The Batman's back in the closing chapter of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.
Eight years after Harvey Dent's death, Gotham is almost free of organised crime, thanks to a law passed in his name. But masked terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) is ready to make the city quake again, and there's nobody around to stop him.
After protecting Dent's reputation at the expense of his own, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse, but with a new evil at large, Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) convince him to re-emerge from the shadows.
With explosives placed strategically around the city, Bane is bent on reducing Gotham to rubble, leaving Batman and his uncertain allies to battle a more formidable foe than ever before.
With the spectacular success of his Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan has rewritten the rules for comic book adaptations, all but erasing the memory of more frivolous franchise entries.
The Dark Knight - hailed as one of the best blockbusters of all time - was always going to be a tough act to follow, but this fitting final bow for Bale's Batman provides an epic pay-off.
Behind his character's restrictive mask, Hardy notoriously had problems making his dialogue heard, but there's no denying his nightmarish and unstoppable villain cuts an intimidating physical presence. Anne Hathaway's smart and sexy Selina Kyle (Catwoman) is also an excellent addition to the cast.
With memorable action sequences and the dramatic depth Nolan's interpretation is known for, The Dark Knight Rises works as both a thrilling stand-alone feature and a thoroughly satisfying swansong.