The Dark Knight Rises brings down the curtain on the brilliant Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader. Each of the earlier episodes, Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), earned a spot on this critic's annual Top Ten List, #s 9 and 1, respectively.
Given how the late Heath Ledger played The Joker to perfection, delivering an inspired, Oscar-winning, career performance in the previous installment, you knew it would be hard for Nolan to find as compelling a character for his highly-anticipated finale. And if The Dark Knight Rises does have a weakness, it lies in the fact that its primary villain pales in comparison. Otherwise, the movie measures up to franchise expectations, though its convoluted plot and 2¾ hours running time is likely to have younger kids squirming in their seats.