If The Dark Knight was about the War on Terror, The Dark Knight Rises puts equal force and fury behind a tale about financial crisis and revolution. It’s the first Occupy Wall Street blockbuster, and that Christopher Nolan’s film was well underway before the OWS movement even got started is a tribute to his perspicacity.
The new film is a pleasure, sprawling in its storytelling, satisfyingly brawny, and occasionally moving, particularly in a terrific final act. In addition to all of that, the movie is so unabashed about its conservative message that you practically expect it to end with a dedication to Ronald Reagan. See if you can think of the last movie you saw that shows hundreds of big-city police officers lining up against a rowdy mob — and the police are the good guys. The movie is a counter-revolutionary document with as much damnation for populist revolt as Dr. Zhivago.
Like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises is slow to get started and features a lot of long, talky, somewhat painstaking exposition before Batman finally appears about 45 minutes in. After staying out of the public eye for eight years, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a mass of scar tissue who can’t walk without a cane due to a bum knee. Alfred (Michael Caine) is more or less a nanny to him, and at a fancy party he is helpless to stop a society jewel thief named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) from robbing him of his mother’s pearl necklace.