That pretty much says it all, wouldn't you agree?
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was announced as the final instalment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, after putting a lot of thought whether he would do it or not. In the end, he cave in... Not to popular demand, but to his - and his brother Jonathan's - idea of a perfect ending to one of the biggest blockbuster sagas in recent years.
The Dark Knight (2008) was a tough gig to follow up, thus the hesitation in prolonging the series, but let me assure you... this movie will not be a disappointment.
I have to say, even thought I'm highly impressed with the more recent versions I still reside as a big fan of Tim Burton's portrayal of the Dark Knight... in every single aspect. The 1989 Batman had a great opening sequence (not really relevant, but something I loved), Danny Elfman's main theme and the overall soundtrack was sublime, the way how Gotham city was stylized and put into life was incredibly creative, Burton's whole direction was amazing, in fact, I goes as far as saying that this project literally could not have had a better director. And the cast...
(Joker - Jack Nicholson | Batman - Michael Keaton)
With all due respect to Heath Leadger's magnificent performance, I have to say I much rather see Mr. Jack Nicholson as The Joker, even conceding the fact that their approaches are quite different from one another. I'm a bigger fan of Nicholson's mannerisms and his dark humour (the movie has such great lines). For some this can be very subjective. Some can argue the characters are based in different takes from the comic books, but when it comes down to picking one, I don't hesitate at all.
The same goes to Michael Keaton's Batman, who takes the first spot in the podium over the likes of Christian Bale, Val Kilmer or George Clooney. A lot of you might not even know this, but Michael Keaton's casting was highly criticized because of his comedic background, including Burton's other feature Beetle Juice (1988). Critics and audience felt like Keaton wouldn't provide a serious and dark element, much needed for the "Caped Crusader", but soon enough they were proven wrong and Keaton was praised by many.
Having said this, even with such "competition" - which in fact shouldn't be considered that way since they only increase Batman's popularity - Nolan's take is quite modern/contemporary, having crossed the fictional border into a more human and realistic territory... and all with such quality. Every now and then comes a trilogy which all three movies are regarded in the same level. This is one of those rare examples...
So what to say about The Dark Knight Rises?
It doesn't center as much on the "Bats" but around every other character around him and his precious city of Gotham. Bruce Wayne is definitely in focus, having to face an adversary like never before (even thought Joker is the most popular, Bane was by far his biggest challenge in the comic books) and Anne Hathaway is unbelievably convincing as Cat-Woman. I had my doubts about her, but was converted into a believer. She is fierceful, sexy, witty and knows how to lay some smackdown.
I strongly feel that Nolan could easily continue his work with the DC Comics hero with the same high consistency the previous ones had, but can't really judge him on his decision. We can only thank him for delivering an epic finale that will resonate for ages. I'm pretty sure these features will go down in cinema history. Be sure to watch it - and if you have access to an IMAX theatre, watch it there. It's worth the extra money.