The perils of being a fan of a franchise, somewhat familiar with the source material, and an avid follower of movie-related news are heightened expectations and the ability to make educated guesses about plot. This being the case, The Dark Knight Rises may not have have been quite as surprising for me as it may have been to some viewers, but thankfully it wasn't a disappointment either (I'm looking at you Prometheus). The Dark Knight Rises takes the most successful elements of the previous two films - the soul-searching Bruce Wayne of Batman Begins and the continually imperiled Gotham of The Dark Knight - and brings them together. It's a fitting end to the series that moves along briskly despite its length.
I really liked the new characters and the way they were portrayed; John Blake has a particularly nice moment where he looks at his firearm with disdain and discards it, there was nothing Catwoman did that wasn't cool, and Tom Hardy's Sean Connery meets Dracula by way of Darth Vader hulking sophisticate Bane was suitably menacing (love the scene where Batman tries to distract him with his toys and he stands perfectly still). For me, it's equal to or greater than the first installment in the trilogy, but while it resonates emotionally (yes, I know Christopher Nolan made it, har har) it doesn't explore its themes to the same extent as The Dark Knight, or feel as structurally balanced.
- Catwoman got to be the Han Solo of this thing, and that is pretty awesome.
- John Blake being NAMED Robin felt a little silly to me. I just assumed he'd be named Richard "John" Grayson and have taken a foster family's name...but no.
- I found Alfred's graveside speech unintentionally funny.