When Bane turns on his Gotham paymasters, revealing his true nature to Daggett (whose first name is never given, despite some publications calling him ‘John’ possibly because they’ve watched too much X-Files and not enough Batman: The Animated Series ), there are some lovely little details that turn what could be a throwaway scene into a memorable one.
When Bane threatens Daggett, telling him that paying a terrorist doesn’t guarantee power over him, he has such condescension in his voice it almost borders on a kindness.
“Do you feel in charge?” Bane says, laying the back of his hand on Daggett’s shoulder, practically stroking him.
Lesser actors would have gripped that shoulder – but Hardy’s choice adds to the intensity of the scene, and gives the audience something they haven’t seen before.
Bane then grips Daggett’s head and neck and Nolan cuts away – mirroring Ledger’s Joker’s “Why so serious?” kills, we don’t see the details of the death.
The scene has an intense weirdness that makes it one of the stand-out moments.
The arrival of The Bat
From the trailers, we totally assumed that Batman would turn to The Bat as a last resort - as part of an escalation in the war on Bane.
As it turned out, Bruce couldn't wait that long to get his hands on his new toy - taking it out on his very first foray back as Batman.
Why? Just like everything else he does, presumably - to scare the pants off criminals.
Only, in practice, it has a slightly different effect - wiping the smile off a particularly smug Deputy Commissioner.
"He's trapped like a rat!" drools Foley, shortly before The Bat roars into action.
"Are you sure you have the right animal, sir?" A police officer says.
"Are you sure it's him?" John Blake smiles.
The Bat saves the day
We're deep into the third act. Deputy Commissioner Foley is leading the charge of the police against Bane's army.
One of the commandeered camouflage Tumblers whirs into action - turning its turret towards the advancing officers.
All looks lost... until suddenly The Bat swoops in, releases an EMP charge, and destroys the machine's electronics.
The source of Foley's embarrassment has become his saviour. It's a goosebump moment, one best enjoyed on the big screen.
John Blake's bridge confrontation
It’s one of Blake’s most heroic scenes. Facing down a bureaucratic police officer - who would rather follow orders than save a bus-load of kids - Blake walks into impending gun-fire to prove his point, before the officer blows the bridge, much to John's rage.
It’s Blake’s biggest step towards leaving the police force, to seek a new way of dispensing justice.
And his words about the importance of hope when he’s putting the kids back on the bus makes us think that, whilst Batman Begins main theme was fear, The Dark Knight 's was chaos, The Dark Knight Rises key theme is indeed that - hope.
From Bane's evil observation that without hope despair loses potency, to Alfred's yearly visits to Italy, references to hope are scattered throughout the film.
And, as we'll eventually discover, to fully appreciate the film's ending, the audience needs a bit of hope in their hearts, too.
It's a powerful moment. First, we get the brilliant flashback twist revealing that Talia was the child who escaped the prison pit. Then, we find out just how close Talia and Bane are.
It's a brilliant switch, instantly placating all the fans ready to hit Internet forums to complain that Bane was never Ghul's kid.
But more impressive than that, it makes us feel sympathy for one of the most brutal movie maniacs in cinema history, by utilising one of the small parts of his face that's on show. Bane cries, and several people in the audience join him.
We haven't felt this sorry for a monster since King Kong. Take a bow, Chris. Take a bow, Tom.
Bane and Batman's final confrontation
"Where is the trigger? Where is it?" barks Batman, in a manner that's hugely reminiscent of The Dark Knight interrogation scene.
He then tells Bane that when he has the location of the detonator: "You have my permission to die."
Batman never felt in charge when he was interrogating Joker, here it's Bane whose control is slipping.
Batman first revealed in costume
It takes around 45 minutes for Batman to appear in costume, but when he does it's almost impossibly cool.
His Bat-suit has evolved over the course of the trilogy, with this latest version being - fittingly - the most impressive of them all.
And it holds up even in the magnified spotlight of the IMAX screen. Basically, we want one.
When Batman gives Catwoman her own Batpod, it's a cool scene for several reasons.
Firstly, just the sight of Catwoman and Batman striding down an alley together in the snow is clearly ridiculously awesome.
But secondly, the fact that it's not especially a big deal that Batman had a hidden Batpod. The implication is that he has them stashed all over Gotham.
Just when you think Batman can't get any cooler, he goes ahead and just is.
Exile or death
Every single villain in The Dark Knight trilogy has offered a choice that turned out to be fixed, and the Scarecrow's court scene contains the most vivid example.
His sentenced victims are offered a choice between exile or death. The cowardly choose exile. Gordon, as brave as he is good, chooses death. Only to be told: "The sentence is death. By exile."
The fixed odds also remind us of the Judge Dredd story Tour Of Duty , when Dredd is exiled to The Cursed Earth. Which is fitting, because as comic fans will know, Dredd and Batman are old pals. Well, in a way.
A date in Scarecrow's courtroom ends in the same way for everyone - with a trip across the ice surrounding the city.
Again, this resonates with events in Batman Begins - specifically the sequence where Bruce is being trained by Ra's. "You have sacrificed sure footing for a killer stroke!"
When Gordon goes out onto it, we fear for his safety - we've already seen one person, albeit a sniveling criminal, slip through a crack - but Batman wouldn't let something as simple as a transatlantic flight (without money or a passport) or a martial law lock-down stop him from getting to his friend, and his return is as glorious as it is welcome.
We really don't care that Bruce's trip from Bane's prison back to Gotham stretches credibility. When Gordon lights that flare, and sends the flame that lights up the building sized Bat-signal, all of our cynicism fades away to be replaced by wonder.