When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.

This is an intense film. I felt tired after watching it because there was so much tension and because I cared so much about the characters. Christopher Nolan actually got me to pity Bane. But he did so in a way that was more clever than the Spider-man films were. Bane was evil. E-V-I-L evil. But that made feeling that pity all the more amazing. Tom Hardy’s voice and acting as Bane were great. His backstory changed, but it fits within the Batman Begins universe.

This film changed so much about the first two. It gave greater meaning and greater emotion to the events unfolding because we now have the full context. At 2:43 it is a long movie, but there was clearly much left on the cutting room floor. Some scenes have a melodrama to them that the setting does not warrant, probably because of having to cut so much out. I would love to watch a director’s cut, but since neither Batman Begins nor Dark Knight had one, my wish is likely to go unfulfilled.

It is interesting that this was the first film not to focus on mental health, eschewing Christopher Nolan’s crazies and Bruce Wayne’s psyche for something more akin to spirit. It also deals with faith. Not the certainly of inevitability, but with believing in something without the firm footing to support that belief. It took very little faith to believe that The Dark Knight Rises would succeed, with the returning cast and director, only Heath Ledger’s shadow really stood in the way, but it still felt good to have my faith rewarded.

****½

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