The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises


Needless to say, I think film reviews are pretty important.

So when I read that some kooks have issued death threats to critics who wrote bad reviews of “The Dark Knight Rises,” it was actually kind of exciting to me.

Naturally, I don’t condone the threats. I hope that disgruntled readers continue to express their anger in the traditional, legal method of writing nasty letters to the editor.

Still, it’s good news that people care so much about film reviews.

It’s even better news that I genuinely liked “The Dark Knight Rises.” Whew.

“The Dark Knight Rises” lives up to the hype. It’s engrossing and suspenseful. It’s three hours long, but never boring. The plot is complicated; but I didn’t mind because I’m sure that I’ll want to watch it again and again on television in years to come.

About the only negative thing I have to say about the picture is that it is exceptionally grim. Director Christopher Nolen definitely put the “dark” back into the Dark Knight.

In 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” Batman (Christian Bale) lost his moral compass and his girl.

In “The Dark Knight Rises,” his losing streak continues. A masked super villain comes to Gotham City to rob our hero of his arsenal of weapons and his $billion fortune. The bad guy literally breaks Batman’s back and leaves him to rot on the bottom of a prison cave in the desert.

Most cookie-cutter superhero flicks have little suspense and don’t even inspire me to root for the hero. “The Dark Knight Rises” made me yearn for a happy ending. I was sincerely rooting for Batman and that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Christopher Nolen (“The Prestige,” “Inception”) knows what he is doing. Nolen weaves stories that are artful but unpretentious, complex but accessible.

Plus, he’s wise enough not to incorporate too many digital effects in his action films. 3D, computer-driven superhero movies are prettier to look at, but they don’t feel as suspenseful or as dramatic as films that are shot on real sets with real stunt men.

As it happens, the climax of “Dark Knight Rises” is almost identical to the ending of “The Avengers.” The big difference is: I honestly didn’t know whether Batman would survive. And I sincerely cared whether he did.

Considering the fact that critics were threatened for writing scathing reviews, I am not sure that I would have the guts to pan “The Dark Knight Rises” if I had hated it. And I guess I’ll never know because the movie is so darn good.