A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.

Commissioner Gordon requests Batman to reveal his true identity so that Gotham knows the hero who saved the city. Thats when Batman delivers the above quoted punchline dialogue.

There are movies. There are money spinners. There are blockbusters. There are epics. And finally there are movies that sum up everything that has been written above. The Dark Knight Rises falls in that category.

Directed by Christopher Nolan (who has credits of making masterpieces like The Prestige, Memento, Batman Begins, Inception and The Dark Knight), this final saga of the trilogy draws an epic conclusion to The Batman Series. (Well, it doesnt seem like a conclusion. It seems more like a beginning of a new Batman series that maybe carried forward in future.)

Plot summary (source:IMDB)

_The movie opens with some CIA agents escorting a nuclear scientist, Dr. Pavel, and three hooded prisoners, on board a small military aircraft. On learning that the prisoners worked for a mercenary named Bane, the agent in charge of the operation is excited and begins interrogating the prisoners. However, one of the prisoners turns out to be Bane (Tom Hardy) himself, and getting arrested was part of his plan. Suddenly, the aircraft is overpowered by members of a criminal-paramilitary unit in a C-130 Hercules, from which several of Bane’s men climb into the smaller aircraft using ropes, killing the agents. Bane and his men then grab hold of Dr Pavel and improvise a blood transfer from Pavel to a corpse. They then cause the smaller plane to crash, taking him along with them in the larger aircraft.

The scene then cuts to Gotham, where Harvey Dent’s death anniversary is being celebrated as Dent Day. At a charity event hosted by the forever-absent Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) prepares to deliver a speech revealing the truth about Dent and the murders for which the Batman had taken the fall 8 years ago, but deciding that the time was not right, stuffs the speech into his jacket. Miranda Tate (Marion Cottilard), a wealthy investor, tries to meet the reclusive Bruce to get him to invest in her clean energy project, but is unable to meet him.

One of the maids working at the Wayne manor for the event is Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a burglar, who breaks into Bruce’s room and his safe, stealing his mother’s pearls. 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. A tracking device was also hidden in the pearls.

Selina then sells Bruce’s fingerprints to Dagget, (Ben Mendelsohn), an industrialist with a shady background, who tries to kill her but Selina smartly creates a diversion using a missing Congressman who’s actually been with her, causing the police to converge on the spot.

A dead teenager’s body washes out from the sewers, and his body is identified by police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), 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.

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, shot by Bane’s men and grievously injured, but not before Bane seized from Gordon’s jacket the speech in which Gordon intended to reveal the truth about Harvey Dent and his murders. Bruce, wearing a ski mask and speaking as Batman, talks to Gordon, who tells him that Batman must return and stop Bane’s organization. Wayne 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 (Michael Caine) who is afraid of the Batman losing. Alfred surprises Bruce when informing him that during his travels for 7 years (in “Batman Begins”), Alfred had hoped that Bruce never returned. He tells Bruce that one day he was in Florence, Italy, in a cafe, and was happy to see Bruce, happily with a woman, married, having a normal life (we then notice that “Bruce” turns his head and is not Bruce Wayne, but a random civilian), that returning to Gotham would only bring Bruce despair. Alfred leaves Bruce and the mansion for good after revealing the contents of Rachel’s farewell letter to Bruce, given to Alfred previous to her murder in The Dark Knight.

Bane and his men launch an ambitious daylight attack the Gotham stock exchange, taking everybody inside hostage and manipulating the Wayne Enterprises stock using Bruce’s fingerprints (stolen by Selina and sold to Dagget) causing the company 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 (Matthew Modine) is eager to arrest the alleged murderer of Harvey Dent, and after a prolonged chase, Batman is cornered into a dark alley. Batman escapes from the alley in The Bat, a futuristic flying version of the Batmobile built by Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman).

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. 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 for containment in emergencies. Furious with the fact that he can no longer acquire the Wayne Enterprises, 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, Selina is afraid of Bane and the havoc he’s planning to unleash, and to protect herself from him, deceives Batman into following her into the sewers, where he is cornered by Bane. A lengthy battle of hand-to-hand combat breaks between the two, and eventually Bane overpowers the Batman, and breaks his backbone by smashing him down bodily on his knee. Moments later, Bane’s men blow out the ceiling of the sewers, giving them access Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Sciences division.

After the fight, Selina attempts to leave Gotham, but is spotted and tracked down by Blake. The conversation then turns to Bane, wherein Selina hints at his brutality, and his fight against Batman. She is then arrested, and placed in Blackgate prison.

Bruce Wayne is then dumped into a foreign prison, still in pain from the fight. The prison sits at the bottom of a deep chasm, with the only way in or out through the open-air ceiling. Bane tells Bruce 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 a “Hell on Earth”, from which nobody has managed to escape. However, one of the doctors tells Bruce that it was said that a child had managed to escape.

The child was born of a Mercenary, who fell in love with a Warlord’s daughter. The Mercenary was to be sentenced to life in the prison, but the 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. Bruce concludes that the child must have been Bane.

While in his cell, Bruce sees several prisoners attempt to escape by using a rope, and climbing up the shaft towards the light, but fail to clear the final jump on to a ledge required to escape.

Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Blake has gotten ahold of files from Dagget, that shows his construction company engaging in activity around the city’s sewer systems. The entire Police Force (said to be on a ‘training exercise’ so as not to arouse suspicion), heads into the sewers to find Bane and his henchmen.

Blake tracks down one of the sights, and finds explosive chemicals. It is then he realizes that using Dagget’s construction crew, Bane has rigged numerous construction areas around the city with explosives!

