That definitely fell into the "good, not great" category for me. I nearly voted "fair," but liked it a little more than that. It was an effective end to all the character arcs begun in the previous films, but didn't offer much more than that. The previous two Batman films felt like films
, this one felt like a movie
. A fun movie, sure, a silly popcorn movie, sure, but still just a movie.
BB and TDK had subtext, and something to say about the times we live in. This one had some Occupy Wallstreet rhetoric grafted on to the middle act of a movie about a madman with a nuke. What's the relevance of this, and how does it relate to the real world? Hell, how do those things relate to each other? Why are they in the same movie together? This committed the cardinal sin of movies that try and fail to be About Something; it threw a bunch of half-thought-through thematic ideas at the screen, couldn't figure out how to connect them, and so dropped them in the third act for straight-up fantasy action. It's essentially what the Star Trek reboot did wrong, and I fucking hate
There was also an enormous narrative flaw – which sounded like a poor idea from the moment they released an official synopsis – which the movie never won me over on: setting the story 8 years after TDK and making Batman retired. If the story were about the city and Bruce post-Batman, that would be fine, but it's a story about Bane bringing Batman as low as he can go and Batman rising from the ashes. So the movie spent the first half undoing its own premise by getting Bruce back in the game, only for Bane to take him right back out of it again so Bruce can...spend the second half of the story getting back in the game. Dafuq?
I get that they wanted Bruce to be burned out and basically useless at the start of the movie, which makes sense after he threw his reputation under a bus at the end of TDK, but there must have been better ways to do that. For example, have the movie start X years later, with Batman reduced to a street thug who rides around a few nights every month to give the cops somebody to chase and keep the myth of white knight Harvey vs. dark knight Batman alive. And being reduced to a stooge like that has worn Bruce down without him even realizing it, so when Bane shows up, he's completely unprepared and gets his ass handed to him (and back broken). Carry on from there as the movie did.
That said, the last half hour or so was perfect, and all the characters ended up where I hoped they would be. Gotta admit, the last shot of Blake literally rising just before the smash cut to the closing title had me giggling like a kid.
Did anyone else think that Bane was hilariously similar to Shinzon? He:
-Was born in darkness.
-Grew up underground in a big prison pit (or maybe not; it wasn't clear how old he was when he got there)
-Escapes, rises to a position of power and overthrows a legitimate government with his fellow former indentured buddies
-Does so under claims of revolution and equality, both of which are just a pretense for using a giant superweapon to kill everyone
-Is a thematic and conceptual mirror version of our hero
-Is played by Tom Hardy
The only thing that's missing was for Bane be be dying and needing a blood transfusion from Batman to survive. Though come to think of it, he was mortally injured and would die without the batman-like mask. Hmm...