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I saw The Dark Knight Rises over the past weekend, and the movie was definitely worth seeing.  I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers in this review.

My initial reaction is that this was not as good as its predecessor, The Dark Knight.  I cannot, however, precisely put my finger on why.  The stakes, as one would expect, are higher.  The chance of victory, in some ways, seemed even farther away.  Despite this, it failed to convince me that there was a chance that Batman would not stop Bain.  

I think the real difference between the movies comes down to the villains.  The Joker, as masterfully portrayed by Heath Ledger, was intelligent and cunning, but unpredictable.  He had a goal, but could be flexible in its execution.  You knew he would strike, but not when or how.  Bain is more like a surgeon.  He has meticulously planned the demise of Gotham, and follows each step precisely.  His execution is chillingly efficient, but it also allows for him to be outplayed.  You can always be outplayed at chess (as Bain was), but who can predict when someone starts throwing pieces (like the Joker)?  And ultimately, the Joker’s wild exuberance is more entertaining than Bain’s calm, clinical attack.

Die-hard fans of the comic may be turned off somewhat by the changes to Bain in the movie.  He’s still an intelligent, powerful fighter, but now there is no exceptional explanation for this.  The mask delivers anesthetic to treat constant, chronic pain – not the drug which increased his speed and strength in the comics.  I was only bothered by this in that there was then no explanation for his fighting skill and strength.

I’ve written before about my opinion of having a hero who is mortal within the story.  All I’ll say about the ending is that I was convinced that Batman could die.

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