Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Out from the Shadows 'Dark Knight Rises' Weaves Dark, Deep, Cohesive Tale for Fans of the Batman Trilogy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Out from the Shadows 'Dark Knight Rises' Weaves Dark, Deep, Cohesive Tale for Fans of the Batman Trilogy

Article excerpt

Watching "The Dark Knight Rises"-- all 2 hours and 44 minutes of it -- is like savoring a gourmet meal in a world where most of the food is flavorless, overprocessed or served in snack sizes.

It is the best movie of the year so far, comic book or otherwise, edging aside the relaunch of "The Amazing Spider-Man" and digging deeper than "Marvel's The Avengers" ever could.

Like a tailor stitching a hand-made suit, but borrowing the buttons or silk lining from a favorite old one, Christopher Nolan incorporates details and characters from the first two movies in a way that will reward anyone who remembers or revisits "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight."

As director, co-writer and producer, he kept a steady hand on the trilogy starring Christian Bale in the title role, and it shows.

"The Dark Knight Rises," opening at 12:01 a.m. Friday, is a rich, smart, satisfying picture that answers all of the questions fans have been speculating about for months: Who lives or dies, if anyone? Is there a possibility of a sequel or spinoff? Are Batman, Bane and Catwoman the only ones wearing masks visible or invisible? And was sweltering in 89-degree temps at Heinz Field as an extra in August worth it?

It was for Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Bill Cowher -- the back of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's jersey is more visible than his face -- along with others who may spot themselves among the black-and- gold Gotham Rogues fans.

In fact, the contrast between the angelic, sweet voice of C.J. Coyne of Allison Park singing the national anthem on the field and the emergence of terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) from the shadowy tunnel is one of the best sequences in the movie.

The story picks up eight years after "The Dark Knight" and the death of the sainted Harvey Dent -- or that's the image sold to the public and burnished by the conflicted Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). Bruce Wayne (Mr. Bale) is a wounded recluse, and long- absent Batman has been vilified since assuming the blame for the district attorney's death.

The Dent Act gave law enforcement the necessary teeth to clean up the streets of Gotham and crime has dropped dramatically -- if you don't consider fleet-footed and witted cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). She cracks a safe at Wayne Manor, steals the pearls inside, unapologetically utters "Oops" when caught and literally knocks the legs out from under Bruce Wayne and leaps out the window.

Alfred (Michael Caine) is increasingly worried and exasperated that Bruce hung up his cape and cowl but has yet to find a life and a purpose. "Maybe it's time we all quit trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day," Alfred says, even if that means losing the charge he cared for since his cries first echoed through Wayne Manor.

Like the father figures they are, Alfred and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) would love for Bruce to find romance again, possibly with Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), a wealthy philanthropist and Wayne Enterprises board member. …

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