Alan Dee’s guide to new cinema releases: The Dark Knight Rises

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The decks have been cleared for what’s probably the biggest release of the summer, so pity the assorted also-rans and arthouse offerings that are also scheduled for release this week as the mighty Batman behemoth moves majestically into the multiplexes and barges any other upstart intruder out of the way.

A big summer event movie is all about the numbers, of course, so here’s a number to bear in mind before committing to Christopher Nolan’s latest exploration of the Gotham City scene – 164.

That’s not the number of flashing new gadgets on screen, the cost in millions of the special effects or even the range of options available from the location caterers every lunchtime – it’s the running time.

If you’re interested in value for money you may well be reassured that you’ll be getting the best part of three hours of glossy goings on for your money, but isn’t it time that cinema bosses started thinking about bringing back the interval when films stretch out towards the 180 minute mark?

Just think of the opportunity it would offer to sell more overprices popcorn, soft drinks and pick and mix...

The Dark Knight Rises has all the ingredients fans will expect – Nolan’s stylish set-pieces, Christian Bale looking moody, and stars galore – Tom Hardy, Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are just some of the familiar faces who crop up in a lenghty and distinguished cast list.

So what’s it all about? Well, this is the conclusion of Nolan’s trilogy, and eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight which saw Batman/Bruce Wayne disgraced.

But our hero can’t help pulling on the cape again when the latest superbaddy – Tom Hardy, who was frightening enough in Bronson and who will soon be heading the remake of Mad Max – declares all-out war on the good folk of Gotham City.

If there was ever a critic-proof movie, this is it – the steamroller will sweep all before it this week, and probably for weeks to come.

Just bear that lengthy running time in mind before you settle back in to your seat – it will be a long time before the final credits roll.