By Mikhail Chernyavsky

Eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, Batman has vanished out of sight and Bruce Wayne followed suit, now snickered about like a modern-day Howard Hughes.

The triumph of “The Dark Knight Rises” is how it builds off the previous films and develops the characters in an all-too-real manner.

Commissioner Jim Gordon is still torn keeping the secret of Two-Face’s crimes.

We see the physical toll that being Batman has on Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), as all cartilage has been obliterated from his knees. His body is full of scars.

Perhaps it’s from the passing of time, but his hair is also showing signs of graying. These small details help make the suspension of believe easier for the series.

Batman’s humanity is what has drawn audiences into this hero and continues to do so.

Bane (Tom Hardy) is our masked villain plotting to destroy the city. He is the leader of a terrorist group that plans to free the people of Gotham from the tyrannical rule of the privileged.

In this realistic series of the shadowy hero, Bane is not the Venom addict with whom fans are familiar.

No longer is he sporting a Luchador-like mask with tubes pumping Venom into his head, but instead it is a wired metallic mask that not only feeds him a drug but also serves as a symbol of terror.

Nevertheless, Bane is still the ruthless brute force of nature that serves as Batman’s both physical and intellectual match.

Venom aside, one of the main fight sequences between the hero and villain pulls from one of Bane’s origin stories. It is a true treat for fans as Nolan intertwines his take with the comics.

With a mask covering his face, Hardy still manages to bring a lot of strength to the character with his precise choice of words. And, from another perspective, he could just as easily be a freedom fighter of the people with the same ideals that make him a villain.

“Rises” also re-introduces us to Catwoman, aka Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a very acrobatic thief.

Just as this trilogy can’t be compared to the previous series of Batman films directed by Tim Burton, it is hard to compare Hathaway to Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal, because the two are in different genres of film. Hathaway’s performance is much more realistic and not so over-the-top.

Hathaway is witty, sexy, and a little less crazy than the Catwoman (Pfeiffer) who was thrown out of a window in 1992’s “Batman Returns.”

And then later, with the added buffer of Halle Berry’s horrific debauchery of the character, any portrayal is bound to be an improvement.

This film is not only heavy with drama but is packed with wonderfully choreographed action.

“Rises” is rooted in idealism like the first film, “Batman Begins.”

Once again, it transcends the simple good versus evil fight to a justification of necessary evil.

And, like the first film, our villain is the catalyst for the chaos of a trapped city, but what ensues brings to question of whether the people of the city are really the evil ones and are they worth saving.

Our hero is tested physically and emotionally not just as a superhero, but as a man.

So although the plot may be a bit fantastical, Batman’s struggles to rise up to his potential are not.

With this film, Bale has given us a superhero to which we can relate because, like many of us, he’s a man fighting through adversity for what he holds dear.

“Rises” is an incredible film all around. The performances are Oscar-worthy and should not be brushed aside simply for being a comic book movie.

The action of this film is incredible and should be witnessed at the IMAX.

Go see “The Dark Knight Rises”, that is, if you didn’t already go to a midnight showing.


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