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The movie event of the year has a lot to live up to.

It’s predecessor, The Dark Knight, was the highest grossing movie of 2008, and was as critically lauded as it was financially successful. Does Nolan pull off his third and final bat-film?

It’s as epic a conclusion as you might expect, a tale of caped-crusader redemption – in more ways than one – and of a city, and culture, under siege.

New villain Bane (Hardy), a muscled, masked adversary who outguns his Bat-foe (in one bone-crunching encounter especially), leads an uprising against Gotham’s privileged elite, this nihilistic showdown forcing Batman out of retirement.

If the Joker was an anarchic terrorist, Bane’s a politicised revolutionary, yet still no match for Ledger’s iconic portrayal.

While he carries a brooding menace, Bane is less memorable, and his croaked-up voice (the cause of much online consternation) still flaunts elusive diction at inopportune moments.

Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman proves a worthier addition, injecting a feisty and morally scattershot femme fatale quality, with Bale relishing the downward spiral into which Wayne has descended.

Nolan keeps the tone portentous as characters dispense philosophical speeches (destiny, courage, sacrifice for the greater good), and takes his time setting up where Gotham’s at eight years on.

He orchestrates an epic scale as Bane storms the city and new-gadget ‘The Bat’ takes to the skies, and builds to a crescendo that satisfies emotionally, as Bruce and Alfred’s relationship underscores the disaster movie-sized perils.

It doesn’t raise the bar, but closes the franchise in fitting style.

Good for: Seeing Nolan dial his Bat-saga all the way up to eleven

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman | 12A | 165mins | Out now

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The Dark Knight Rises: film review
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