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'The Dark Knight Rises': A Fitting Franchise Finale?

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Jul 21, 2012 | 10:46am EDT

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Yes, we went to the movies this weekend. Despite the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., we trudged on, not allowing fear to dictate our lives and our decisions. And so now that we've seen The Dark Knight Rises, we can start the conversation every fanboy and girl had been anticipating before July 20's shooting cast a dark veil over the franchise's final film. What did you think of The Dark Knight Rises?   

Well, you've done it — you've finally done it. You've completed Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy with its final, action-packed installment, The Dark Knight Rises. And even though we're in the midst of a summer filled with an unprecedented amount of buzzworthy blockbuster reboots/sequels/prequels/prequel-ish-es, many would agree that TDKR was the most highly anticipated offering on the roster. And the expectation stakes couldn't have been higher.

So, now that the dust has settled — what did you think? Did Tom Hardy's Bane strike fear in your Gotham loving-heart, or was his muffled speech and murky terrorist agenda a disappointing followup to Heath Ledger's Joker? Was Anne Hathaway a magnetic Selina Kyle, or could you have done without her slinky suit and punchy one-liners?

I personally enjoyed many aspects of the film, especially its thrilling, visually stunning final hour, and its neatly-wrapped, overall satisfying conclusion. Joseph Gordon Levitt, Gary Oldman, and many other members of the supporting cast (including Hathaway and Tom Freaking Lennon) gave fine performances, and this was arguably Bale's best performance in the trilogy. However, I didn't experience a horrifying, visceral reaction to Bane like I did with The Joker (or Two-Face, really). His mask separated the man from his audience, and his agenda (Kill rich people because they're bad? Occupy Gotham Street?) didn't do it for me. The Joker stood for nothing but Chaos, and in a city like Gotham, that's all we really needed. He was scary as hell. From the first bank robbery to his final fall, we were with him, cowering in fear.

Oh, and one more thing — what did you think of the newly designed Gotham? The first two films were primarily set in Chicago, with Batman Begins using a ton of CGI to disguise its well-known skyscrapers (it also included the faux masonry of the Narrows and Arkham Asylum from the comics). It was dark, gritty, and exciting. TDKR was essentially an undisguised New York City, with bits of Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Newark, and London thrown in for good measure. It was a lot more realistic, sure, but the Gotham of yore sure felt a whole lot darker.

But this is just one person's opinion, and we'd love to hear what you think. Vote in the poll below, and be sure to sound off in the comments!

Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna

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[PHOTO CREDIT: WARNER BROTHERS]

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