Christopher Nolan’s epic climax to his acclaimed superhero trilogy methodically builds into a breathtaking final third – which has an end game extremely befitting of Batman lore.
At fifteen minutes shy of three hours this trademark dark-tinted third instalment is undoubtedly a slow burner – but despite so many interlacing character and mini plot points, Nolan pieces everything together into a fanboy’s dream jigsaw.
Members of Nolan’s Inception cast all impress, Joseph Gordon-Levitt – sensational as do-good cop Blake – Tom Hardy as screen-dominating super-human terrorist villain Bane, and Marion Cotillard as socialite Miranda Tate, along with Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada) surprisingly spot-on as Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
With the returning cast of Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Michael Caine (Alfred) and Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) on their usual top-form – blended with continuity cameos from both Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) – then you’ve a trilogy that satisfyingly turns completely full circle by its end credits.
The Dark Knight hasn’t been seen in eight years – leaving Bruce Wayne holed up like a hermit in his mansion wallowing in self-pity – after assuming the blame for the death of Harvey Dent. But while the ‘lie’ has helped bring down crime in Gotham, the emergence of masked vigilante Bane aims to finally finish the job Ra’s League of Shadows started in Batman Begins and destroy the city – bringing the battered Batman out of exile.
Rises does threaten to get a little incoherent at times, and the sporadically inaudible synthesised voice of Bane – which really doesn’t do Tom Hardy any acting favours – is intermittently borderline comedic, but with so much going on it’s easy to ignore minor grievances.
There may not be a stand-out performance quite like Heath Ledger’s Joker in the preceding movie, but pound-for-pound – particularly taking into account Nolan’s ability to tie-up the loose ends and avoid Spider-Man 3 pitfalls – this is a truly engaging and epic finale that must be seen.
Just like Batman’s new Batwing vehicle this really soars – and has raised the bar for a superhero series that may never be beaten.
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Modine, Tom Conti, Ben Mendelsohn, Burn Gorman, Daniel Sunjata, Aidan Gillen, Nestor Carbonell, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson
Running Time: 2hrs 45mins
Director: Christopher Nolan