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BESTThe Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Biggest Surprise: Where to begin? Like its predecessor The Dark Knight, the closing installment of this franchise twisted and turned on a dime like Batman’s high-flying Bat through Gotham. Dark in name and in tone, the film showed the fallibility (and occasional outright brokenness) of Bruce Wayne/Batman, regularly shifted the narrative ground underneath fans’ feet, and offered up a new, unexpected hero. No one has succeeded in presenting an underbellied superhero epic quite like Christopher Nolan, and Rises made for a finale as fitting as the Caped Crusader’s now-retired rubbers. —Lanford Beard
Image Credit: Ron Phillips
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