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Review: 'The Dark Knight Rises' more than shines, and on many levels

Potent, persuasive and hypnotic, "The Dark Knight Rises"has us at its mercy. A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch, this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard. So much so that, its considerable 2-hour, 44-minute length notwithstanding, as soon as it's over, all you want to do is see it all over again.

That desire comes despite — or perhaps because of — the fact that "The Dark Knight Rises" might be the bleakest, most despairing superhero film ever made. It uses a wholly terrifying villain to emphasize the physical...