"One of the most anticipated films of the year, and does not disappoint in the slightest..."

The general consensus from those having seen Avengers Assemble, was that Joss Whedon's formidable picture was all set to take the crown for being the superhero movie of the year, yet such a statement has been dispelled, as Christopher Nolan wraps up his trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises, in what has arguably been the greatest superhero series of all time.

Set eight years after where The Dark Knight finished off, Gotham city remains in mourning of District Attorney Harvey Dent, although the people continue to revel in the safer environment created following Dent's clamp down on organised crime. However the safety and assurance of the public is put into jeopardy, following the introduction of Bane (Tom Hardy) - a powerful and savage beast of a man, who has plans of destroying the city, and the only man who has the ability to stop him, is Batman.

However, Batman's image and reputation has been indefinitely tarnished following Dent's death, and he has had to revert back to his somewhat ordinary life as simply being Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). However, Wayne can't stand by and watch his beloved city be destroyed and he feels obliged to intervene, and with the help of Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), Detective John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the untrustworthy Catwoman (Anne Hathaway)  - plans are in place to stop Bane, although granted, it's no easy task, particularly whilst Wayne takes a liking to the beguiling Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard)...

When Nolan first took on the Batman franchise, he re-branded an already established world, taking the comic book hero to a darker, shadier Gotham City - and The Dark Knight Rises stays true to the rest of the series in that respect, with a bleak intensity that emanates throughout this entire production. The film may be set eight years on from the previous film, but it doesn't feel like too much has changed, and I mean that in the best way possible.

However where this picture excels over the other two in the series, is that this is a more intimate, emotive account, quite a feat for Nolan to implement such a sentiment, considering the huge budget and large scale operation at hand. The Dark Knight Rises is as much about the characters and human relations as it is about saving Gotham City. It's not quite as simple as being just good versus evil, there are a host of meaningful and poignant sub-plots at hand. Don't get me wrong, Nolan does manage to stay faithful to the superhero genre, yet he brings in a variety of other elements that really gives this film more poignancy, working as much as a study of character as it is about gadgets, cars and saving lives.

Initially I had been cautious over the selection of Bane as the leading antagonist, yet Hardy does a magnificent job in portraying a character who appears indestructible - a necessity for any villain to work and seem plausible. Bane proves that you don't need to have supernatural powers to be powerful, as he remains imposing and intimidating throughout, with lots of depth to the character also. It's great to have a character you can impersonate at home too - as with loo roll stuffed in your gob and cello-taped over, you can sound just like him.

It can't have been too easy a task for Hardy either knowing that he had to emulate upon Heath Ledger's brilliant Joker - and such a sentiment must have been extended to Nolan himself, as he attempts to create a film that is as good, if not better, than The Dark Knight, which is not easy given the standard he has set himself. However it's fair to say he has succeeded, as The Dark Knight Rises proves to be a worthy ending to a terrific trilogy of films. Nolan, thankfully, ties up all loose ends as well, which makes for a much appreciated peace of mind. None of this ambiguousness that existed in Prometheus, Nolan is concluding the story he had himself started, and I assure you, he has done so masterfully. Whoever takes on the Batman franchise after this has quite a difficult task ahead, that's for sure.

The Dark Knight Rises had been one of the most anticipated films of the year, and does not disappoint in the slightest. Offering the perfect blend between enticing action as well as being both sincere and emotional, it's a film that leaves you shaking. At almost three hours long in duration, that could prove to be a deterrent, but rest assured time simply flies by - and here's hoping Nolan can be persuaded to dip his toes back into Gotham City and do a fourth movie. Come on Chris, you know you want to.