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Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine
4 / 5
They say time flies when you're having fun.
And so it is with Christopher Nolan's epic conclusion to his Batman trilogy, 'The Dark Knight Rises'. While its running time is near on three hours, a riveting story and some very ambitious action sequences manage to keep the film from feeling too long.
It begins eight years on from where 'The Dark Knight' left off. After agreeing to let Batman take the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes, Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne is now living like a recluse in his mansion. With the help of sweeping crime reforms, all is relatively calm in Gotham City. The local law enforcement even jokes that their biggest problem will soon be chasing down overdue library books.
But, of course, Gotham couldn't possibly keep on an even keel for too long.
Enter glamorous cat burglar Selina Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway). She sets in motion a series of events that culminates in the arrival of uber-terrorist Bane (played by Tom Hardy).
As the imposing and ruthless Bane sets about on his elaborate plan to destroy Gotham, Bruce Wayne decides he has no choice but to bring Batman out of retirement and once again go into battle for his city. But to say much more about the story would risk revealing some of the surprises in the tale (including a couple of nifty twists involving a couple of the supporting actors).
Sweeping action sequences aside, 'The Dark Knight Rises' again features some sublime performances.
Hardy is perfect as the hulking, terrifying Bane, although some in the audience may struggle to always understand what the super criminal is saying in the unusual voice emanating from his mask.
Joseph Gordon Levitt turns in a solid performance with his portrayal of young police officer, John Blake, as does Marion Cotillard in her role as Wayne Enterprises board member, Miranda Tate.
Anne Hathaway's appointment as Catwoman was met with howls of derision (my own included), but I will admit she excels as Selina Kyle. She sassily kicks some serious ass, bringing both action and much-needed humour to proceedings as the film deals with some heavy themes that the Occupy Wall Street movement will no doubt appreciate.
And then there is Christian Bale, who is quite magnificent in his final outing as the bruised and battered Batman.
'The Dark Knight Rises' is by no means perfect, but it is a more than fitting end to what has been a hugely impressive trio of films.
Oh, and it looks like a spin-off might be coming...
'The Dark Knight Rises' is in New Zealand cinemas from July 19.