The Dark Knight Rises may be the darkest, the grimmest, the most depressing summer popcorn movie ever. There is only grinding reality to be endured in the harsh mirror it holds up to the audience. Who occupies Gotham? The 99 percent are janitors and delivery guys who are ignored and pass invisibly through halls of power. They are a cat burglar, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), who steals from the rich because it’s a good way for a clever girl to make a living. They are the idealistic young cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), whose romanticism will be shattered as he confronts the realities of his hero, police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman). And of course there’s billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). He has now turned recluse and is presumed to have gone all Howard Hughes, but over the course of this story — beautifully and bleakly written by Nolan and his returning Batman writers Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer — we will learn that he can still wield power even while hidden away in his stately manor. What happens in such an unfair world? A villain enters, this time in the form of the masked Bane (Tom Hardy), who takes advantage of those who are hurting. Hardy deserves especial mention: His eyes and his body language are about all he has to work with as an actor, with most of his face covered through the entire film, but he is a terrifyingly brute presence. They’ve made a dark movie for our dark days even gloomier and less dismissible as mere entertainment. This is a beast of a film, a beast that has us all in its red and rageful glare.
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The Darkest Knight