A quick note: My condolences and prayers go to those injured in the Aurora Theater shooting and to the friends and families of those whose lives were taken by a madman. There is true evil in this world, we never know when or where it will strike and we don't know what form or what level it will choose to form. The question we ask is "why" but there may not be an answer. Some men just want to watch the world burn. We can point fingers at our nation's love of firearms or at a comic book but at the end of the day, one man chose to do something horrific to innocent people who were there to enjoy one of our simplest forms of escape, recreation, and entertainment. It was the act of true villainy.
The Dark Knight Rises takes place 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne has given up the cape and cowl and lives as a recluse in the rebuilt Wayne Manor. The Dent Act, named after the late Harvey Dent, has resulted in the elimination of the mob from the streets of Gotham City. Commissioner Gordon is seen by some in the police force and the political realm as a relic of the past who is no longer necessary. Wayne Enterprises has fallen into near shambles without the leadership of Bruce Wayne. Batman is now viewed as a criminal after taking the fall for Harvey Dent's murder spree as Two Face.
Enter Catwoman, a mysterious thief who has gotten herself in with the wrong people and wants to be free of it. Enter Bane, an even more mysterious bad guy who is big, brutal and smart with loyal followers willing to die at his command. If you are familiar with story of Bane and Batman, I'll leave you here. If you are not familiar with their storyline then I'll only tell you that Bane is a great nemesis for Batman because he's not only stronger than Batman, he's also smarter and has another step up on Batman than you'll learn while watching the film.
The Joker will always be the ultimate enemy for Batman but while Joker's goal was to push Batman to his limits, Bane's goal is to break his soul.
The lesson that Nolan tried to teach us in Batman Begins was about possessing the will to act. The Dark Knight was about how far are you willing to go in that act. The Dark Knight Rises is about using your fear to empower you to act.
The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting end to Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. He wraps everything up in a nice way. At times, The Dark Knight Rises can be difficult to follow. I'm speaking specifically to a flashback scene and the action isn't as crisp as you'd hope it would have been, I even think it may have been too much story for one movie even thought the run time is nearly 3 hours (before previews). However, it's an exciting tale that leaves you wanting more. Not just more movie, but more Batman movies from Christopher Nolan and the superb cast he has assembled across the entire trilogy. There were two minor actors in the film that weren't quite up to par. One was killed off in the first 15 minutes, the other was an extra playing a police officer in a crowd of police officers running towards Bane's army. He mistimed his cue and looked a little silly flopping around like he was being fighting someone.
I'd say the film was overall excellent but I do think that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were better because you got a better story of the characters and their motivations. You do need to see the other films in the trilogy or you will miss some plot points of The Dark Knight Rises.
The manner in which the film (and the trilogy) would end has always been a question and even more so once Bane was announced as the bad guy. Again, you have to know the story from the comics. All I'll say is that it ends perfectly with the typical Christopher Nolan ending. Remember that spinning top from Inception? It's kind of like that. It's almost worth sitting through it a few times to watch the ending again and you pick out the subtlety's of the rest of the film.
I give The Dark Knight Rises 11 stars out of 11.