by night for her thieving ways, Anne Hathaway’s (Love & Other Drugs) performance is actually one of the movie’s best surprises. The reigning queen of the rom-com could’ve easily been out of her league alongside the likes of Bale, but she infuses their exchanges with plenty of sparkle as a whip-smart working girl. Warning Bruce “there’s a storm coming,” her words essentially prophesy the total destruction of Gotham unless a hero steps up.

To say much more about the storyline would rob you of the many joys of watching, so I’ll refrain from entering potential spoiler territory. In a nutshell, The Dark Knight Rises is a heavy but rewarding movie-going experience despite a couple of plotting missteps and clocking-in at about a half-hour too long. Anchored by solid performances, even cooler Bat gadgets than usual and a strong sense of mission, it’s one of those rare films that ends even more spectacularly than it began. Basically, if Nolan and his cohorts don’t get some Oscar love for this, they’ve been robbed.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Some social drinking depicted, a couple of references to drugs
  • Language/Profanity: Very little. A single use of bi---, he--, plus an instance where God is paired with da-- and one misuse of Jesus’s name.
  • Sex/Nudity: It’s implied that Bruce and a woman sleep together, but nothing is shown aside from kissing. Catwoman is a little flirty and slips the occasional innuendo into the conversation.
  • Violence: This is where the bulk of the PG-13 rating comes from. The movie has a very intense, ominous tone throughout and doesn’t shy away from violence. Numerous people, including law enforcement, are shot from both afar and close range. There are riots, fires, extended torture scenes, people being strangled and a scene where a bridge collapses with passengers trapped inside their vehicles. Bane makes veritable mincemeat of anyone in his way, even Batman.

Publication date: July 19, 2012