“The Dark Knight Rises” is no superhero movie. It is but a movie that easily ranks among the best, well-crafted forms of entertainment. I’ll only sum it up that way at the risk of (major) spoilers. It has none of the senseless bombast, almost every detail crucial to the story’s core: the burden of choice, morality, principles confronting the rise of ambiguous evil. The genre is the mask.
Christian Bale here is finally the star. Whereas in “Batman Begins” we are mesmerized by the exhilarating texture and scale of Nolan’s interpretation and in “The Dark Knight” we are suddenly shaken by Heath Ledger’s unforgettable performance as the Joker, Bale’s Bruce Wayne/Batman in this third and final installment is at the forefront, more human than ever. And though Tom Hardy gave Bane credibility as a legitimate adversary to Batman (his introduction is a study of masterful filmmaking), it was Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle (yes, she’s not mentioned as Catwoman) that slunk and stole many arresting moments in the movie. For a woman in tight suit who never resorted to the three-point landing, she is certainly a welcome surprise.