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The Dark Knight Rises / Rated PG-13 for violence, sensuality, evil doings and ugly bad guys.

TDKR is the final film (yeah, right!) of the Batman Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan and featuring Christian Bale as the DK, Michael Caine as the butler and Morgan Freeman as the scientist in charge of science stuff.

The film takes place 8 years after The Dark Knight, in which Heath Ledger stole the show (as The Joker), won the Oscar and died before they could give him the award. This time out, CB as Batman/The Dark Knight lives a reclusive life in Wayne Manor. He gets around using a walker and on really good days, a cane. Michael Caine at 79 appears to be moving about the house better than the nearly decrepit Bruce Wayne aka Batman.

A new villain shows up in the personna of Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Bane looks like a Hulk Hoganized version of Hannibal Lecter. He talks through a funny device he wears over his face that makes him sound like Darth Vader after swallowing a razor. He kicks fanny of anybody and everybody he meets, including the entire Gotham City PD, and, in their first face off, Batman. Watching him work over the Caped Crusader is like watching George Foreman in his prime working over Pee Wee Herman in his. It ain’t pretty.

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Before long Bane is running the entire city. He has disposed of the police in a very clever way. Batman is pretty much bedridden having had his head caved in and stomped on by Bane. Helping Batman is Catwoman played by Anne Hathaway, who makes a much better bad/good girl than an Oscar host. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (best known to most as the teenage alien on the TV series 3rd Rock from the Sun) plays a young police detective and maybe more. Maybe a lot more.

TDKR runs a staggering 2 and ¾ hours. This is not as bad as it sounds, as the pace is relentless although the overall theme is still very dark. The opening sequence is spectacular and sets the tone. The film looks great in Imax (not 3-D) but due to the noise of the IMAX camera during dialogue sequences they also had to use 35 and 70mm cameras to make a watch-able and listen-able film. This makes the film appear letterboxed on the IMAX screen. The only problem I have with this film is the volume of the music score. Hans Zimmer is both prolific and reliable. He has written music for films as varied as this series, the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films, the war film Pearl Harbor and the Disney film about the Jamaican Bobsled team Cool Runnings. His TDKR music sounds like left over themes from The Terminator. Hans has created an incessant drum roll coming out of the left speaker that is pounding and seems to be there for 145 of the 165 minutes the film is on screen. It is annoying! The volume sounds like the band Spinal Tap when they crank up the amp to 11.

Lots of surprises at the end bring the film to a neat, if not exactly “final” conclusion. Go outside tonight. See the Bat Signal light in the sky? Probably not, but go see Batman for the last time. Yeah, sure. If you leave within 5 miles of a theater showing TDKR, you can probably hear the Zimmerman score from your backyard.

Rated 3.4 out of 4.0 reasons no way its over. No way.

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