The Dark Knight Rises ★★★★

Christopher Nolan has done it. I'm not exactly sure what "it" is, but it's been done.

No, The Dark Knight Rises is not as good a film as The Dark Knight, but its an overall better film than Batman Begins and a fitting end to one of the best trilogies of our modern generation.

The film suffers from being way too overstuffed with new characters and plotlines, so much so that it often felt like a long extended montage of scenes strung together. The movie actually reminded me a lot of a British crime miniseries in the likes of 'State of Play' or 'The Shadow Line' -- only if the six hour series was edited down to three hours by cutting out all the "filler".

That is to say, it still works as an overall whole, but it feels like scenes are being suffocated and crushed by the elements jammed into every corner.

The film also did not need to adopt the Die Hard model of sequel conflicts (first he saves a building, then an airport, then a city, then a country, etc.). There's a reason more people will donate for a single child in suffering than the genocide or starvation of a large group of people. Making the stakes bigger often makes them feel less personal.