If there is a movie not to be missed in this year, it has got to be The Dark Knight Rises. I watched it last Saturday night and I will be giving it at least 9 out of 10. It looks to me that Christopher Nolan did it again, outstanding.
In this final installment of the Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan, Batman must face a foe like he has never faced before, Bane. This final installment of the Dark Knight continues from where The Dark Knight ends where Batman takes the blame for the murder of Harvey Dent and was hunted by the whole police department of the Gotham City. Nevertheless, the incident has brought peace to the Gotham City - for eight years there has been no organized crime.
The movie started with some CIA agents escorting a Russian scientist and three hooded prisoners on a military aircraft. As the agent in charge learned that the prisoners worked for Bane, he started to interrogate them, little did he know one of the prisoners is Bane. Soon, the aircraft is overpowered with a larger aircraft and Bane with his people overpowered the agents and killed all of the agents and kidnapped the Russian scientist.
Next, we have the people of Gotham celebrating the Harvey Dent's death anniversary hosted in the Wayne's Manor, but Bruce Wayne was no longer like the younger Wayne who previously enjoyed parties and gatherings. There, Miranda Tate, a wealthy investor, tries to meet the reclusive Bruce to get him to invest in her clean energy project, but is still unable to meet him.
During the event, one of the maids is Selina Kyle, a burglar who breaks into Bruce's safe and stole his mother's pearl. Bruce, crippled in one leg, accosts her, but she attacks him and escapes. Bruce later realizes that she also took a copy of his fingerprints from the surface of the safe.
Meanwhile, a dead teenager's body washes out from the sewers, and his body is identified by police officer John Blake, as that of a kid staying at an orphanage where he coaches the kids in baseball. Blake is shown to have a very close relationship with the orphanage and the warden who runs it, and we realize later that he himself grew up in that orphanage, and it was being funded by the Wayne Foundation. One of the kids at the orphanage informs him that they have heard rumours of the sewers providing good employment recently, which makes Blake suspicious.
Selena then sells Bruce's fingerprints to Dagget, an industrialist with a shady background, who tries to kill her but Selena smartly creates a diversion using a missing Congressman who's actually been with her, causing the police to converge on the spot.
During the shootout and chase, Gordon followed one of the mercenaries until the sewers. The sewers are in fact the hideout of Bane, who is in the employ of Dagget, and has built himself an army of faithful mercenaries. During a raid on the sewers, a couple of mercenaries overpower Commissioner Gordon and bring him to Bane, but Gordon manages to escape, and was seriously injured, but not before Bane pulled out from his jacket the speech in which Gordon intended to reveal the truth about Harvey Dent and his murders.
Bruce meets him in the hospital, and sensing impending trouble, decides to don his cape again and return to crime-fighting, despite being in a hopeless physical condition. While going through the records Bruce learns that the mercenary Bane was once the member of the League of Shadows but was later excommunicated from the group. Owing to his decision of returning to Gotham as Batman he has a spat with Alfred who is afraid of the Batman losing and die, and Alfred decided to leave Bruce and the mansion, for he cannot bear to see another member of the Wayne dies and after revealing the contents of Rachel's letter to Bruce in the hope that he will change his mind and move on with his life.
Then, Bane and his men attack the Gotham stock exchange, taking everybody inside hostage, and manipulating the Wayne Enterprises stock using Bruce's fingerprints causing the Bruce Wayne to go bust financially. The hostage situation ends with the mercenaries getting away, but Batman enters the scene suddenly, causing the Gotham Police force to concentrate all their resources into arresting him. Deputy Commissioner Foley is eager to arrest the alleged murderer of Harvey Dent, and after a prolonged chase, Batman is cornered into a dark alley. But Batman escapes from the alley in The Bat, a futuristic Batcopter built by Lucius Fox.
To avoid the company shutting down, Bruce and Fox take Miranda to the fusion reactor designed by Dr Pavel, to convince her to invest in the project - and to safe keep the project. This reactor was originally intended as a weapon, but Fox and Miranda intend to use it for generating clean free energy for the entire city. The reactor is hidden in a chamber underneath the river, so that it could be flooded in case it was abused. Miranda agree to take over the company and furious with the fact that he can no longer control the Wayne Enterprise, Dagget corners Bane apportioning blame for his failure. Bane kills Dagget proclaiming himself in charge of the city after revealing that it was his architecture machinery that he required to build the sophisticated underground sewers and to accomplish his future plans that he complied with Dagget's orders.
Meanwhile, Bruce beg Selina to bring Batman to Bane in exchange for a device that can wiped off the Selina's history. Selina finally agree and to avoid being killed by the mercenaries, she deceive and trapped Batman with Bane. This leads to a lengthy hand-to-hand combat between the two, and eventually Bane overpowers the Batman, and breaks his backbone. Bruce Wayne is then dumped into a prison, paralysed from the back downwards, and Bane tells him that he intends to kill his soul first, and his body only later.
