***½/**** Image A- Sound A+ Extras A-
starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway
screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
directed by Christopher Nolan
by Walter Chaw For all its overreaching (and what's perilously close to a training montage), Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises is fascinating, engaging, and aggressively present. It's a wonderfully-performed melodrama about the sad, intractable state of our sorry state, painted in broad strokes in a muted palette. It's what many would think impossible despite the evidence of its predecessor: a comic book for grown-ups. And it accomplishes what it sets out to do without much in the way of action sequences or hero moments--the irony being, of course, that The Dark Knight Rises is fated to become the best-reviewed and most-lucrative release of 2012 for having the very same qualities for which the deeply-underappreciated Superman Returns was lambasted. I would argue that a wide swath of the people who will adore it will have difficulty articulating exactly why.