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Released: 20th July 2012

Certificate: 12A

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway

Reviewer: Ben Harris

Seen as a classic comic adaptation, ‘The Dark Knight’ put an immense amount of pressure on Christopher Nolan to deliver a quality third entry. Expectations were high, so what does one do to avoid the curse of trilogies? Up the scale but keep focus on the story and stay true to the characters.

It’s been four years since Batman has been seen on the screens, but eights years have passed in the world of the Dark Knight. Having taken the blame for the death of Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne/Batman has locked himself away inside Wayne Manor. However, once word spreads about a terrorist leader known as Bane, Bruce must find the strength to return as the caped crusader before Gotham “turns to ashes”. Not only this, Wayne Enterprises is suffering from insufficient funds and a sexy feline, Selina Kyle, appears on the scene.

From the opening sequence you can tell the massive scope ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ plans to pursue. It’s an ambitious film, heightening the complexity in story and brimming with characters, and although it seems a tad overcrowded, each character is relevant to bringing the trilogy full circle. There’s a lot of ground to cover, meaning rapid time jumps, and the latter half seems slightly rushed after a slow paced beginning, but you become so absorbed by the mayhem that everything falls beautifully into place.

There’s action to appreciate, however the main focal point is emotion. Bruce Wayne is still battling his demons and, like Batman Begins, he has to rise up and learn to be Batman once again. Christian Bale conveys such emptiness and sadness that this is his best performance of the trilogy. Adding to the emotional pull is Michael Caine. As butler Alfred, Caine brings pure lovability; his parent-like persona digs deep and creates heart-breaking encounters.

On the other hand, additional characters bring something completely different – fear. This being Bane, beefed up Tom Hardy is one menacing villain. Unlike The Joker, Bane is a physical challenge for Batman, his speed and strength can’t be matched. Hardy’s stance and aggression will make your blood run cold, despite that, the spot light is stolen from a certain jewel thief.

Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Selina Kyle is utterly brilliant. Sexy and devious, she embodies the character with gusto, resulting in a thrilling watch. More screen time was needed for this little minx. Lastly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a likable presence, leading a great supporting cast of Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman.

Without the comparisons to ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Rises’ is simply an epic finale. Nolan and brother Jonathan (screenwriter) have created a world grounded in reality; home to enthralling characters and well crafted set pieces. The unpredictable last battle and closing sequence will have you squealing with delight, with an ounce of sorrow trailing behind knowing this near perfect superhero series is coming to an end.

Farewell Batman, you shall be missed, until an unnecessary reboot comes along.