This prison was where Bane was rumoured to be born, and it is notorious as the "Hell on Earth", from where nobody has managed to escape, except Bane as a kid. Men routinely try to escape using a rope and climbing to the top, but everybody fails to clear the final jump on to a ledge required to escape. The other prisoners tell him the story of a mercenary who fell in love with the daughter of a warlord who owned that prison. The warlord intended to kill the mercenary, but his daughter made a deal with her father to free him and instead ended up a prisoner there herself. One day a riot broke out in the prison where she was raped and murdered, and her child escaped, who grew up to be Bane. Bruce Wayne feels that the rumoured mercenary is Ras Al' Ghul.
Meanwhile, in Gotham City, the entire police force consisting of a thousand policemen storm the sewers to capture Bane. Bane, however, has rigged the entire sewer system with explosives, which he detonates at the beginning of a football match, causing the entire ground to cave in and collapse, and his people take the entire audience hostage. The explosives cause the sewers to cave in, leaving the entire police force of the city trapped inside. Bane then declares to the stadium crowd that he's now in charge of the city, and having taken control of the nuclear reactor, which he has turned into a bomb, murders Dr Pavel in front of the shocked audience, after telling them that Dr Pavel was the only man who could disarm the nuclear device.Bane also declares that he has left one citizen in charge of the detonator who would trigger the bomb in case of any sort of civil rebellion.
Simultaneously, all the bridges leading up to the city are destroyed by Bane's explosives, causing the entire population of the city trapped inside. Bane threatens the government forces that should anybody try to enter or leave the city, he will detonate the nuclear weapon, thus forcing the government forces to guard the city and stop anybody from leaving.
Bane then proceeds to the prison where more than a 1000 prisoners have been incarcerated as per the Dent Act, which gave enormous powers to the police. Here he reads out Gordon's intended speech revealing the truth about Harvey, and declares the prisoners free, as the man who drew up the Dent Act himself was a murderer and a madman. The prisoners join Bane and together they enforce what Bane calls "martial law", forcing the rich out of their homes, holding kangaroo courts and killing anybody who could cause any resistance by forcing them to walk on the frozen river under the detonated bridges, until the ice breaks and they sink.
Detective Blake, meanwhile, with the help of the few policemen still remaining in the city, begin tracking three trucks, one of which carries the nuclear weapon. To avoid detection of the weapon, the three trucks are driven around the city continuously.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne, upset with everything that has happened in the Gotham City. The doctor told him that in order for Bruce Wayne to walk again, he will need to fix his vertebrae. So, after he is healed, he work out in order to gain his fitness and escape the prison by climbing with his bare hands and feet without the help of a rope, just like the "legend" of the prison did.
Bruce returns to Gotham as Batman, and with the help of Selina, frees Miranda and Fox from Bane's captivity, and saves Gordon and some of the policemen, who had been captured and were about to be killed on the frozen river. Fox reveals that trigger or no trigger, the nuclear device will detonate anyway within a few hours, and builds a signal jammer which can block the signals from the trigger.
With Blake's help, Batman frees the policemen trapped in the sewers, who then march the streets and attack Bane's army. A brutal combat ensues on the streets of Gotham. Meanwhile Batman fights Bane again, and has nearly defeated him, when Miranda stabs the Batman from behind. It is then revealed that her real name is Talia and that she was the child who had escaped from the Hell on Earth prison, and Bane had almost died protecting her from the other inmates because he loved her, and had been forced to wear his mask due to the violence his face had been subjected to in the prison riot. Bane was rescued by the League of Shadows and along with Talia was trained by Ras Al Ghul. Although soon Ras Al Ghul realized that Bane was a monster and hence he was excommunicated from the group. Talia's intention is to take revenge on the Batman for killing her father Ras Al Ghul as well as finishing the mission of destroying Gotham for its greed that cost her father's life. She then hits the trigger of the nuclear weapon, but Gordon has managed to fit the signal jammer on the weapon just in time. However, there are only eleven minutes left for the nuke to detonate. Miranda walked off the scene to take control of the truck having the nuke. Meanwhile, Bane is about to kill Batman and then suddenly Selina breaks in and shoots Bane in the face and finishes him off.
Miranda was escorts with few tanks and with Selina riding the Batpod and Batman flying the Batcopter in the air, both of them successfully destroy the three tanks and they manage to recapture the truck and the nuke. However, the weapon cannot be deactivated as Miranda has already pulled off the emergencies button causing flood to the fusion plant control center, and hence Batman attaches it to the Bat and flies it over the bay, and the city, now liberated from Bane's army, watches awestruck as the weapon detonates on the horizon, and the mushroom-cloud balloons over the bay.
The city then is shown paying respects to the Batman, who apparently gave his life to save the city. A small funeral is also held at Wayne Manor for Bruce Wayne, by those who knew his true identity. Alfred is very upset and sobbing because he feels he let Bruce down.
In the epilogue, Lucious Fox is shown completing work on the Bat, realizing that Batman may have escaped the detonation after all due to the fact the autopilot was fixed by Bruce many months before. Alfred is also shown holidaying in Florence, Italy, where he sees Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle having coffee together at a nearby table. It is also revealed that John Blake is Robin, and the movie ends with him walking into Batman's secret hideout in the cave behind the waterfall. We are reminded of an earlier dialogue where Batman tells Blake that the Batman is just a symbol, and anybody can take on that role, causing us to wonder if it is implied that Blake/Robin takes over from the Batman as Batman or as his sidekick - Robin.