The Dark Knight Rises follows 8 years following the events of The Dark Knight, which included the death of Harvey Dent. Now, Dent is considered a hero, while Batman a villain responsible for the death of Dent. The only people who know the truth are Bruce Wayne (Bale) and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). Also thrown into the mix is a young cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who might just know more than everyone else. Soon enough Batman is forced out of his “retirement” due to a force growing from the depths of Gotham and led by the monstrous Bane (Tom Hardy).
Like many third acts before it (Transformers, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean), The Dark Knight Rises has an extended running time to fit all the action in. Unlike those previously mentioned (mainly the horrific Spider-Man 3), TDKR is never dragging or overstuffed with action. Instead of taking a step back every time we see a new face (Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Gordon-Levitt), we take them as part of the Gotham world and it flows seamlessly. Instead of Catwoman/ Selina Kyle being a question mark (after all, who was 100% satisfied with that choice?), she turned out to be one of the glowing highlights of the film. Sure Bane had a weird voice, but it fit with his anti-establishment getup. Everything, from the insane set pieces, to the score, to the Batman himself was perfect. It wasn’t quite a Batman film as much as it was a Bruce Wayne film. All of which makes the first time he dons the suit in the film all the more chill-inducing.
In my own humble opinion, TDKR isn’t going to have the following of The Dark Knight. However, it was the ending we deserved, not the one we necessarily wanted.