"There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne," Kyle purrs at one point. "You and your friends better batten down the hatches, 'cause when it hits, you're gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."
To lay out the storyline in detail dances on the edge of spoiler, given the significant number of twists, turns and surprises Nolan tosses in. He never cheats; he includes enough clues as to what's happening that nothing really comes completely out of left field.
While there is no performance here quite as wondrous as the late Heath Ledger's as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," the cast's work is sterling, from the big roles to the smallest.
Christian Bale was fine as the Batman in the first two films, but he is even better here, adding nuance and shading that was absent before. Anne Hathaway provides some much needed zest and sarcastic wit (she gets most of the good lines) as Kyle. "Dark Knight" veterans Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Michael Caine (Alfred) are at the top of their games.
Tom Hardy has the hardest role as Bane, since he's asked to speak his lines through a mask that makes him sound like Darth Vader without the heavy breathing. Even with that handicap, he still manages to project a feeling that Bane may not be the completely mindless brute he appears.
Keep an eye on the luminous Marion Cotillard ("Inception"), who provides just the right measure of allure, smarts and mystery as wealthy philanthropist Miranda Tate. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a wonderful performance as young police officer John Blake, who plays a big role in the film.
There are some problems. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, it is a draining film; you may find yourself yearning for a bathroom break. There are more than a few holes in the storyline, and at least one major continuity issue, when a scene starts in broad daylight and abruptly ends in the dead of night. (Even in Gotham, it doesn't get dark that fast.)
But those flaws don't keep Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises" from being a superb bit of work from a truly visionary filmmaker and a marvelous final installment on a grand retelling of the Batman saga.
As a cop tells a younger partner when Batman first reappears, "Boy, you're in for a show tonight, son." And, indeed, it's been quite a show.
Need a refresher?: Teays Valley Cinemas and Great Escape Nitro will screen the first two films in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy prior to the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." At Teays Valley, "Batman Begins" is at 6 p.m. and "The Dark Knight" at 9 p.m. At Nitro, they're 6:30 p.m. and 9:05 p.m. Tickets are $5 each. Call 304-201-7474 (Teays Valley) or 304-769-0409 (Nitro).