Bruce Wayne is "not in a great state" in 'The Dark Knight Rises'.

The latest instalment of the Batman franchise - which features Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader and his Alter Ego Bruce - hits cinemas next year and director Christopher Nolan has revealed the new movie is set some time after 2008's 'The Dark Knight'. He said: "It's really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne's story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after 'The Dark Knight'. So he's an older Bruce Wayne; he's not in a great state."

In the movie, Tom Hardy plays new villain Bane, and the director has promised the character's introduction will challenge Batman in new ways.

He told the new issue of Empire magazine: "With Bane, we're looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn't had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we're testing Batman both physically as well as mentally."

Tom describes his character as "brutal and nasty" who favours "carnage" when he fights.

He explained: "He's brutal. Brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It's not about fighting. It's about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it's nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."

'The Dark Knight Rises' is out in cinemas on July 20, 2012.