Leading up to the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed by what I had seen. From behind the scenes photos of Catwoman's costume to the trailers, there really wasn't anything there that made me excited about the film. However, given that the only film of Nolan's I've had problems with was Inception, and that was mostly just the ending, I was fairly confident that this would be a good one.
As far as I'm concerned, my confidence was well placed. I was very impressed with how he took those underwhelming individual pieces and turned them into a great film. Lots of great action scenes, good tension and character moments, and once again Nolan showing that he has a feel for just what Batman is all about as a character.
My biggest complaint is definitely Bane's voice. I understand that a character with a mask over his mouth isn't going to speak clear as day, but it really seemed like there were moments where you could understand him fine, and others where I was "squinting my ears" to try to figure just what was coming out of his mouth. For the most part it was just him preaching or showing bravado, so I didn't miss any key plot points or developments, but it's annoying to know that I'm probably not going to fully understand him until I turn on the subtitles on the Blu Ray. Beyond that I really enjoyed the character and the changes they made to him. It was nice to have a calculating Bane after that pathetic stupid grunt we saw in Batman & Robin.
More than anything, I really loved this Catwoman. Michelle Pfeiffer's version will always be dear to me from a nostalgic perspective, but Anne Hathaway was fantastic. She was really like the Irene Adler to his Sherlock Holmes and I loved the change we saw in her over the course of the film.
I have spoiler oriented thoughts, but before I get to those, for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet - I highly recommend it. Nolan has managed to create a fantastic trilogy that tells both three separate stories and one complete overarching one about Batman and the many characters that surround him. Even if you don't love it as much as I did, I think you'll really enjoy it.
FROM HERE ON THERE BE SPOILERS
First off, Miranda Tate, who I swear I didn't even know was going to be in this film. I think I may have read ages ago that another woman would be Bruce's love interest, but then I clearly just forgot about her. How interesting then that near the beginning of the film I was thinking "I don't think I trust her" and then about halfway through I decided I was just paranoid. Silly me, of course she was Talia! All this talk of Ra's Al Ghul's heir, and I'm just accepting the movie on its word that it's Bane? Come on! I was smacking myself on the inside for not catching that one. Of course this was from the man who directed The Prestige, so he knows all about misdirection.
Speaking of misdirection, it wasn't much of one to have Blake's first name be Robin. He was clearly meant to be a sidekick of sorts, and he was a blend between Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. So it's probably no surprise that I absolutely loved him immediately. I loved watching him learn and grow and eventually reject law enforcement for vigilantism. While I doubt we'll ever see a film with him as the new Batman, I'd love to see it.
I was a little disappointed in how things played out with Bruce and Alfred though, I must admit. It was definitely a way to get Alfred out of the city when all the chaos went down, but I hope we weren't meant to believe that Bruce planned it that way. Also, it seems incredibly cruel to make the man who raised you believe you are dead.
I'm not ashamed to admit that when Batman told Gordon his identity, I got tears in my eyes. It was such a sweet and wonderfully handled moment. I also love that Gordon got his own story arc throughout the series, acknowledging that he's just as essential to the safety of Gotham City as Batman is. What a fantastic performance by Gary Oldman.
I feel like I could just keep writing about this movie forever and I know I'll have even more to say after I watch all three movies together. For now I'll just save further discussion for the comments.