The Batman franchise is a commercial for capitalism.
Even so, from the James Bond-style opening to the finale recalling The Tale Of Two Cities, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises certainly rises from the depths to the heights.
In it billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is sulking in his mansion because after his so-called disgrace for eliminating Harvey Dent/Two Face he's got nothing to do.
He's the guy who owns and controls a city with a compliant police force but who has to adopt the role of vigilante to defend his property from psycho-costumed clowns.
It's a caricature best expressed by the incomparable Heath Ledger as The Joker.
This time the principal protagonist is a bone-head called Bane (Tom Hardy) who kick-starts the amazing action with a mid-flight hijack designed to attract attention.
Poor old Bruce has to get fit and don his costume despite pleas to retire from his faithful retainer Alfred (Michael Caine, sounding like Dick Van Dyke).
In mitigation, he has just been burgled by a sexy new Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and charmed by the seductive Miranda Tate (Marion Cotilard).
As always there's the caring Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) who enlists an honest rookie cop (Joseph Gordon Levitt) to bypass his ambitious deputy (Matthew Modine).
The object of the exercise appears to be holding the population to ransom with an atom bomb driven by an entirely new fusion power developed by Wayne's technology business.
But like all masked balls nothing is as it appears
Every shot of Gotham is designed to recall post-September 11 New York, from the "war on terrorism" to the recent Occupy movement joining in the carnage.
Still, it's a cinematic tour de force with some genuine surprises that suggest future scenarios.
Guaranteed box office bonanza.
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