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It is the end of an era. Next week marks the wide release of The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's third and final installment of his sprawling Dark Knight trilogy. Though it may be hard to believe, four years have passed since Heath Ledger's Joker terrorized Christian Bale's Batman in the 2008 blockbuster, The Dark Knight. Now, as the conclusion of this trilogy is almost upon us, one question seems to be on the minds of many moviegoers -- Will this film be able to "Rise" to the occasion and live up to its immense anticipation?
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a pre-screening of The Dark Knight Rises at the AMC Lincoln Square IMAX in New York City. As a life-long Batman aficionado and a huge fan of Nolan's interpretation of the character, it would be an understatement to say that I was blown away by the film. While I'm not able to write up a full review at this time (look for it next week), I will say that this may be Christopher Nolan's best work to date and that the superstar director has upped the ante in almost every way imaginable. This film stands on its own as an incredible movie-going experience, but it is is also strongly tied into the entire trilogy (which began with 2005's Batman Begins). The Dark Knight Rises has something for everyone: laughs, thrills, high drama, and explosive action. My personal advice is to stay far away from any potential spoilers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rises is on pace to earn the highest-grossing opening weekend for a 2D film ever (The Dark Knight held this record and has since been beaten by two 3D films), which is quite a feat amongst such a crowded marketplace. And aside from financial success, early reactions (like mine) point to Rises being critically praised, which means it will have broken the curse that has befallen so many lousy three-quels (see: Spider-Man 3, The Matrix Revolutions, The Godfather Part III, etc.).
While details surrounding the film's plot have been scarce, Warner Bros. has posted a synopsis on the film's official site:
Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ 'The Dark Knight Rises' is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
If you haven't already purchased your midnight tickets, good luck! The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20.