The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Brief review: Even if it doesn't quite meet the high expectation set by its predecessors, Nolan's long-anticipated conclusion to his "Batman" trilogy is still a great way to end the franchise. In spite of its 164-minute running time, "TDKR" never fails to entertain, thanks to the clever writing and gripping narrative, enhanced by the film's visual depth. In the same fashion as "The Dark Knight", "TDKR" has little to no 'comic book feel' about it, simply because its director tries to keep everything as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, that combined with the lack of humor makes it seem a bit too serious at times. Execution-wise, "TDKR" is nothing short of masterful, but considering Nolan's amazing skills that's not a surprise. Pfister's muted, almost noir-ish cinematography and gritty camera work match perfectly with both the movie's dark tone and Gotham City's grim atmosphere, and Nolan's refined, yet vigorous direction maintains the intensity of the story. While far from epic, the action scenes are well-shot and thrilling to watch, and the CGI work is first-rate and intentionally kept to a minimum. The acting is superb. Although a bit underused, Christian Bale turns in his best Batman performance yet. Anne Hathaway steals every scene as the seductive, yet shifty and manipulative Catwoman, Tom Hardy does an outstanding job as the astounding villain, Bane, and Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are at their very best.