The Dark Knight Rises review

It's big, it's ambitious but does he pull it off? Jeremy Aspinall assesses the conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy

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The Dark Knight Rises review
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Director Christopher Nolan concludes his game-changing Batman franchise with another ambitious epic, which sees Christian Bale’s caped crime-fighter taken to hell and back.

Eight years on from events in the last film, Gotham City has seen nothing of the Batman since Harvey Dent’s death, and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse.

But when nefarious masked terrorist Bane (a beefed-up Tom Hardy) and his minions infiltrate the city and Wayne encounters slinky cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), it’s time for the tortured tycoon to suit up and get back in the game. Only this time, he may have bitten off more than he can chew, as his adversary is smart, organised and ruthless.

As with The Dark Knight, Nolan produces some superb set pieces (the plane hijack, Bane’s explosive assault on Gotham) and gets terrific performances from his cast, both regular (Bale is on top form) and new (nods to Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an idealistic young cop and Hathaway, who’s spot on as a sexy but no-nonsense Catwoman). But this is a long haul (at nearly three hours) and with so many different plot strands to fit in, the film’s momentum sags occasionally.

However, there’s so much that is good (breathtaking action sequences, star chemistry, directorial ambition) that Nolan can still be credited with producing a superhero franchise unmatched for its mood, menace and quality.