“The Dark Knight Rises” is co-written & directed by Christopher Nolan and is the 3rd and final film in his Dark Knight trilogy following 2008’s “The Dark Knight” & 2005’s “Batman Begins”. The film sees Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman & Morgan Freeman all return to their respected role as well introduces a slew of new characters including Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine & Ben Mendelsohn. Although his character returns for another brief moment, Cillian Murphy & Liam Nesson also reprises there previous roles in the this film. Unfortunately, after the tragic death of Heath Ledger, Nolan would confirm that “The Joker” would not make an appearance in the 3rd film despite having a small part in the story.

8 years after The Joker bought Batman and the rest Gotham City to its knees, Commissioner Jim Gordon (Oldman) has the city round up all criminals under the Dent Act but is also hiding a terrible truth. As Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent’s murder, Bruce Wayne (Bale) has secluded himself in Wayne Manor but is bought back into action after an encounter with jewel thief, Selina Kyle (Hathaway). Despite it being small issue, Bruce  is once again dawns the cowl after Gordon is shot and left for dead by a new mercenary in the form of the brute known as Bane (Hardy). Bruce & Alfred (Caine) discover that Bane was actually trained by Ras Al Ghul (Nesson) and is hellbent on finishing what he started all those years ago. Bane proves to be a formidable & much more physically imposing opponent than anything we’ve seen and Batman must do everything he can to prevent Gotham City from going under once again.

After the huge success and unfortunate tragedy coming off The Dark Knight, this film had a lot to live up to and while it wasn’t better than the previous film, it was still a damn fine action movie. Bale, Caine, Oldman & Freeman are great in their respected roles while Hathaway is solid as Catwoman. Tom Hardy as Bane was amazing. He presence alone is both commanding & intimidating. Hardy got in phenomenal shape to play the brute, packing on about 30 pounds of solid muscle. While his character isn’t charismatic as The Joker or deranged as Scarecrow or even cynical like Ras Al Ghul, Bane is nothing more than a very intelligent and strategic masterful who is capable of breaking the spirit of Gotham City as well the Batman both psychologically & physically. “Some men just want to watch the burn.” Well, Bane has come to pull the pin on the grenade.

Overall, this was a great movie all the way around and a proper ending to arguably the greatest movie trilogy in history. While it wasn’t better than the previous film it does serve as a solid follow up. Christopher Nolan stated that due to Heath Ledger’s tragic passing in 2008, all scenes from this film that included the Joker were scrapped from the original script. Which is a shame cause it would’ve been interesting to see the Clown Prince of Crime one last time or even continue. Along with the Joker, Aaron Eckhart’s “Two-Face” character was also scrapped despite his character’s death. My opinion is that had Ledger still been with us while the 3rd film was being made, we could’ve got a completely different film. The Dark Knight trilogy is probably the only comic book films that don’t necessarily based the film off the comic book itself. Sure, David S. Goyer & Johnathon Nolan have said they’ve taken certain aspects of comic storylines but never follow it to the script. The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of call backs to “Batman: Knightfall” which sees Batman take a new villain called Bane. Everything about this film was top notch. My only complaint about this film is Bane’s origins but like I said they don’t follow the comic but that’s ok, still a great film.