However, John’s realization comes too late, as Bane detonates the explosives the beginning of a football match, causing the entire ground to cave in and collapse, and the tunnels to the sewer are sealed off! Gotham’s football stadium is powerless as Bane declares to the 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 but one of the city’s bridges leading up to the city are destroyed by Bane’s explosives, trapping the entire population of the city 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. The lone bridge still intact is meant as a means to provide food and relief supplies to Gotham’s citizens.

Bane then proceeds to the prison where more than 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 (presided over by Johnathan Crane, aka, the Scarecrow) and offering them a choice: exile from Gotham or death by hanging. Exile means being forced to walk on the frozen river under the detonated bridges, where the ice threatens to crack and drown anyone making the crossing.

Detective Blake, meanwhile, with the help of the few policemen still remaining in the city, begin tracking three large military 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, holed up in the prison, is watching the havoc in Gotham on a TV set in the prison. He gets the doctor there to crudely fix his vertebrae. Enduring the pain, Bruce hallucinates that he sees Ra’s Al Ghul (Liam Neeson). As the days wear on in the prison, Bruce’s anger builds, and he is determined to save Gotham. Rigorously training his body, he attempts to make the escape twice, but fails each time.

After the second attempt, Bruce questions how a child could have escaped, but he can’t. The doctor explains that if Bruce truly does not fear death, then there is no need for him to try to escape using the rope. Bruce realizes that was how the child escaped, and his third attempt without the rope succeeds!

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 being forced to cross 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 police 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, detaching some of the tubes on his mask that feed Bane his anesthetic, which weakens him greatly. However, as Batman tries to force Bane to reveal the location of the device to deactivate the bomb, Miranda suddenly stabs the Batman in the side.

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. Bane had been a prisoner there, and had become her protector. During the prison riot that claimed her mother’s life, Bane helped her to escape, but in the process was hurt severely. The prison doctor attempted to repair the damage, but his methods resulted in Bane needing anesthetics to constantly keep the pain at bay.

After she had escaped, Talia then tracked down her father: Ra’s Al Ghul. She convinces her father to rescue Bane, and both were trained within The League of Shadows.Apart from the realization that Bane was an extremist monster, the injuries inflicted on Bane’s face became a reminiscence of the suffering endured by Talia’s mother in the pit for Ra’s Al Ghul and hence Bane was excommunicated from the group. Talia’s intention is to take revenge on the Batman for killing her father, 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. Selina, riding the Batpod, crashes into the lobby and blasts Bane with the Pod’s large cannon, killing the villain. Talia escapes, and takes control of the truck carrying the weapon, but eventually her escorts are all finished off in a prolonged chase sequence, with Selina riding the Batpod and Batman flying the Bat in the air, and attacking the convoy carrying the nuke. Talia’s truck goes off the road and crashes, fatally wounding her. In her last moments alive, she explains how her access to the reactor chamber allowed her to set a timer to flood it, preventing the weapon from being returned there. She soon dies believing she had finally completed her father’s work and avenged his death.

Lucius Fox soon escapes the flooding chamber and realizes there is no way of stabilizing the weapon. It is shown that the weapon cannot be deactivated in any way, and will detonate in a matter of minutes. Before deciding to fly the bomb out of Gotham. Batman explains that the Bat has no autopilot, and that he will need to fly the bomb out of Gotham Batman shares a kiss with Selina, before discreetly revealing to Gordon his true identity.

With not much time left, Batman attaches the bomb to the Bat, and flies it away from the city, and out over the bay. The citizens of Gotham watch awestruck as the weapon detonates on the horizon, and the mushroom-cloud balloons over the bay.

In the aftermath, the freed criminals are rounded up by Gotham’s Police Force.

A private funeral is held on the grounds of Wayne Manor for Bruce, by those who knew his true identity (including Gordon and Blake). Alfred sobs quietly, feeling that he let Bruce’s parents down by not protecting him.

Blake resigns from the Gotham Police, and explains to Gordon that the City will never really know who saved it. Gordon tells him that they will know that it was ‘The Batman’ who saved them. Also in tribute, a statue is erected in Batman’s memory.

In the aftermath of Bruce Wayne’s death, certain provisions are made. The majority of the estate is sold, with the money given to Alfred. Wayne Manor is given to the city of Gotham, as a place for orphaned boys to stay. Strangely, one of the Wayne family’s treasures (a string of pearls) cannot be located.

John Blake is surprised when he is also given a duffel bag as part of Bruce’s will. When presenting his I.D., the woman who checks it says he should go by his real first name as it appears on his I.D.: Robin.

Back in Applied Sciences, Lucius has several workers go over the second camouflage rotor(The Bat) in the underground storage area. Wanting to know what he could have done to get the autopilot functioning, he is surprised when the workers explain that the autopilot is functional, and the computer log shows that Bruce Wayne made the changes 6 months prior!

Up on the roof of Gotham’s Police Department, Gordon finds the once broken Bat signal (destroyed by him personally by the end of The Dark Knight) repaired.

Meanwhile, John Blake has opened the duffel bag, and finds a spelunking rope, and GPS coordinates. The information leads him to a waterfall (the entrance to the batcave). He makes his way past the waterfall, and into the cave, where his light attracts a flurry of bats.

In Florence, Italy, Alfred has returned to the same restaurant that he had visited during Bruce’s absence long ago. as he scans the room, he is surprised to see Bruce and Selina at a nearby table. a fleeting glance between both Alfred and Bruce, is enough to assure the other that each of them will be alright.

In the final shot, we see John walking over a pool of water. As he does so, his movement activates the black flooring containing the batsuit. John just stares around him as the flooring rises up._

**My Verdict:**

Watch the movie and you shall understand why Christopher Nolan is idolized like God.