From its James-Bond-ian intro to political terrorism to a takeover of the Gotham Exchange to the proto-Occupy presence of the villainous “people’s hero” Bane (Tom Hardy, with face and voice masking), Head Batsman Christopher Nolan tries his best to put a stamp of topicality on the comeback of Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale again). He more or less succeeds. A cabal of scheming Wall Street financiers tangles with muscular mastermind Bane and his army of ex-cons for control of Gotham City, and they both duke it out with the law ‘n’ order faction: Batman, Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), Alfred the butler (Michael Caine), and police commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). It takes its time, and there are some strangely dull action scenes. The movie is also dead serious – it could have used, say, a total ten minutes’ worth of humor in its two-and-a-half-hour-plus running time. Because of its class-warfare overtones, director Nolan’s screenplay (written with brother Jonathan Nolan) is more interesting to discuss than to actually watch – but of course you have to see it to talk about it. And if you really believe this is the final Batman adventure, I’ve got some slightly used kryptonite I’d like to sell you. Also with Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Juno Temple, Matthew Modine, and Liam Neeson. (164 min.)
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Runs batted in.