The Dark Knight Rises is not as good as it should be.  I blame Bane.

Bane is my least favorite member of the Gotham City rogue’s gallery, so I admit to being predisposed to disliking any story he’s in.  He was crafted nearly twenty years ago for one purpose, to be the catalyst villain for a “crossover” story in which Batman is disabled, and must be replaced.  For 16 months, the Batman family of comics “treated” readers to an agonizing demonstration of why only Bruce Wayne should be Batman.  Bane was introduced so the, then, flourishing comic book collecting market would have an obtainable “wall book.”  That is “first appearance of Bane,” which was $1.25 four months ago, would fetch $20; stoking the concept of comics as investments.

“Rises” is enjoyable, but suffers in writing and editing.  The audience often wonders “how did he get that?” or “why did that happen?”  “Rises” really wants to make a point that it is the end of a trilogy.  It fails in being organic about it.  References to events of the second film are very thoroughly explained, and have natural progression.  References to the first are more central to this plot, but make me ask, “just what the hell was Ra’s Al Ghul’s plan?”  Because blowing up Gotham seems to be the sum total of it.  And there really are easier ways.  Plot holes give way to a labyrinthine complex of sewer passages into which the story is dropped, failing to explain a long series of atrocities which can only be ended with an again revitalized Batman leading army of police, Wayne Industries super-gadgets, and Catwoman.

On the other end of the spectrum are the characters, acting, and cinematography.  These were mostly awesome.

I’ve said that well lit, in focus, action sequences, like those in the brightly clad Avengers, are superior to what’s in most films.  The trick is to know when to bring the lights up full, and when to shut them off and let the Batman almost appear from shadow.  In this regard, “Rises” opens strong, but ends weak.

Christian Bale is actually a pretty good action actor.  He carries the twin characters of Bruce Wayne and Batman well, but here I think he is saddled with a fugue state in the story, hampering his performance.  Tortured Bruce Wayne is repeatedly relieved of his ability to be the Batman, only to rally and fully recover, again.

I’ve previously suggested Anne Hathaway for a starring role in an action film.  While she’s a little stiff in some of her fighting sequences, those are the stretch for her.  Her portrayal of Selena Kyle had a depth and believability of character missing from other (recent) actresses’.

All in all, I wanted “Rises” it to be better than it was.  It seemed that whenever I felt it was a bad film, Catwoman would jump on the Batpod and ride away from us.  With the camera following at a respectable, in focus, distance.  As I said, the cinematography was awesome.