Its something to see, all right this Dark Knight Rises.
An epic finale to the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Dark Knight trilogy, it has the summers best effects, the summers highest stakes Gotham City Armageddon the summers sexiest villain and the biggest comic book movie thrills and best comic book movie chills of this cinema season.
Its a film of awe inspiring set pieces and jaw-dropping stunts less of the Avengers/Transformers digital effects overkill.
Its topical, morphing the Occupy movement into a few choice messages about the few who take from the many, and the many who take anarchy to its logical extremes.
No expense was spared, all the stops were pulled out and a lot of effort went into tidying up this phenomenally successful film trilogy, tying up loose ends, sending it and everyone involved off with a bang.
And its wonderfully acted. The regulars are sharp, the new pieces in the puzzle interesting and Anne Hathaway is so good as Catwoman that this loooong film drags when shes not on the screen. But then, the character has been, for decades, so sexy and idiot proof that you wonder where Halle Berry went wrong.
The story: The Batman (Christian Bale) went into retirement eight years ago after losing his lady love (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and killing good-man-gone-bad Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who is now celebrated as a hero.
Gotham City has been cleaned up. Only crotchety old Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman, terrific) is still on a war footing when something wicked this way comes. That something would be Bane (Tom Hardy), a hulking, meaty-mitts-on-his-lapels terrorist who breathes through a mask and preaches anarchy. He will free the people of Gotham City by blowing it up either in bits, or all at once.
Hardy is so big youd swear he ate Kevin Smith to bulk up. But the posh voice he chose to send through that breathing mask sounds like Sean Connery imitating Darth Vader. Not that hes coherent, much of the time his lines are muffled by the mask and sound mix.
Selena Kyle (Hathaway) is cat-burgling the 1 percent who warns Bruce Wayne (Bale), Theres a storm coming, that the rich soon will rue the day that the few left so little for the rest of us.
Director Nolan fills the screen with returning players Butler Alfred (Michael Caine), Morgan Freeman as the gadget guru, Batmans mentor, Liam Neeson, and Cillian Murphy as the unnamed Scarecrow. Newcomers include Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a righteous cop, Matthew Modine as an inept one and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard as an energy tycoon. The script gives them all plenty to do and say.
And for a movie that aims for a certain tidiness, this one has a lot of random moments, unexplained and inexplicable actions by heroes and villains alike. I dont know about you, but I kind of like my screen heavies to have motivation for their villainy, and maybe an exit strategy.
That seems to be what Nolan was going for here, a film equal to the scale and messiness of the history were living through. Hes pro-Occupy Wall Street and anti-anarchy, pro police and against the 1 percent.
He takes this Have it Both Ways thing all the way to the climax, and beyond.
Nolan and his co-writers have delivered a film with a lot to chew on, and a lot more to see and hear. The effects put 2012 and even The Avengers to shame. The sound will overwhelm you; the huge set pieces are astounding.
If you have any soft spot in your heart for this rich guy with a cape, a temper and a serious Messiah complex, you will be moved maybe even to tears.
This is what summer popcorn movies were meant to be.