Dark Knight Rises: No Spoilers[I have the morning off thanks to trains being terrible, so you get some blog posts for it!]
So I will do my best to provide a brief review that does not spoiler the Dark Knight, but if you want to go in completely blind, then look away now.
It's great. Really well told story, thematically it works pretty perfectly. Anne Hathaway is really good, I think I already knew that, but she makes sure that Catwoman is actually a person rather than a comic book character, something previous incarnations really didn't do. She has motivations for her actions, and she's also very smart and good at what she does. Tom Hardy is of course great as Bane, who is a very different presence to the Joker. The Joker was a force of chaos and fear, who didn't have one plan: he had a multitude of plans all set in motion at once, with no real expectation that they would all succeed. Bane really has a goal, and does his best to accomplish it with the resources he has available to him. He's a towering, intimidating physical presence, in a way no villain has been in Batman so far.
The plot hangs together really well. There are some odd misteps, and some slightly clunky bits of exposition from characters with magic knowledge, but mostly it ties together, and works with the theme of the film. I'll talk more about this in the extended spoilery review.
The action scenes, are, as we might expect, very intense and brutal, and for the first time we get to see a fight scene clearly in the Batman films: no fast shaky editing taking away out understanding of what's going on. My only major criticism is that, at least where I was sitting in the imax cinema, the score actually overwhelms the dialogue at multiple points in the film, to the point where I couldn't really hear what characters were saying. This is a shame, and feels like something that could easily have been fixed in post-production really: maybe it was just the particular screening I went to.