Return of the Jedi and The Godfather Part III.  Those films have come up this week in getting ready for The Dark Knight Rises.  After one viewing, my gut is telling me that’s the ‘class’ where the last Nolan Batman film will end up:  by any other standard, a good film against what else is out there.  But when you have to follow up a pop culture classic, the bar and the expectations are too high, and fair or not, you’ll always be compared to the classic second film in the trilogy.

No spoilers since I know most of you won’t even get a chance to see it until today…

So what was ‘wrong’ with it?  A lot of exposition to get the story going.  A LOT.  I don’t know whether to call it Inception hangover (where you really did need the characters to explain to the audience the rules of the world), or despite Nolan’s track record, Warner Brothers had notes asking for it, but for an action film (which a Batman film has to be by default), I lost track of how many ‘And this is why I’m doing this’ monologues were spread through the movie.  One of my golden rules I always believed in with movies, is that if you hit the mute button, you would still get the majority of what’s going on. (This is the theory to why action movies always travel better internationally; ish blowing up means the same in every language).  I have doubts about if Rises passes that test.

That’s the general/non spoiler big problem with the movie.  Now what was right?  Going back to the ‘tie up all the loose ends’ that the last film is supposed to do, Rises does that in spades.  If you’re a fan of the first two films (and presumably you are), you’ll get plenty of references from earlier in the story (the only glaring omission is of one character that you can probably figure out going in).  For all the theories and minor spoilers I heard, especially this week, amazingly no one spilled the major twist and how the story ends.  So for my complaints, I did actually get the story tied up which was my lowball expectation for this film.  Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll talk here again in more detail about what I thought about certain plot points or the ending, but the Prince of Gotham did get a little ‘allergic’ at the close.  The last hour is definitely the strong point of the film.

So there’s your non spoiler review.  Have to wrap this by sending prayers to Colorado; I’m sure everyone like me who just came home from a midnight screening is doing a double take right now.  Have a safe weekend.