The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
We understand the frustration with the very complicated plot of this final Nolan Batman film, and also the eye-rolling at the many switcheroos near the end, but also: Wow. From the heartstopping opening scene — Tom Hardy’s Bane gets maybe the most impressive introduction of any movie character ever — to the devastating final moments, when Nolan really makes us believe, for a while, that something very sad has happened — this movie is completely engrossing.
Yes, it has some flaws — Why would Bane keep all those cops alive? — but we’re willing to roll with them in the interest of the movie not going too dark. Bane is maybe tied with Heath Ledger’s Joker for our all-time favorite villain, and we love the whole supporting cast. Michael Caine is the best Alfred, and this is his best movie in the role. Marion Cotillard is beguiling as the mysterious Miranda Tate. And Anne Hathaway is the all-time best Catwoman.
Yes, the movie feels dense, but when you watch it after Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, it’s hard not to recognize how deftly it ties the trilogy together.