The Dark Knight Rises

Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy comes to a close with a bewilderingly epic comic book blow-out

Bloated. Epic. Po-faced. Spectacular. Say what you will, but Christopher Nolan certainly knew how to pull out all the stops and subvert expectations when it came to bringing his Batman trilogy to a close.

Taking inspiration from two comic book storylines (Knightfall and No Man's Land), and finding time to introduce Catwoman to the franchise, deliver end-points for existing sub-plots and leave us with a door to new adventures, this 165-minute movie is both unwieldy and exhilarating. It still works, but some may prefer their blockbuster entertainment a little leaner and meaner.

Picture: We expect the majority of consumers will be more than happy with The Dark Knight Rises' AVC 1080p encode. And it's hardly surprising, given the depth of detail, clarity and sharpness the Blu-ray reveals (particularly in those moments where the movie switches from 2.35:1 35mm film stock to 1.78:1 70mm IMAX footage). However, more discerning videophiles will quickly uncover some picture issues, including crushed blacks that rob shadows of almost all detail (and this is a film with a lot of shadows) and some minor ringing (thankfully nowhere as severe as was witnessed on The Dark Knight Blu-ray).

As mentioned above, this disc follows in the footsteps of its predecessor by switching aspect ratio between 2.35:1 and 1.78:1. However, this time around the ratio may switch for just a single shot (such as Bruce's hospital window jump in Chapter 4), which can make the ratio shift feel somewhat jarring – although we accept that this is a matter of personal preference rather than a technical deficiency.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: Unsurprisingly, we have no such quibbles when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises' DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. It's a relentlessly engaging soundtrack that delivers a ferocious, extended low-end and excellent positional effects at all times – although given everything else that's going on, the true quality of the sound design and subsequent audio encoding can be found in its peerless presentation of Hans Zimmer's iconic score and the clarity of dialogue (even Bane's muffled vocals are never buried). Sensational.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: The sole extra on Disc One is a Second Screen feature that allows access to exclusive content when you download The Dark Knight Rises FX app onto your phone or tablet.

The second BD platter kicks off with The Batmobile, a fantastic 58-minute documentary (bizarrely undersold as a 'short feature' on the menu) looking at the history of Batman's iconic run-around. Next up comes Behind the Scenes: Ending the Knight. Split into three sub-categories (Production, Characters and Reflections), here you'll find 17 featurettes (almost 110 minutes in total) covering various aspects of the production.

Rounding out the release are a collection of four trailers, a gallery of poster art and an UltraViolet copy of the film.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: Not quite perfect, but a solid end to Nolan's superhero trilogy that delivers plenty of AV thrills

Warner Home Video, All-region BD, £25 Approx, On sale now