John Blake confronts Bruce
Usually, the revelation that someone's worked out the superhero's secret identity would be a significant event. In The Dark Knight Rises , so many people are aware of Batman's real name, we wonder why he pulls the cowl on at all.
But of all the people to have access to that information, John Blake is our favourite, because he got to it through pure detective work and instinct.
His speech about how he realised Bruce was Batman is as moving as anything in the film - and it's the first sign of the intense connection the two men share.
Both are orphans, and both have clearly brilliant minds.
And as the film gradually reveals, they're connected in many other ways.
Batman and Catwoman join forces
It’s another example of Batman being ahead of events (amongst several) in The Dark Knight Rises .
In The Dark Knight , Batman always seemed one step behind the Joker.
In The Dark Knight Rises , we lost count of the number of moments when Batman was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
Here, Catwoman is surrounded by Bane’s thugs, and facing certain doom. Suddenly, that familiar bass-heavy Bat-voice booms out, and our hero joins the fray.
The implication is that Batman has been watching all along, to see how the situation would play out. But the fact that he clearly used his detective skills to get there in the first place is our favourite detail of this scene.
Well, that and the fact we get the full version of the Catwoman / Batman team-up we only glimpsed in the trailers.
Batman saves Blake
Another day, another Bat-save. Like Catwoman before him, Blake seems to be facing certain death at the hands of Bane’s cronies, until Batman appears out of nowhere for a last minute rescue.
Our favourite element of this one is the advice Batman gives Blake.
When John comments he doesn’t care who sees him, Batman corrects him. “You’ve got to wear a mask, to protect those you care about.”
It’s a wonderful bit of mentoring, especially when the later scenes come to light and we realise – as Batman clearly realised – that our hero was talking to his protege.
We expected Bane to bring Batman out of retirement, but it’s actually Selina Kyle’s actions that put the lead back into Bruce’s pencil (or the cartilage into Bruce’s knee, depending on how much you like to theme your metaphors), by stealing his mother pearls and - more mysteriously - his own fingerprints from his safe.
After Kyle’s raid on Wayne Mansion, Alfred finds Bruce in the Batcave, sitting at the Bat-computer.
Like so many other moments in this film, what would have been a massive reveal in a lesser franchise is delivered casually, with no dialogue attention given to the fact that the Batcave is complete, and the Bat-computer is fully operational.
Bruce is simply shown, essentially sitting in his pants (well, his dressing gown), using the cave’s computer to uncover the identity of his cat burglar.
And, in a nice nod to the comics, a series of Selina’s mugshots appear on the screen, including one that looks remarkably similar to the cover of #51 of the 2006 Catwoman comic.
No-one does fan-pleasing references better than Nolan.
It's one of the earliest action scenes, and it's a kick in the face to those who argue that Chris Nolan can't stage fight sequences.
That it ends with Kyle coldly pretending to be traumatised, before calmly slipping out the back exit, adds edge to her character.
And to think, there were those who thought Anne Hathaway couldn't step up to the plate as Catwoman. This is one of her stand-out sequences, and she knocks it out of the park.
You’ll have seen snippets of this one in the trailers, but nothing will have prepared you for the power of Alfred’s emotional encounter with Bruce.
Michael Caine is at his career-best here, delivering his lines with such layered intensity it’s impossible to watch it without a lump in your throat.
The fact the scene contains Alfred confessing to Bruce he burnt Rachel’s letter, and that it ends with Pennyworth abandoning Bruce for his own good (tragically breaking his promise to “Never!” leave his friend), makes it nearly impossible to watch.
And it’s the last time Bruce will see his friend. Well, almost the last time.
Catwoman hands Batman over to Bane
When Catwoman betrays Batman, and the cage first comes down, it’s one of the themes most chilling / thrilling moments.
The fact that as the cage comes down, the IMAX screen expands, really adds to the excitement levels.
It's breathtaking, for several reasons. Firstly, the tension of Bane lumbering towards Batman.
Secondly, the intrigue of Catwoman appearing to instantly regret her actions.
Finally, the fact that Bane blows Bruce's secret identity - "Mr Wayne!" in full hearing-range of Catwoman - she literally reels from the reveal - makes us eager to find out how she'll react.
It's a brilliant sequence of events. And it's only the beginning of the scene!
Bruce Waynes funeral
Bruce Wayne’s funeral is a small affair.
It's attended by a handful of people. His three father figures, and his protégé. They’re the only people aware of the full extent of Batman’s sacrifice.
It's in clear contrast to Harvey Dent’s ceremony that closes The Dark Knight .
But, like that event, it opens with Gordon making a speech. We arrive at the scene with the Commissioner reading a Dickens quote.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
It’s the closing line of A Tale Of Two Cities , and it’s a testament to Nolan’s Batman series that it doesn’t sound out of place.
The sequence is as moving as anything in the film – but it’s not the conclusion. Because as we learned from Inception , Nolan values catharsis far more than straight sadness.
Lucius meets Batman
At around the mid-point of the film, Bruce takes Lucius Fox into the underground bunker which served as his lair in The Dark Knight .
Bruce pulls out his bat-kit, even raising up the Bat-suit from its hiding place, in full view of Fox.
It’s alluded in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight that Fox knows Batman’s true identity – but here it’s made completely explicit, without the two men so much as having a conversation about it.
It’s always been an unspoken truth that Fox knows the identity of Batman, this moment brings that trilogy-spanning arc to a subtle conclusion.
We first see Selina Kyle in costume. But it’s not Catwoman’s leather outfit – it’s a maid disguise that’s allowed her to infiltrate a Wayne Manor bash.
Surprisingly, her first interaction with a franchise regular consists of a telling off by Alfred.
Then, Selina delivers the silver tray that first revealed Bruce’s cane to an army of Bat-fans desperately searching for clues in those early trailers.
They couldn’t have guessed that Kyle would be the person to deliver it, or that it would appear just before her first meeting with Bruce – he fires an arrow at her head, possibly because he’s misunderstood the Cupid myth, but more probably because he’s pissed off that she’s just nicked his mother’s pearls.
After kicking away Wayne’s cane, Selina makes her escape in style – announcing her Catwoman with instant cool.