The Dark Knight Rises means business both mentally and figuratively. Anytime a film clocks in at one-hundred-sixty-minutes-plus there will be those that yell bloat and those that appreciate temporal filmmaking, but TDKR seeks to appease all camps.

Christopher Nolan puts layers of meaning in all his films and so it is with the Batman trilogy. If there’s true justice The Dark Knight Rises deserves more of a follow-up sequel, what with its boom-bam-boff finale, than Prometheus. One thing is certain; Nolan thinks that Bond films offer a template not to be passed up when making superhero films. There’s the requisite two femmes suggesting various levels of danger (Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway); there are action sequences, all of which are shot in IMAX format; add levels of duplicity and clear delineation between the successive acts; plus there’s a sense of subterfuge both in the characters and in the narrative.

Birds of a feather flock together so expect TDKR to surpass The Avengers (not on opening weekend but on total gross) for sheer meandering genre smashing as well as for bringing a semblance of intelligence to films based on comic book situations. Even as you’re watching TDKR you realize that Nolan has more up his sleeve than just Inception Lite. The politics are interweaved with the story to the point that 1-percenters and the other 99% all get their moment in the sun.

The Dark Knight Rises will not disappoint hardball comic fans but at the same time the middle act with its imprisonment subplot offers food for thought even as it seems to become a different kind of movie, more introspective in regards to the characters. Be prepared because the big reveals at the end, and yes there’s more than one, are pure movie magic.

— Michael Bergeron