Duration: 164 mins
Chris Nolan's third instalment of the successful and much loved Batman reboot is finally unveiled, with the pressure of surpassing the billion-dollar-earning, Oscar-winning sequel The Dark Knight, can The Dark Knight Rises live up to its ridiculously high expectations?
To begin with, it's worth declaring that Rises is a breathtaking spectacle on a sublime scale; more so than Batman Begins, and on par with The Dark Knight.
We're thrust eight years into the future, and therefore the film takes a little time to re-establish itself, but does so satisfyingly within the opening half hour. The script incorporates snippets of relevant exposition in order to burst into the film's second and third acts with great momentum, allowing the events that take place thereafter to have the most impact possible due to the existing investment in the characters.
Christian Bale thrives as he does in previous entries, mixing billionaire recluse Bruce Wayne with masked vigilante well. Michael Caine's Alfred has meatier segments of dialogue early on, which certainly allow Caine to showcase his ability more than before. However, it's Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Selina Kyle that really impresses, as she threatens to steal the film all by herself. Tom Hardy's Bane is effective and as accomplished as his brutish character can be, but is unable to offer the dexterity of Heath Ledger's Joker.
Whilst the narrative and early structure isn't as polished as The Dark Knight, the set pieces and action sequences are just as mind-blowing. What's more, the screentime Batman and Bane share is just as riveting as the ones with Joker in the previous entry.
Various moments present a poignancy that's largely devoid in the other movies, and achieves the balance of emotion just right, especially where key characters are concerned. Things aren't hampered by the tremendous score courtesy of Hans Zimmer, either, and adds to the grandiose magnitude of events.
The Dark Knight Rises is a truly epic conclusion to Nolan's breathtaking trilogy. Apart from a slightly slow beginning, the majority is pacey, slick, thrilling and utterly spectacular. Anne Hathaway surprisingly stamps her authority, as Bale et al remain as watchable as ever. If there's one film to see this year, it's this.