Christopher Nolan's brilliant final episode in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, is absolutely dreadful in that the film sends fear swirling about the viewer's head like the ominous creatures that inspired the legendary hooded hero. Bruce Wayne / The Batman (Christian Bale) was left bent and battered at the end of 2008's The Dark Knight in which he battled the maniacal Joker (Heath Ledger) and Scarecrow (Ciillian Murphy). The arrival in Gotham of a vengeful, masked terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy), like Bruce a member of the secret order League of Shadows, draws Wayne out of his self-imposed seclusion to defend his beloved city but not without making even greater and more painful personal sacrifices. The movie has an abundance of Nolan's signature complex action sequences but also a generous number of tender moments. Bale, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Bruce Wayne's trusted adviser Fox and Michael Caine as Wayne's devoted Alfred give wonderful performances but Joseph Gordon-Levitt as rookie cop Blake and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard as wealthy and mysterious Miranda were impeccable. Nolan's final chapter in this series is dark, yes, but also enormously intelligent and inspiring. It's terrific.