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Masterful 'Dark Knight Rises' Caps Batman Trilogy

Filmmaker Chris Nolan offers up a masterful ending to his caped hero trilogy.

Eight years after his last battle as Batman, the eccentric billionaire Bruce Wayne is a broken man. He lost the love of his life and has unjustly become Gotham City's pariah. His butler, Alfred, is his only friend.

But, a terror attack on the city brings the caped warrior back in action.

Tom Hardy plays the new villain, Bane. He rallies criminals against Gotham City. Once again, Christian Bale plays the Dark Knight. “This is the first time Batman has come across anybody who is superior physically," said Bale.

The Bane character presented an opportunity, Nolan said. "Batman might not survive the conflict with this person."

The cast is as impressive as his larger than life story. Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman, Batman’s lithe and limber adversary and love interest.

Nolan's cinematography and gritty atmospherics tap into fears of terrorism and economic meltdown. His scenario is post-apocalyptic. Its impact is enhanced by the gargantuan sets, including a plane that breaks apart thousands of feet in the air.

The Dark Knight Rises is certainly the biggest film I’ve undertaken by far," Nolan said. "We really looked to the silent era of motion pictures when the image was paramount, when you had the scope and scale of the location, thousands of extras, that kind of thing.”

Nolan's Batman films have helped boost the comic book industry says Howard Marshall of Aftertime Comics, a comic book store in the Washington area.

“It’s very exciting really, it’s never been bigger," Marshall said. "The past ten years, it’s really grown. The movies have helped. Knightfall is the story that is being adapted for this new movie. The story was written 15 years ago, off the top of my head. Bane is in Knightfall."

But Marshall says children can't benefit. Like the movie trilogy, Batman comics have gotten darker.

“There is a rating system now," he said. "For your edification, it's in the bar code now. I don’t want to be responsible for kids seeing something that their parents are not going to want them to see yet because they are only six."

The Dark Knight Rises is not for kids. But it's an epic tale whose depth and timelessness speak to adults.