The long-awaited "The Dark Knight Rises" -- the latest big-screen treatment of DC Comics' Batman -- will hit screens this week, and the early movie reviews are looking good. The movie builds on the 2008 hit "The Dark Knight," and maintains its dark, brooding tenor. Though the mayhem is not for everyone (were comic books?), I'm glad that the Caped Crusader has developed into a strong movie franchise in director Christopher Nolan's trilogy. The Superman movies never achieved this sort of complexity, and some other recent super-hero movies have turned into an amalgam of special effects. Here are some excerpts from movie reviews:
Tribune -- "The Dark Knight Rises" is not dull, or even overlong, despite its running time. It's more an example of what one character, in a cameo, refers to as "the decadence of Gotham" — Gotham in this case meaning Hollywood. Nolan amalgamates the second movie's9/11 breakdown vibe with rampant, murderous visions of class warfare and economic despair.
Associated Press -- There's so much going on here ... that "The Dark Knight Rises" feels overloaded, and sadly lacking the spark that gave 2008's "The Dark Knight" such vibrancy. The absence of Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the anarchic and truly frightening Joker, is really obvious here. It retrospect, it makes you realize how crucial Ledger's performance was in making that Batman movie fly. By comparison, "The Dark Knight Rises" is plot-heavy, obsessed with process, laden with expository dialogue and flashbacks that bog down the momentum and -- dare I say it? -- just flat-out boring at times.
Los Angeles Times -- Potent, persuasive and hypnotic, "The Dark Knight Rises"has us at its mercy. A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch, this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard. So much so that, its considerable 2-hour, 44-minute length notwithstanding, as soon as it's over, all you want to do is see it all over again.
Washington Post -- Nolan ... has made a completely satisfying movie with "The Dark Knight Rises," one steeped enough in self-contained mythology to reward hard-core fans while giving less invested viewers a rousing, adroitly executed piece of popcorn entertainment. What's more, Nolan has heroically resisted the siren call of 3-D, that odious gimmick that has done nothing more for cinema than separate people from their money for no added visual or narrative value. Instead, he has thrown in with IMAX, whose bold detail and boxy framing are just right for this big-shouldered production. "The Dark Knight Rises" looks terrific, from its handsome, uncluttered production design and subtle costumes to impressively staged stunts that unfold with taut lucidity.