I especially like the comparison between the part where Bale-Wayne hangs on the ledge holding Ra's al Ghul, and he screams and it's extremely painful and exhausting, and where Robin catches Batgirl, and he's just casual, spouting a one-liner with no effort. That's the big difference, the difference between "realism" and camp what makes you either care or facepalm.
It's not really about dark or light, serious or comedic. It's more about what to do that an audience can relate with these characters and the film. If everything is camp, then there's nothing at stake. If the characters are unnatural, you don't care. And I think making a scene comical where, for example, a life is at stake is where people stop caring.
That scene always stood out for me because of how real it felt, even though it would be virtually impossible to execute the same kind of action in the real world. Bruce's arm would have been completely dislocated by the weight of Ras's body and there would be no way to pull Ras back up again.
Before 'The Dark Knight Rises,' I'd have said that my
Batman was Bruce Timm's art and Kevin Conroy's voice. But Batman TAS never made me cry. I never felt stirrings of real emotion for Bruce Wayne or any of the characters of TAS but I'll be damned if Alfred didn't make me weep like a baby on more than one occasion during TDKR. It's like comparing Deep Space Nine with Battlestar Galactica. Both featured deadly consequences and a high-stakes conflict but I never believed for a second that anyone on that space station was a person, actual and whole. I cried for Gaius fucking
Baltar on Battlestar. I wept for Tigh
. Adama ripped my heart out and stomped on it when Starbuck died.
Nolan's Batman felt real to me. The people who inhabited his world made me care about the ridiculous and outlandish stakes. They made me forget about impossible microwave emitters and magic fusion reactor-bombs. They drew me in and got me to feel for them, root for them and weep for them. That's something I doubt will happen again with Batman.
So my favourite would be the entirety of Nolan's Batman series but if I were forced to chose, I'd chose 'The Dark Knight Rises.'