Batman at His Best

A trilogy's superb climax in The Dark Knight Rises

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TDKR may not top the year's earlier megahit, The Avengers, at the box office, but who cares? The Avengers was kid stuff. This is for grownups, with bold, nuanced performances (expect Oscar nominations for Bale, Hardy and--as Bruce's devoted butler, Alfred--Michael Caine) and apocalyptic import. For once, a comic-book movie comes within hailing distance of the Greek myths or a Jonathan Swift satire. The Dark Knight Rises is that big, that bitter--a film of grand ambitions and epic achievement.

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