As we reach the end of Summer 2012 it's apparent that superheroes ruled the movie world. And as entertaining as each of the big three superhero movies (The Dark Knight Rises, Marvel's The Avengers, and The Amazing Spider-Man) were, in my opinion one clearly stood out.
The Dark Knight Rises pulled off the three-peat to perfection. As billionaire Bruce Wayne forged a path from uncertain young boy to an older and wiser introspective man, Christian Bale came to fully embody the heart and soul of someone put through the wringer trying to do what's right and knowing it will never quite be enough. There's always going to be evil in the world, even from the most unexpected places. Bale fully embraced the suit in this finale, wore his heart on his sleeve, and proved again why he's an Oscar winning actor.
With such a pitch perfect hero it's important to have an equally formidable villain and while not as iconic as Heath Ledger's Joker, Tom Hardy's Bane certainly packed a punch and literally brought Batman to his knees. Even with a breathing mask obscuring most of his face he was able to convey so much through a mere look or a slight body movement. I didn't expect much from him going in but he completely won me over by the end. My only disappointment was with the overly quick resolution to his character. He should've gone out with a bang not a whimper.
As the big two fought it out, there were a slew of impressive secondary characters. Anne Hathaway's Catwoman brought a bit of sexy playfulness to her role and became a worthy ally to Batman telling him some heartfelt truths about himself and his future. I can easily see her reprising her role to carry her own superhero movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as endearingly heroic policeman John Blake, whose background of being an orphan and wanting to do what's right no matter what, clearly can be seen as an unjaded younger version of Bruce Wayne. The final glimpse we get of him have me giddy for future possibilities. And a final shout-out goes to Michael Caine's Alfred, who like no time before has clearly embraced his role of father figure to Bruce Wayne and brought tears to my eyes with his words of love and hope for his young master's future.
While The Avengers has won the Summer box office race, it never came close to the emotional and political impact made by The Dark Knight Rises. With its amazing visuals, action-packed chase scenes, and cool new toys courtesy of Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox, this movie is a feast for the eyes. As the final movie there's a definite feeling of satisfaction and completion for director Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise. From start to finish it showed how an average man can make a difference and inspire others to action as well. This franchise has set the bar for making money while conveying deeply emotional messages and is Christopher Nolan's crowning achievement.
My rating for this is an A+!