Christian Bale cuts a rug with Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises
After the anarchic laughs and cagey political allegory of The Dark Knight (2008), Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy sinks back to the level of the thundering, self-serious Batman Begins (2005). Christian Bale has always been a stiff as the Caped Crusader, but the second movie was blessed with Heath Ledger's outsize performance as the Joker; the celebrity villain this time around is Anne Hathaway's Catwoman, and while her shiny black leotard may conjure up impure memories of Julie Newmar, her snarky line readings can't compare with the show Ledger put on. The script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, takes a few vague pokes at Wall Street and the financial elite but mainly revives the ponderous psychodrama of the first movie. Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are the other new faces here; returning to grab one last paycheck are Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, and Liam Neeson. The Dark Knight Rises opens Friday; a trailer follows the jump.