‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Movie Review or: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Flies Full Circle.

Dr Peter Han Area 49 Lead Scientist The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review or: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Flies Full Circle.Okay, so I finally got to see “The Dark Knight Rises“… (Warning: There will be spoilers.)

What impresses me most about the epically entertaining “Rises” is how Christopher Nolan ties all three films together, forming a single cohesive story arc that, in the end, is as much about Bruce Wayne as it is Batman.

Eight years following the death of Rachel, Bruce (Christian Bale) is holed-up in the rebuilt Wayne Manor, the former billionaire playboy now a rarely glimpsed recluse sporting a cane, a laundry list of physical aliments and a gaunt, almost ghost-like appearance.

The Dent Act, spurred into law following the tragic demise of Gotham‘s venerated District Attorney, has cleaned the streets of organized crime. Bruce hung-up the cape and cowl long ago but he has not, laments Alfred (Michael Caine), moved on with his life. Instead he haunts the halls of his ancestral home just waiting, again laments Alfred, for things to go bad again.

It takes a memorable encounter with cat burglar, Selina (Anne Hathaway), during which she snags his mother’s pearl necklace, to finally snap Bruce out of his doldrums and back into action. Hathaway is amazing as the infamous feline fatale. In or out of the cat suit she emits a slow simmering seductiveness as precarious as her sharpened high heels. The gifted and dedicated actress not only succeeds at fitting nicely into that skintight costume, but also at revealing the damaged and hardened human being within.

Eventually Bruce, with the help of a young, idealistic cop played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, learns that the League of Shadows, now led by the neck-snapping Bane (Tom Hardy), has once again returned to destroy Gotham and Batman. Of course Batman is more than just a lone vigilante, he’s a symbol of hope meant to inspire others to rise up. And rise they eventually do.

The conflict between Bruce Wayne and Batman, between the man of flesh and blood and the “incorruptible,“ “everlasting” symbol established in the first two films comes to a stirring  resolution in “Rises.” The bad news about the final installment is that Batman dies at the end — then is reborn as the smart and capable Gordon-Levitt (thus fulfilling Ra’s al Ghul‘s promise of immortality). The good news is that Bruce Wayne lives.

Dr. Peter Han