The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 12A, Director: Christopher Nolan

If you could make the perfect superhero film, what would you include in it? Terrific action and adventure? Peril and terror? Romance? Triumph over adversity? Hope? Legacy? Christopher Nolan has slammed the doors on his Batman film trilogy in style and with substance. This is a contender for one of the finest superhero movies ever made. In short, it is perfection.
Gotham is now at peace following The Joker's buggering around eight years ago, and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a frail recluse. What he hadn't banked on to muck things up was Bane, a brutal thug/man mountain played with expert horror by Tom Hardy. Bane is a villain of our times - he takes down the Stock Exchange with fiscal terrorism, as well as physical strikes including a devastating attack on Gotham's American Football stadium. He snaps necks, breaks backs and looks unstoppable as he takes control of a potential nuclear bomb underneath Gotham. With a plea from Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), Batman returns to fight Bane's assault and has an unlikely friend/foe at his side - Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway).
The relationship between Bruce/Batman and Selina/Catwoman is fun to watch and Hathaway steals the show; her Catwoman nabs the best lines and is a force to be reckoned with. Her suit is INCREDIBLE - all slinky cat goddess and the camera lingers as she bends over on Batty's bike. The other standout character is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's John Blake, a young police officer who quickly proves his worth to Gotham and understands Bruce Wayne's motivations, himself being an orphan. What John grows to become will have you whooping from the aisles.
The one ickle problem with TDKR is Bane's voice, indistinguishable at times especially during the opening plane sequence. What Bane says is not the priority here, we're not on a first date with him - he's all physical. The first fight between him and Batman ends very badly for our protagonist. Thrown into a foreign prison down the world's biggest well, Bane sets out to destroy Gotham in front of Bruce/Batman's eyes as a television screen plays out his destruction. Bruce's fight back to health and to save Gotham is a strong highlight, as he trains to climb and break out of the prison.
The final fight - when it comes - is hardcore. Both trained in the League of Shadows, they are a match for each other and Batman feels extremely vulnerable. Blow by blow, it's a fight to the death and a stunning action sequence which is thrilling for both fanboys and film lovers. Bane also shows his humanity at one point which is actually a little touching, despite his awful ways. The big softie!
At the end, we are left feeling complete as the story comes full circle. The legacy continues. Order is restored. What Nolan has achieved with his trilogy is phenomenal, and this is what the big screen was made for.
5/5 sonar squeaks