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11. 'The Dark Knight Rises' (2012)

At some point every genre seeks social relevance, a potentially ham-fisted folly that could leave fans feeling lectured and the higher-minded talked down to. Filmmakers often plead the Brothers Grimm Defense -- fairy tales conveyed larger meaning through seemingly childish trappings all the time. Indeed, great genre film often unearths the national mood -- "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956) and Cold War paranoia, a familiar example -- without addressing it directly. I'm not sure anyone would accuse Nolan of such a light touch. His Batman films addressed global warming, loss of privacy, jihad, financial meltdown. But this isn't a statement movie either. It's about one lone man tentatively standing up, not against an army but an amorphous dread. What's so metaphorical about that?
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