FILM FANS: Mixed emotions for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "The Dark Knight Rises." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

4 out of 4 stars

The final episode in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, came to a spectacular finale. Batman fans like me were not disappointed. All of the jaw-dropping special effects, gadgets and mobiles -- not to mention plot twists -- were all present. The old gang of Alfred (Sir Michael Caine), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) are all back. There is even a mirage/dream appearance of Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson).

New villain Bane (Tom Hardey), reminiscent of Darth Vader, high-kicking cat burglar Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), new Bruce Wayne love interest Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) and rookie cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) all round out the cast.

I saw this movie at Thursday night's midnight showing and it kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. I extend my condolences to Colorado.

This is a very action-packed movie for teens and adults.

-- Gail Nunez-Blackshear, Lawrenceville

1 out of 4 stars

Christopher Nolan's final chapter of his Batman saga is lacking in unfortunately more than just one way. For starters, it reminds me less of a superhero film and more of an "Inception" meets "2012" with Batman simply as the poster boy. It is more epic than epic and attempts to throw the spectator feetfirst into an array of un-superhero-like situations (government collapse, dictatorship and civil unrest) that would take much more than a guy in a goofy bat suit to solve in a world of reality (which is a world that Batman supposedly lives in, right?).

Nolan is neither shy in flaunting his arrogance to the audience nor bashful in spoon-feeding 3-D computer animated graphics, an over-complicated plotline, boring characters and a running time that is sure to make even hardcore Bat-fans squirm. Bane, the film's villain, outweighs Batman himself as every time we turn around, Batman is on his back, huffing and puffing in agonizing pain. "The Dark Knight Rises" is sure to impress devoted fans, but will disappoint the average viewer.

-- Michael Gorgoglione, Dacula

3 and a half out of 4 stars

The third and final installment in the current Batman franchise pulls out all the stops, bringing it all together in one big KA-POW in "The Dark Knight Rises."

Director Christopher Nolan once again helms this telling of the Batman story. Eight years have elapsed since the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, whose evil alter ego Two-Face was never made public; thus Dent has been practically deified by the press, while Batman takes the rap for his murder, becoming a pariah to both the police and the public. It's left to Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) to clean up the streets of Gotham City while Batman goes into self-imposed exile.

All is well until a new nemesis in the form of Bane (Tom Hardy) appears on the scene to "liberate" Gotham by blowing the city to smithereens. Bane is one BAAAAAD dude, a true psychopath with a mask covering his lower face -- kind of like Hannibal Lecter on steroids. Meanwhile, a hobbled and reclusive Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) encounters a cat-burglar-in-maid's-clothing (Selina Kyle, deliciously played by Anne Hathaway) stealing from Wayne Manor; their encounters provide a lot of the electricity in the movie as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman gradually discover more of each other.

Along the way, police detective John Blake (well-acted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) starts putting the pieces together about Bane's secret plans and gets wise to the true faces of Batman and Catwoman. All the while, mysterious wealthy investor Miranda Tate (Marion Cottilard) tries to get Wayne to invest in her green energy project.

Also returning for this final chapter are inventor Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Alfred the butler (Michael Caine) with much meatier roles and dialogue than in the previous two films.

Whew! Did you get all that?

The movie clocks in at 2 hours 45 minutes, so you need to either make your bladder gladder before the movie starts or skip the large Coke for the flick. Either way, this is ONE LONG MOVIE that builds slowly, makes sudden jumps in plot, but satisfies greatly in the end.

-- Tim Weekley, Suwanee