The Dark Knight's return
It's a moment of pure cinema. The sound of the Batpod humming past a police-car, the sight of a cape flapping in the wind, and then a line ripped straight from the comics ( The Dark Knight Returns , to be exact): "You are in for a show tonight, son!"
As an audience, we've waited a long time for this moment. And, boy, was it worth it.
We know from the very first action sequence that Bane's crew are ready to die for the cause - "The fire rises" - but it doesn't quite prepare us for how casual Bane is with his followers' dedication.
When they bring him Gordon, he's almost offended by their presence.
When he asks "What are you doing here?" it initially appears that he's addressing Gordon. But it quickly becomes apparent that he's talking to his men.
He orders one to search Gordon. "Search him, and then I'll kill you," he says, with the menace in his words increased by the lack of threat - Bane isn't angry, just wearily annoyed.
We remember William Fichtner's Dark Knight bank manager lying on the ground, complaining about the lack of loyalty amongst modern Gotham criminals.
Bane isn't even loyal to his own acolytes - and his complete disregard for them matches Joker's attitude to his fellow bank robbers.
The scene adds to the motif of Bane as an inversion of Batman - whereas Bruce values human life so highly he won't even kill the criminals he so despises, Bane considers murder to be at the same level as simple admin.
It's the climax of an exciting pursuit. Talia's truck has been blown through a hole in the freeway, plummeting in a manner that reminds us of her father's death (this isn't an accident - even the same music is playing).
The scale of the stunt also recalls The Dark Knight 's truck flip.
But whereas Ra's didn't get any final words, Talia does - and they're as bitter and cruel as you'd expect.
When she finally goes, it's a quiet moment, especially in a third-act packed with so much noise.
If we're being completely honest with ourselves, both Talia's and Bane's demises are something of an anti-climax. But we have a feeling that's kind of the point.
This film isn't about Batman's villains. In fact, one of Nolan's key ambitions with this project was to make the hero more interesting than his enemies.
We'd say that with this one, he's succeeded.
It's a simple moment. Batman has just turned to finish telling Selina Kyle what to do next, but she's already gone, vanished into the night.
"So that's how that feels," Batman growls.
For such a dark, grim film, The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of laugh out loud lines, delivered perfectly.
The building signal
This one made us want to punch the sky with glee when it happened.
The sight of Batman's symbol, in flames, on the side of the building not only evoked the imagery used in The Dark Knight 's 'welcome to a world without rules' poster campaign - which some people complained wasn't in the actual film (once again Nolan delivers for the fans here) - it made us all feel like kids again, beyond excited that our hero was back to save the day.
And once again, the concept of Batman becoming more than a man, a symbol, was affirmed.
It was certainly enough to shake Bane. "Impossible!"
Bane's Stock Market heist is quickly revealed to be a direct attack on Bruce Wayne himself, instantly bankrupting the billionaire.
When Ra's al Ghul reveals his master plan in Batman Begins , he confesses the League Of Shadows first tried to destroy Gotham using economics.
"Over the ages, our weapons have grown more sophisticated. With Gotham, we tried a new one: Economics. But we underestimated certain of Gotham's citizens... such as your parents. Gunned down by one of the very people they were trying to help. Create enough hunger and everyone becomes a criminal."
When that plan failed, Ghul turned to violence, stealing Wayne Enterprises tech and attempting to use it against the citizens of Gotham. Again, he was unsuccessful.
The fact that Bane's plan combines two strategies that previously failed - it even involves the use of a Wayne Enterprises invention - not only makes sense in the context of the character's arrogance regarding his place in the League - "I am the League Of Shadows!" - it increases the tension of the film (the economic element succeeds this time, so why not the violence?), as well as providing a mirror to the first film.
The Dark Knight trilogy is so intricately connected that the closer you look, the more impressive it is.
The master plan
Bane's plan doesn't just tie into Batman Begins , it also echoes one of the Joker's plots in The Dark Knight .
When the Joker handed detonators to the citizens on the two boats, he offered them a choice. Blow up the other boat before midnight, or face your own explosion.
They fail to play by Joker's rules - but we have a feeling that, even if they had, the Joker would still have destroyed the remaining boat. It's the sort of thing he finds funny.
As it happens, society triumphs over chaos, and Joker, beaten, tries to blow up both boats, before Batman intervenes.
In The Dark Knight Rises , Bane has, like Joker, seemingly given Gotham's residents power over their own destiny. He's even handed a detonator over "To an ordinary citizen." But as with the Joker, ultimately, Bane holds all the cards - no matter what happens, he's intending to ensure the bomb goes off.
It's the boat gambit on a grand scale. It's all part of a plan to show Batman how quickly society can crumble, before its inevitable destruction.
Within moments of the film's opening, Nolan presents the audience with a fresh mystery - Gordon's alternate speech. He's clearly desperate to read it - its words are written in every fresh wrinkle on his face - but his conscience forces him to wait for the right moment.
When it's stolen by Bane (fittingly, in the City's sewers, where Gotham's dirt is hidden), we know that it won't be long before its secrets are revealed.
When the speech is finally read aloud by the masked terrorist, it's transformed into a weapon as powerful as any neutron bomb. And, like Wayne Enterprise's energy weapon, what was intended as a force for good - the confession of Gordon's sins, the absolution of Batman - is twisted into a tool of evil, shattering not just the Gotham residents' belief in Harvey Dent, but in the very concept of justice itself.
And yet, even though Gordon's words are spoken through a mask, by a maniac whose every utterance sounds sarcastic and mocking, as an audience, we feel the emotion of the words, and we hear them as though they were coming from Jim himself.
For us, stealing Gordon's moment of attrition is one of Bane's worst crimes.
Read more about The Dark Knight Rises
When Selina’s employers make the mistake of confronting her when she’s wearing her full Catwoman kit, she’s able to show off just how good she is at accessorising.
When one thug looks at her shoes, and asks her: “Isn’t it hard to walk in those?” She spins, turns and shoves her razor-sharp heel into his leg. “I don’t know, is it?” is the reply.
Brilliant – and people accuse Nolan of being humourless.
So, the much-rumoured Scarecrow courtroom cameo turned out to be real. We expected it would, but what shouldn't have surprised us was how well delivered it was.
The set design of Scarecrow's courtroom was gorgeous - the towering bench looked torn straight from the pages of the comics.
Crane's costume design was also a triumph - we loved the way frayed edges poked through his ripped suit, like straw on a scarecrow.
But it wasn't just about the little details - the concept of the court, the way it tied into both the structure of the French revolution styled third act, and the key theme of the trilogy (justice is a fluid concept, and it's not always fair) was a masterstroke.